Five and counting: Wyoming Valley wins Scuttle
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Wyoming Valley Country Club captured its fifth consecutive AGA/GAP Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship Sept. 28-29.
It carded a 10-over-par 291 total to finish atop the 16-team field. Eric Plisko, a former Wyoming Valley bag boy and member since 2016, earned the individual title with a 4-under-par 136. The event’s 69th edition took place at Glenmaura National Golf Club (par 71, 6,579 yards) on Day One and Wyoming Valley (par 71, 6,165 yards). The low four of five scores count toward the team total.
Plisko, Joseph Weiscarger (143), Art Brunn (146), Eric Jesikiewicz (154) and Frank Schiel (155) represented the Wyoming Valley team.
“It means a lot to our club because of the history of the Anthracite Golf Association. To be a part of [the Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship] is a great experience for our members and our golf club,” Weiscarger, 61, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said.
“We’re very top-heavy at our club. There are probably 10 guys who could be on this team,” Plisko, 33, of Hanover Township, Pa., added. “Guys really ramp up starting Labor Day weekend. You’re playing all of September and getting ready for the Coal Scuttle. We’re all ecstatic about it.”
A birdie or two shy of individual honors in years past, Plisko finally hopped the proverbial hump. He succeeds Brunn as Men’s Coal Scuttle medalist.
“It was kind of a goal set out in the beginning of the year,” Plisko said. “Looking at the trophy, you see so many good players from our area. One person who sticks out is [1994 Champion] Chet Blaczik, who passed away this year. His son was there yesterday. It was kind of emotional because he saw his dad’s name on there. The Men’s Coal Scuttle is a prestigious event to win. It feels great that all of the hard work has finally paid off.”
Plisko started the final round two strokes back of Glenmaura National’s David Mecca. He quickly separated with an outward 32 (3 under) at Wyoming Valley. Plisko reached No. 1 (par 5, 493 yards) green in two strokes with a pitching wedge and logged two putts for birdie. Exemplary wedge shots set up a left-to-right breaking 15-footer on No. 3 (par 4, 362 yards) and a slippery 10-footer on No. 6 (par 4, 364 yards), respectively.
Heading to the 15th tee (par 3, 189 yards), Plisko held a two-stroke advantage over Mecca. The tables turned after the former blocked a 7-iron over the green.
“You’re kind of dead from there. The pin was cut in the front and that green slopes from back-to-front,” Plisko said. “He was below the pin, approximately 18 to 20 feet. He drained the birdie putt. I missed my par putt and all of a sudden, we were tied.”
Plisko pulled ahead thanks to an uphill six-footer for birdie on the next hole (par 4, 340 yards). Mecca missed an eight-footer to match. His 20-foot birdie attempt on Wyoming Valley’s closer (par 4, 351 yards) burnt the edge, which afforded a safe Plisko two-putt from 10 feet above the hole location.
Behind Plisko and Mecca on the Men’s Coal Scuttle leaderboard stood Weiscarger, who closed with a 2-under-par 69 at Wyoming Valley. Crisp irons paved the way for three straight birdies at the outset: a downhill 15-footer on No. 2 (par 4, 338 yards), a six-footer on No. 3 (par 4, 362 yards) and another 15-footer on No. 4 (par 4, 337 yards). Right reads, dead-center drops.
“Everybody’s putter gets hot once in a while,” Weiscarger, who’s participated in four of the last five title runs (missed 2018), said. “I was thrilled. I’m 61 years old, so any good day is a thrill for me. It meant a lot to me to be a part of the team. To even make the team anymore is a thrill for me.”
By virtue of its victory, Wyoming Valley will serve as a Men’s Coal Scuttle host site in 2020.
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.