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60th Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play

Laurel Creek duo prevails in scorecard playoff

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ROYERSFORD, Pa. — Mark Walker sensed the significance emanating from his golf ball on the last hole Thursday. That’s why he jubilantly pumped his fist, emphatically shouted “Yes!” and embraced teammate Joseph Russo once his 12-footer for par dropped into the jar.

With that conversion, Walker and Russo secured a 5-under-par 67 in the 60th Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play at Spring Ford Country Club (par 72, 6,399 yards). The team matched scores posted by Overbrook Golf Club’s Oscar Mestre and Andy Thompson as well as Wilmington Country Club’s Randy Mitchell and Steve Walczak.

In a scorecard playoff, Walker and Russo prevailed. The Laurel Creek Country Club members tied Mestre and Thompson on Spring Ford’s back nine, which moved the USGA-recommended tiebreaking method to last six holes. Walker and Russo inked a 21 to their counterparts 22. Mitchell and Walczak posted a 23 during that stretch.

The Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play is a better-ball-of-partners event. Walker and Russo also triumphed in 2013 at Indian Valley Country Club.

“For me, it means a lot just to help Joe out with any points he gets for Senior Player of the Year. I just wanted to play well for Joe,” an emotional Walker, 62, of Marlton, N.J., said. “I have three best friends, and Joe’s one of them. He might be the best because he tells me what I need to know, not what I want to know. He’s a class act.”

Walker did more than play well for his teammate; he donned a cape on Spring Ford’s closer (par 5, 485 yards).

Knowing their status on the leaderboard, both Walker and Russo pulled driver to attack the tree-lined, slight dogleg left tester. Walker attempted to elevate his over the branches left, but pulled it into no-man’s land. Russo tried to navigate the corner right, but blocked it into an unenvious area. He then popped out a 3-wood from 242 yards. It caught an obstructing tree and swerved into a penalty area.

Walker managed a return to civilization — sort of. With his golf ball nestled in a hole for his third shot, Walker left a 6-iron 40 yards short of the green.

“That is death. For me, from 40 yards, all I try to do is get on the green,” Walker said. “I said, ‘OK. Let me try to hit one actually good.’ I literally had the yips. But I was able to pull it off and make the putt.”

That he did. Walker targeted the cup’s left edge, eased the putter back-and-through with confidence and widened his eyes in exuberance once it tumbled in the right side.

Walker’s birdie on No. 17 (par 4, 387 yards) proved as imperative as that 12-footer. Picturing No. 8 at his home course, he towered a drive over a guarding tree-line, which afforded a yardage of 137.

“I figured, ‘OK, I haven’t been in this position before with the adrenaline pumping, so I figured I could get a wedge there,” Walker said. “And I hit a good one.”

One that set up a six-footer for birdie, which moved his team to 5 under. Perhaps the adrenaline Walker felt on the 17th hole started stirring after he witnessed a remarkable eagle on No. 15 (par 5, 491 yards). Russo sunk a sweeping left-to-right-breaking 30-footer following a masterful 3-wood from 240 yards.

“If I try to hit it right-to-left in there and miss it right, then I’m dead over there given where the flagstick it. I aimed at the left bunker, hit a big cut and got it into the middle-back part of the green,” Russo, 61, of Washington Township, N.J., said. “The putt barely went in. It had to have six feet of break to it. The weight of the ball on the hill is what made it go in.”

Russo and Walker, who also captured their fourth Capital Cup title at Trenton Country Club earlier this year, met in 2013 when the former joined Laurel Creek. The two quickly became friends and golf compatriots.

Better-ball success continues to follow.

“He’s great, and I have the pompoms,” Walker said jokingly.

“We enjoy playing golf with each other. It seems like we spur each other on and play well together,” Russo, who won the Senior title in the Brewer Cup presented by Callaway Golf last month, said. “There’s nothing more to it than that.”

Merion Golf Club’s Carl Everett and White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni won their fourth title in five years.

Donatoni, Everett take Super-Senior title No. 4

Only a trip overseas to the R&A Seniors Amateur Championship, theoretically speaking, prevented a four-peat for Carl Everett and Don Donatoni.

The latter bypassed the Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play a year ago to compete at Royal Porthcawl. Donatoni rejoined Everett at Spring Ford (par 72, 6,011 yards) and helped issue a return to the winner’s circle. The longtime friends carded a 5-under-par 67 to take the event’s Super-Senior title — their fourth in the last five years (2015-17).

“We hit a lot of greens together today, which, in a better-ball event, is the formula for success,” Donatoni, 71, of Malvern, Pa., said. “We’re just a club different, so we can club each other pretty easily. We’re both relatively calm and patient, and we strike it pretty well. We sort of feed off of each other.”

“It’s nice to get another win,” Everett, 72, of Harleysville, Pa., added. “We’ve been at it for a while. We know each other well. We’ve both had success.”

Donatoni, the six-time reigning Super-Senior Player of the Year, hinted at the latest addition to that success early at Spring Ford. He opened with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 (par 4, 412 yards) and 2 (par 4, 366 yards): an 8-iron 145 yards to 30 feet, a gap wedge 90 yards to six feet. After sprinkling in a 15-footer for birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 311 yards), Donatoni closed the team’s outward nine with a right-to-left breaking 10-footer on No. 9 (par 5, 482 yards) following a soft 58-degree wedge setup.

Donatoni and Everett moved to 5 under — three clear of the field — following a birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 330 yards), where the former knocked a gap wedge 100 yards to 12 feet. Next came “Clutch Carl.”

“Carl was really steady on the last seven holes,” Donatoni, a White Manor Country Club member, said. “As far as I’m concerned, the most critical hole was No. 16. I don’t want to say what I did, but I was totally out of the hole. I kind of left him naked.”

On the par 3, 175-yard 16th hole, Everett, a Merion Golf Club member, executed an exemplary sand save after leaving a 5-iron in the front left bunker. Two subsequent pars stamped the team’s Super-Senior success in the Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play.

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.

Gross results
Senior Division
Name, club, score
*Mark Walker/Joseph Russo, Laurel Creek Country Club67
Oscar Mestre/Andy Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club67
Steve Walczak/Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club67
Bob Arthur/Thomas Hyland, Tavistock Country Club/Little Mill Country Club68
Craig Kliewer/Christopher Fieger, Sr., Lebanon Country Club/Philadelphia Publinks GA69
Bob Beck/Bill Charpek, Lehigh Country Club/Merion Golf Club69
Kenneth Bolcavage/Michael Heck, Elkview Country Club69
Paul Rogowicz/Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club70
Robert Wagner/Gordon Jamieson, Merion Golf Club70
Edward Erickson/Ray Pyontek, Makefield Highlands Golf Club/Mercer Oaks Golf Course70
Mike Myers/William Scott Markley, Phoenixville Country Club71
Michael Quinn/William March, Philadelphia Publics GA/Spring Ford Country Club72
Robert Andrejko/Kenneth Nestor, Sr., Scranton Municipal Golf Course/Country Club of Scranton72
John Alterman/Jim Witt, Commonwealth National Golf Club72
Jim Gavaghan/Dennis Konczyk, Commonwealth National Golf Club/Union League Golf Club at Torresdale72
Paul Berg/Michael Frost, The Springhaven Club74
Dan Farragut/Gary Yeager, Cedarbrook Country Club/Five Ponds Golf Club75
James Prendergast/Robert Frankil, Bellewood Country Club75
Richard Hylinksi/Stuart Thompson, Spring Ford Country Club76
Harry Giannopoulos/Gregg Gipp, Phoenixville Country Club76
Steven Lucas/Philip Sokol, Wilmington Country Club/PineCrest Country Club76
Frank Kovalcheck/Joseph Viscuso, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club79
Alan Wagenschnur/Buddy Reed, Loch Nairn Golf Club80
John Sly, Jr./Macy Summers, St. Davids Golf Club87
Stephen Lenhardt/Kevin Crescenzo, The 1912 Club/Sandy Run Country Club96
Super-Senior Division
Name, club, score
Carl Everett/Don Donatoni, Merion Golf Club/White Manor Country Club67
Vincent Scarpetta, Jr./Paul Keating, Nittany Country Club/Aronimink Golf Club68
Robin McCool/Craig Scott, Saucon Valley Country Club/Great Bear Golf Club68
Tom Borsello/Tom DiCinti, Hartefeld National/Mercer Oaks Golf Course70
Thomas Humphrey/Charles McDowell, Wilmington Country Club70
James Coleman/Robert Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club71
Michael Nilon/Buck Jones, Philadelphia Country Club/Philadelphia Publinks GA71
Bob Majczan/Richard Custer, Lookaway Golf Club/Bellewood Country Club71
Thomas Mallouk/Frank Shuman, Lookaway Golf Club72
Frank Polizzi/Bernie Zbrzeznj, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club74
Gil Golding/Scott Page, Commonwealth National Golf Club74
Vince Yost/Edward Roberts, Cedarbrook Country Club/Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club75
Gerald Eckert/Alan Over, Bent Creek Country Club75
Robert Hackett, Jr./Joseph Hacker, Wilmington Country Club75
John Young/Christopher Zenner, Sandy Run Country Club75
John Gonsior/Gene Maginnis, Limekiln Golf Club/Whitemarsh Valley Country Club76
Norman Jester/Ron MacDonald, Chester Valley Golf Club/Applecross Country Club76
Phillip Jones/Jim O’Connor, Penn Oaks Golf Club77
Charles Johnson/Joseph DeAngelis, Jericho National Golf Club77
Thomas Mairone/Bob Stewart, Philadelphia Publinks GA78
Robert Sabatini/Hank Church, DuPont Country Club/Cobbs Creek Golf Club79
Martin DeLuca/Dirk Edmiston, Penn Oaks Golf Club81
Rick Ames/Gary Ames, Philadelphia Publinks GA/Bala Golf Club81
Joe Balkovec/Bill Flavell, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club83
Michael Loughery/Joe Donahue, Sandy Run Country Club83
Chris Meyer/John McKee, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club85
Mike Tomasic/David Brackenbury, Woodstone Country Club & Lodge85
John Siegrist/James Burns, Philadelphia Publinks GA/Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club86
Ned Moore/Rick Rutter, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club90
Net results
Senior Division
Name, club, score
Mike Myers/William Scott Markley, Phoenixville Country Club62
Kenneth Bolcavage/Michael Heck, Elkview Country Club64
Steve Walczak/Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club64
Robert Wagner/Gordon Jamieson, Merion Golf Club65
Richard Hylinksi/Stuart Thompson, Spring Ford Country Club66
Mark Walker/Joseph Russo, Laurel Creek Country Club66
Bob Arthur/Thomas Hyland, Tavistock Country Club/Little Mill Country Club66
Paul Rogowicz/Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club67
Oscar Mestre/Andy Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club67
Edward Erickson/Ray Pyontek, Makefield Highlands Golf Club/Mercer Oaks Golf Course67
Paul Berg/Michael Frost, The Springhaven Club68
Dan Farragut/Gary Yeager, Cedarbrook Country Club/Five Ponds Golf Club68
Robert Andrejko/Kenneth Nestor, Sr., Scranton Municipal Golf Course/Country Club of Scranton69
Harry Giannopoulos/Gregg Gipp, Phoenixville Country Club69
James Prendergast/Robert Frankil, Bellewood Country Club70
Steven Lucas/Philip Sokol, Wilmington Country Club/PineCrest Country Club70
Craig Kliewer/Christopher Fieger, Sr., Lebanon Country Club/Philadelphia Publinks GA70
John Alterman/Jim Witt, Commonwealth National Golf Club70
Jim Gavaghan/Dennis Konczyk, Commonwealth National Golf Club/Union League GolfClub at Torresdale70
Bob Beck/Bill Charpek, Lehigh Country Club/Merion Golf Club70
Michael Quinn/William March, Philadelphia Publinks GA/Spring Ford Country Club71
John Sly ,Jr./Macy Summers, St. Davids Golf Club74
Frank Kovalcheck/Joseph Viscuso, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club74
Alan Wagenschnur/Buddy Reed, Loch Nairn Golf Club76
Stephen Lenhardt/Kevin Crescenzo, The 1912 Club/Sandy Run Country Club80
Super-Senior Division
Name, club, score
John Young/Christopher Zenner, Sandy Run Country Club63
Vincent Scarpetta, Jr./Paul Keating, Nittany Country Club/Aronimink Golf Club63
Charles Johnson/Joseph DeAngelis, Jericho National Golf Club63
Phillip Jones/Jim O’Connor, Penn Oaks Golf Club64
Gil Golding/Scott Page, Commonwealth National Golf Club64
Carl Everett/Don Donatoni, Merion Golf Club/White Manor Country Club65
James Coleman/Robert Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club66
Thomas Mallouk/Frank Shuman, Lookaway Golf Club66
Thomas Humphrey/Charles McDowell, Wilmington Country Club66
Martin DeLuca/Dirk Edmiston, Penn Oaks Golf Club67
Tom Borsello/Tom DiCinti, Hartefeld National/Mercer Oaks Golf Course67
Michael Nilon/Buck Jones, Philadelphia Country Club/Philadelphia Publinks GA67
Bob Majczan/Richard Custer, Lookaway Golf Club/Bellewood Country Club67
Michael Loughery/Joe Donahue, Sandy Run Country Club68
Robert Hackett, Jr./Joseph Hacker, Wilmington Country Club68
Robin McCool/Craig Scott, Saucon Valley Country Club/Great Bear Golf Club68
Vince Yost/Edward Roberts, Cedarbrook Country Club/Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club68
Rick Ames/Gary Ames, Philadelphia Publinks GA/Bala Golf Club69
Frank Polizzi/Bernie Zbrzeznj, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club69
Robert Sabatini/Hank Church, DuPont Country Club/Cobbs Creek Golf Club70
Norman Jester/Ron MacDonald, Chester Valley Golf Club/Applecross Country Club70
Gerald Eckert/Alan Over, Bent Creek Country Club70
Chris Meyer/John McKee, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club71
Joe Balkovec/Bill Flavell, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club71
John Gonsior/Gene Maginnis, Limekiln Golf Club/Whitemarsh Valley Country Club71
Thomas Mairone/Bob Stewart, Philadelphia Publinks GA72
John Siegrist/James Burns, Philadelphia Publinks GA/ Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club73
Ned Moore/Rick Rutter, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club73
Mike Tomasic/David Brackenbury, Woodstone Country Club & Lodge78
* — won in scorecard playoff