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38th AGA/GAP Senior Coal Scuttle

Fox Hill captures Senior Coal Scuttle

Jim Hoover clearly set his vacuum to Scuttle suction in 2020.

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A month removed from winning the individual title in the AGA/GAP Super-Senior Coal Scuttle Coal Championship, Hoover led Fox Hill Country Club to victory in the 38th AGA/GAP Senior Coal Scuttle Championship. He carded a 1-under-par 70 to earn medalist honors on his home course (par 71, 6149 yards) Wednesday.

Fox Hill, which finished second a year ago, became the host site after Scranton Municipal Golf Course, the event’s defending champion, closed its doors earlier this year.

The top four of five scores count toward the team total in the Senior Coal Scuttle.

“The guys played very well. I’m just a small part of it,” Hoover, 66, of Dallas, Pa., said.

A big part of it is more like it. Hoover carded three birdies against two bogeys on the day. He converted putts inside 10 feet on Nos. 6 (par 5, 467 yards), 9 (par 4, 362 yards) and 11 (par 3, 173 yards). Overall, Hoover totaled 26 putts.

“Everybody gets lucky once in a while. I scrambled very well,” he said. “Our course just plugged its greens a couple of weeks ago. They weren’t in the best shape, but they weren’t terrible. I guess I got a couple more good rolls than other people. I don’t know. When you’re playing on plugged greens, you never know what you’re going to get. I didn’t strike the ball awfully well, but I got up-and-down.”

Three Fox Hillers joined Hoover in the Top 10: Don Crossin (74), Robert Gill (75) and William Gill (76). Joseph Mantione (81) rounded out the team.

“Obviously, we were very happy. It’s not all the time you win the Coal Scuttle,” Crossin, 56, of Plains, Pa., said. “It’s like the Ryder Cup. You want to win and do the best you can. Fortunately, we came out on top. The wind was blowing throughout the day. It was tough, but we all hung in there. Jim Hoover was brilliant. The rest of us played pretty well.”

Crossin appeared in position to earn runner-up honors at even par. However, he bogeyed his final three holes to finish tied for fourth.

“I hit the ball well up until the last three holes. I had short irons into every hole and just made a real bad swing,” Crossin said.

Ironically, Fox Hill is in the midst of a good swing. It will look to add the Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship, set for Sept. 26-27 at Glenmaura National Golf Club and Wyoming Valley Country Club, to its list of 2020 accolades.

A special list at that given Fox Hill’s centennial. And like the club itself, the Senior contingent seems to get better with age.

“We have a very talented group of senior players at our club. It makes you want to play better. It makes you want to go out and practice,” Hoover said. “Everybody knows that if you slack off a little bit, somebody’s going to be stepping over you. You just got to keep at it.”

“There’s a lot of camaraderie. When we get done a round of golf, we go in for a beer,” Crossin added. “Nobody throws clubs anymore. We’re over that stage. We’re just trying to beat each other’s brains in when we tee it up. Other than that, we shake hands and go in for a beer. It’s a good bunch of guys.”

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 288 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.