Williams repeats in Stroke Play at Fox Hill
Eric Williams of Honesdale Golf Club had a case of deja-vu as he finished 2-under-par 69 for the second year in a row. Williams, successfully defended his title, winning the Amateur Division in the AGA/GAP Stroke Play Championship July 12 at Fox Hill Country Club (par 71, 6,540 yards).
“I honestly didn’t even realize until I was out there today that I won this event last year,” Williams, 48, of Honesdale, Pa., said. “To shoot the same score as I did last year and defend my title still feels pretty crazy to me.”
Williams’ title defense came into full swing as he carded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 (par 4, 363 yards) and 5 (par 4, 429 yards). On No. 4, Williams hit a lob-wedge from 90 yards to 25 feet, and on No. 5, he hit a 9-iron from 140 yards to 15 feet.
“I’ve played over 150 rounds at Fox Hill, so I know the course extremely well, which allowed me to get off to a good start,” Williams said.
Williams’ experience of playing at Fox Hill paid off as he adjusted to the different, softer course conditions.
“The course played fairly wet today because we’ve had so much rain in our area over the past week,” Williams added. “Since the greens were soft and slower than usual, I had to focus on how I controlled the spin of my ball.”
Williams, a nine-time AGA/GAP Player of the Year, continued his lead with two more birdies by sinking 10-foot putts on Nos. 12 (par 5, 498 yards) and 15 (par 4, 343 yards).
“After playing so many times here, I know that No. 12 is a hole that you have to come out with a birdie on,” Williams added. “After doing well on that hole, I knew I was going to be all right for the rest of the round.”
Senior & Super-Senior Divisions
Bob Gill took advantage of playing his home course as he carded an even-par 71 to take the event’s Senior Division (par 71, 6,149 yards) title.
Gill started the day with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 393 yards), resulting from a 9-iron approach from 125 yards that was placed to 12 feet. His second birdie of the day arrived on No. 15 (par 4, 321 yards), thanks to a pitching wedge approach to 10 feet.
“Getting a birdie on the first hole always gets you in the right frame of mind,” Gill, 62, of Shavertown, Pa., said. “It allowed me to play consistently on all the greens and end up victorious.”
As a member of Fox Hill, Gill knew the ins and outs of the course, giving him the necessary experience to win.
“It’s always nice to have the opportunity to play at your home course, and to know the different types of conditions on the course gave me a tremendous advantage,” Gill said.
Vince Scarpetta, Jr. of Nittany Country Club also repeated as the Super-Senior champion (par 71, 5,908 yards) with a 1-over-par 71 in a seven-player field. Last year, Scarpetta carded a score of 4-over-par 75 in a five-player field.
“It feels great to repeat, especially at a course like Fox Hill, which is one of my favorite places to play,” Scarpetta, 69, of Moosic, Pa., said.
Scarpetta fired two birdies on Nos. 6 (par 5, 467 yards) and 8 (par 4, 362 yards), giving him the necessary edge to pull off the win. On No. 6, Scarpetta hit a wedge from 110 yards to a foot, and on No. 8, he used a 9-iron from 135 yards to 15 feet.
“It’s always great to be out there and to play because I’ve been recovering from a rotator cuff surgery earlier this year,” Scarpetta said. “It’s encouraging to come out with a win and to continue to make progress in rehab from my injury.”
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 80,000 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.