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2019 Warner Cup (Gross)

Mestre, Donatoni take Warner Cup titles at Burlington

| Scorecards | History|

BURLINGTON, N.J. — Oscar Mestre didn’t need any extra encouragement. He had the spirit of close friend Ray Thompson, who died unexpectedly at age 67 in November, on his shoulder all day.

Emotional, inspired, and, obviously talented, Mestre, 59, of Overbrook Golf Club, posted a tidy 3-under-par 67 at Burlington Country Club (par 70, 6,430 yards) on a warm, sunny day to take his first Warner Cup (Gross) – the opening Senior Division Major of the season.

“It sounds corny to say but I definitely thought about Ray a lot today,” said Mestre who joins two-time winner Thompson on the trophy (2007, 2009). “When I got it to a couple under par I said ‘Ray would be yelling at me to keep it going.’ I got it 4 under (thru 14). I was trying to stay in the moment and not get too ahead of myself or too sentimental or too nervous which are all difficult things to do. I hit the ball as well and as solid as I have in a really long time.”

The victory is Mestre’s second Senior Major victory. He took the 2018 Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross). He and Thompson are the two-time reigning Senior Four-Ball champions.

“That is super special,” said Mestre of Berwyn, Pa., with a quiver in his voice when asked about being on the same trophy with Thompson. “Super special.”

Mestre’s round would make Thompson proud.

He recorded four birdies and one bogey. A strong iron game saw Mestre hit 16 of 18 greens.

He birdied Nos. 2 (par 3, 203 yards) and 4 (par 5, 505 yards) on the front nine. He knocked a 4-iron to eight feet on No. 2 and ripped a 5-iron from 201 yards to 15 feet on the par 5, fourth, and two putted.

On the inward nine, Mestre registered back-to-back red figures to extend his advantage on the field.

On No. 13 (par 4, 419 yards), he knocked a pitching wedge from the left rough to 12 feet and sank the putt. On No. 14 (par 5, 524 yards), Mestre knocked a gap wedge from 102 yards to 14 feet.

The former University of Delaware letterman’s lone blemish came on No. 17 (par 4, 398 yards). His drive found the left rough and, facing a funky lie, watched his second shot 9-iron from 150 yards out come up short of the green. He failed to get up-and-down.

The senior circuit has reinvigorated Mestre’s GAP career. He is a former Middle-Amateur Championship winner (2002) and multiple­-time BMW GAP Team Matches victor. Mestre was the Overbrook team captain in 2014 when the first team took the Team Matches titles.

“I think it’s about the comfort level,” said Mestre, who serves as GAP’s Executive Committee Vice President, when asked why about the sudden victory surge. “When I was in my 40s and early 50s, I was playing with the younger guys and there really isn’t much conversation. With the senior guys, I’ve played with and against for so many years it’s about playing with old friends again. Additionally, I’ve kept myself in pretty good physical shape.”

There was a three-way tie for second place with Jeff Allen of Wild Quail Golf & Country Club; Randy Mitchell of Wilmington Country Club and Paul Rogowicz of Yardley Country Club all finishing at even-par 70. This was the Senior debut for Rogowicz, who finished runner-up in the 2006 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship.

“I was excited and nervous and anxious. I was looking forward to competing with all the guys I’ve competed with before,” said Rogowicz, 55, of Yardley, Pa. “It was great to see everyone again. It was a lot of fun.”

Super-Senior Division

Not even a recent hernia surgery could calm the six-straight Super-Senior Player of the Year’s dominance.

Despite a health setback six weeks ago, White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni was back firing on all cylinders Thursday at Burlington Country Club (par 70, 6,028 yards), carding a 3-under 67 to take the Super-Senior Division in the Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross).

“My first round of the year came last weekend in the [BMW GAP Team Matches], and it was a slow progression coming back from the hernia surgery. I wasn’t sure where my game was at, to be honest, and the recovery involved some loss of strength,” said Donatoni, 71, of Malvern, Pa. “But after today, I can confidently say that my recovery and my golf game are back at 100 percent.”

The Warner Cup trophy can back that statement up as a fact.

The champion’s first GAP Major round of the season didn’t begin as planned, however. Two bogeys came on Donatoni’s first two holes, Nos. 1 (par 4, 401 yards) and 2 (par 3, 192 yards).

“After the first two holes, I really had to tell myself to get it together. I had to dig in and get my round back to even,” he said.

Birdies on Nos. 6 (par 4, 391 yards) and No. 7 (par 4, 380 yards) erased the over-par digits. Donatoni’s first red number of the day came in result of a jarred 10 footer, while the second “unexpectedly” fell from 25 feet. Donatoni headed to Burlington’s back at 1-over par.

Three straight birdies kickstarted the champion’s second nine. On the par-3, 125-yard 10th, Donatoni’s 9-iron led to a six-foot make for 2. Another six-foot birdie dropped on No. 11 (par 4, 338 yards). The hot streak continued on No. 12 (par 3, 156 yards) as a 7-iron tee shot rolled out to 20 feet, and then the birdie putt rolled in.

Donatoni’s round ended with, quite literally, a roaring applause. His drive set up him in position A, an estimated 85 yards out. A trusty gap wedge approach was struck, took one skip, spun, and tracked back to the hole as an overlooking gallery of Burlington members cheered on the golf ball. Nearly a hole out, a tap-in was all that was left. Donatoni tipped his cap to the crowd, and in turn, secured the trophy with the round of 67.

“It was a great round of golf. I’m very happy with the way I was able to come out here and play today,” said Donatoni.

Today’s title marks the third Warner Cup crown for Donatoni – his first since 2015 at Little Mill Country Club. After a rough Warner Cup showing last season (13-over 84 at Concord Country Club), Donatoni was able to bounce back with strong showings the rest of the season, leading to a sixth-straight Super-Senior Player of the Year honor. That 84 is now long in the distance, and even more so after today’s performance.

“On my long drive over here today, that 84 last year was in the back of my head. I was definitely thinking about it, especially after bogeying the first two holes,” said the champion. “I think my ride home will be a little different.”

Francis B. Warner of Philadelphia Cricket Club served as the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s secretary-treasurer for 18 years. After his death in 1933, the Association started the Francis B. Warner Cup as an ongoing tribute in his memory. It is the first Senior Major of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s tournament season.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Senior Division
Name, club, score
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club67
Jeffrey Allen, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club70
Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club70
Paul Rogowicz, Yardley Country Club70
William McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club71
Michael Anderson, Philadelphia Cricket Club72
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club72
Brian Rothaus, Philmont Country Club73
Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu Country Club73
Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club73
Adam Armagost, Philadelphia Publinks GA74
Craig Kliewer, Lebanon Country Club74
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club74
Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club74
David Blichar, Olde Homestead Golf Club75
Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu Country Club75
Kirk Larsen, St. Davids Golf Club75
Carlos Ochoa, Little Mill Country Club75
George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club75
Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club75
Mark Cubberley, Mercer Oaks Golf Course76
Robert Harrington, Merion Golf Club76
Joseph Roeder, Little Mill Country Club76
Joseph Russo, Laurel Creek Country Club76
Chip Studer, North Hills Country Club76
Michael Tash, The Springhaven Club76
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton77
Thomas Krug, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Scott Mayne, LedgeRock Golf Club77
Eric Meyer, Whitford Country Club77
John Nottage, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Michael Quinn, Philadelphia Publinks GA77
John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club77
Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf Club77
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton77
Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club78
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club78
Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club78
Thomas Finn, Loch Nairn Golf Club78
John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club78
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club78
Rand Mendez, Fieldstone Golf Club78
Alan Wagenschnur, Loch Nairn Golf Club78
Trey Watts, Jericho National Golf Club78
Bob Beck, Lehigh Country Club79
John Conway, Little Mill Country Club79
Jay Desjardins, Waynesborough Country Club79
John Donnelly, Concord Country Club79
Eric Lamm, Schuylkill Country Club79
Elliot Sheftel, Lehigh Country Club79
Jon Stein, McCall Golf Club79
Patrick Cahill, III, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club80
Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club80
Mark Kosko, Little Mill Country Club80
Scott McIntosh, Makefield Highlands Golf Club80
Matt Mingione, The 1912 Club80
Tim Sindorf, Laurel Creek Country Club80
Jim Yenser, Raven’s Claw Golf Club80
Norman Charlesworth, Running Deer Golf Club81
Paul Dansbury, Yardley Country Club81
Mark Ellinger, Whitford Country Club81
Jim Gavaghan, Commonwealth National Golf Club81
Greg Guyer, Philadelphia Cricket Club81
Pierce Herbst, Sea Oaks Country Club81
Dennis Konczyk, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale81
Andy Lykon, Makefield Highlands Golf Club81
Andrew Sterge, Applebrook Golf Club81
Kenneth Silverwood, Chester Valley Golf Club82
Thomas Soares, Lehigh Country Club82
Denis Darragh, Olde Homestead Golf Club83
Jeff Fialko, Aronimink Golf Club83
Tim McCabe, Bon Air Country Club83
John Ward, Greate Bay Country Club83
David West, Wyncote Golf Club84
Scott Carney, Commonwealth National Golf Club85
Bob Enders, Running Deer Golf Club85
Bryan McClaskey, Merchantville Country Club85
Jim Muehlbronner, Sandy Run Country Club85
Jeffrey Pelesh, Rolling Green Golf Club85
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club85
Robert Tredinnick, Commonwealth National Golf Club85
Eugene Haag, Tavistock Country Club86
Ed Kahn, Little Mill Country Club86
Andy McCormick, Lancaster Country Club87
Jeffrey Zalis, Medford Lakes Country Club87
Mark Sheets, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club90
David Justi, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve93
Chuck Kraatz, Talamore Country Club93
Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf ClubWD
Rob Cook, DuPont Country ClubWD
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country ClubWD
Jon Lavin, Rolling Green Golf ClubWD
Kevin Sartell, Wild Quail Golf & Country ClubWD
Mark Walker, Laurel Creek Country ClubWD
Ron Weaver, Bent Creek Country ClubWD
Robert Frankil, Bellewood Country ClubNS
Super-Senior Division
Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club67
Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club71
Tom Borsello, Hartefeld National73
Joe Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club73
Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club73
Frank Polizzi, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club73
Charles Dowds, III, Applebrook Golf Club74
Thomas Humphrey, Wilmington Country Club74
Buck Jones, Philadelphia Publinks GA74
Michael Moser, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club74
Robert Dietrich, Loch Nairn Golf Club75
Richard Custer, Bellewood Country Club76
James Muller, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club76
John Gonsior, Limekiln Golf Club76
Craig Scott, Great Bear Golf Club77
Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., Lu Lu Country Club78
Robert Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club79
John Cech, Riverton Country Club79
Dave Jacobson, Medford Village Country Club79
Jon Mabry, Moorestown Field Club79
Charles McClaskey, Philadelphia Publinks GA79
Alan Over, Bent Creek Country Club79
Matthew Bellis, Commonwealth National Golf Club80
Raymond Pawulich, Little Mill Country Club80
Alan Van Horn, Commonwealth National Golf Club80
Willard Woolbert, Philadelphia Cricket Club80
Tom DiCinti, Mercer Oaks Golf Course81
Howard Press, Little Mill Country Club81
Bob Majczan, Lookaway Golf Club82
James Prendergast, Spring Ford Country Club82
Gil Golding, Commonwealth National Golf Club83
Terry Law, Yardley Country Club83
Gene Maginnis, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club84
Art Brosius, DuPont Country Club85
Gary Gordon, Philadelphia Cricket Club86
Roc Irey, Lookaway Golf Club87
Robert Lodovici, Little Mill Country Club89
Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club89
Robert Ockenfuss, Makefield Highlands Golf ClubWD
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country ClubWD
WD – withdrawal; NS – no show