Fox Hillers take second-straight Senior Coal Scuttle at home
The Senior “Scuttle” will remain in Fox Hill Country Club’s grill room for another season.
On their home turf, Fox Hill came out firing Wednesday, finishing at 8-over par and winning the 39th AGA/GAP Senior Coal Scuttle Championship. It marks the second consecutive Senior Coal Scuttle for the Exeter, Pa. club. Fox Hill is also fresh off their seventh-straight Super-Senior Coal Scuttle trophy.
The top four-of-five scores count toward the team total in the Senior Coal Scuttle. Fox Hill finished 12 strokes better than second-place finisher Country Club of Scranton, who filed a 20-over total on the day. Overall, 13 teams vied for this year’s Scuttle title.
As last year’s victors, Fox Hill was denoted the host for this rendition. And boy, did they take advantage of the home cooking. Leading the way was Bob Gill at 1-under par 70, who finished second overall in the individual portion.
Gill showed he was glad to be home early on, getting to 3-under par through the first six played. On No. 1 (par 4, 393 yards), he hit a 9-iron to about five feet and jarred the putt for 3. Another birdie followed immediately after on No. 2 (par 4, 415 yards), where a 7-iron stopped 15 feet away and the look for converted. His next arrived on No. 6 (par 5, 467 yards). Gill hit a crushed driver there, followed by a 3-hybrid from 205 yards to about 40 feet, leading to a two-putt for birdie 4. He finished at 2 under at the turn — a good sign for things to come for his championship squad.
On Fox Hill’s second side, Gill began with a bogey on No. 10 (par 4, 340 yards). He knew what he needed to do after that. Having played this nine countless times, the situation called for eight-straight pars coming in, which Gill delivered on. His 1-under round was only bettered by Huntsville Golf Club’s Santo Lafoca for the individual medal. Lafoca rode a 3-under second nine to finish at 2-under 69 for the day’s individual medal.
“To be honest with you, I always thought under par would win,” said Gill, 62, of Shavertown, Pa. “I didn’t put the foot on the gas and I had some really good birdie cracks but they didn’t go in. I didn’t come close to making a bogey in those last eight holes. However, Santo had a great back nine, so good for him.”
Fox Hill’s full squad showed out, too. Don Crossin’s third-place finish at 1-over 72 was another eye opener for the winners. Jim Hoover, also a member of the Super-Senior winning team, finished at 2-over 70 and good for a tie in fifth place. Mark Answini (6-over 77) finished tied for 12th place, while Joseph Mantione (10-over 81) rounded out the team.
“We had a real consistent team effort. We’ve been able to defend and win the Coal Scuttle in the past 10 years with a good nucleus of guys,’ said Gill. “We had four scores that were very competitive. If you shoot 8 over par as a team, you’re going to win almost all the time. It certainly it helps that Fox Hill’s greens are fast and sloping so there was certainly a home-field advantage.”
The club will go for a season-long sweep when it tees off Sept. 25-26 in the Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship at Glenmaura National Golf Club and Wyoming Valley Country Club, to its list of 2020 accolades.
“It’s big. In this area, the Coal Scuttle goes back to the 30s, so we take a lot of pride in having that Scuttle in your men’s grill room,” said Gill. “It’s great cameraddie and you see all the guys again. We won a lot of regular Coal Scuttles in the 80s and 90s, and now that we’re now Senior golfers, it’s still nice to be able to play and compete. And win.”
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 300 Member Clubs and 85,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.