Sensational six: Wyoming Valley wins again
Touchdown, Wyoming Valley Country Club.
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It captured a sixth straight AGA/GAP Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship Sept. 26-27. Wyoming Valley finished at 14-over-par 582 — three shots clear of Honesdale Golf Club. Country Club of Scranton’s David Pompey earned individual medalist honors with a score of 4-under-par 138.
The event’s 70th edition took place at Glenmaura National Golf Club (par 71, 6,308 yards) on Day One and Wyoming Valley (par 71, 6,178 yards) on Day Two. The low four of five scores count toward the team total.
John Olszewski and Joseph Weiscarger led Wyoming Valley with respective 1-over-par 143s. Eric Plisko (147), Bob Shoemaker (149) and Frank Schiel, Jr. (154) rounded out the team.
“The guys were awfully excited, as excited with this victory as we were with our first one. We were just happy,” Weiscarger, 62, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said. “There was obviously a lot of pressure if we could win for a sixth straight time. It was such a great field we were competing against.”
“We were overjoyed and happy to win again. We start to feel the pressure these days were everyone is trying to dethrone us,” Olszewski, 56, of Macungie, Pa., added. “There’s a little bit of pressure we put on ourselves to try and come back and win it again. It’s tougher and tougher every year.”
Wyoming Valley led Country Club of Scranton by three strokes following Round One. A consistent Olszewski carded a 2-under-par 69 to stand a shot back of Pompey atop the leaderboard.
“I played very well at Glenamura. Shooting 2 under there, I was very happy with that. It was a good solid round,” Olszewski said.
Weiscarger birdied No. 18 (par 4, 327 yards) to join Olszewski in red figures. He executed a delicate wedge — “nipped with some spin” — to 10 feet above a front hole location. It peeled to five feet. Weiscarger drained the ensuing putt — a lightning fast nerve nuisance.
“To have such a good score at a championship course like Glenmaura, I was pretty proud of that,” he said. “I birdied all four par 5s. In each case, I hit from inside 150 yards. On two of them, I hit 8-iron from 145 yards and made 15-foot putts. The other two holes, I had my 60-degree wedge and hit those within 15 feet. The strength of my game is my iron play, so for two days, my irons were pretty accurate. My distance control was very precise. If I can chip and putt, then I can score. That’s how it worked out for me.”
Matters continued to work in Wyoming Valley’s favor as the final round commenced at the Wilkes-Barre, Pa. venue. But Honesdale, thanks to a surging Jeff Tamblyn and Eric Williams, gained ground quickly. The leaderboard fluctuation alarmed David Bienias, Wyoming Valley’s non-playing captain. He meandered the course and rallied the troops.
“He was encouraging all of us. He knew that it got close,” Weiscarger said. “We were 12 ahead of Honesdale [to start Round Two]. After everyone completed the 13th hole, we went from 12 ahead to eight behind. Our team, in the final five holes, shot a collective 1 under. Honesdale shot 10 over, so that 11-shot difference brought us back from an eight-shot deficit to a three-shot win. It was unbelievable. Our group thankfully finished strong.”
“Under the pressure, our team came through in the last five holes,” Olszewski said.
More than five individuals represented Wyoming Valley during its stretch of six-straight Scuttles. Depth is a talking — and tipping — point.
“I’m so proud of our club and all of our players. We’ve done it with 11 different guys over those six years, so it’s not like the same five guys who are always doing it. That’s a pretty good accomplishment,” Weiscarger said. “We’re just glad that right now, it happens to be our time. It won’t last forever, but we’ll take it while we can.”
By virtue of its victory, Wyoming Valley will again serve as a Men’s Coal Scuttle host site in 2021.
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.