Williams stays hot, takes AGA/GAP Stroke Play
Eric Williams (pictured above, right) claimed an AGA/GAP title for the second straight week.
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The Honesdale Golf Club member, fresh off an individual victory in the Over/Under 50 Tournament, defeated Tyler McGarry of Huntsville Golf Club in a sudden-death playoff to win the Amateur Division in the AGA/GAP Stroke Play Championship July 1 at Fox Hill Country Club (par 71, 6,540 yards). Both players finished regulation tied at 2-under-par 69.
“I played consistently, I drove the ball well, and my iron play was spot on,” Williams, 47, of Honesdale, Pa., said.
On the first playoff hole (No. 1, par 4, 403 yards), Williams reached the green in regulation with an 8-iron. He totaled two putts for par, a score McGarry failed to match.
Williams, a nine-time AGA/GAP Player of the Year, used a birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 426 yards) as a kickstart in regulation.
“My biggest goal was to keep the pin in front of me at all times,” he said. “The greens were rolling fast, but I was able to sink a straight putt from 15 feet away.”
Consistency was a major key for Williams, who followed that birdie with five straight pars. Williams sunk his second birdie of the day on No. 8 (par 4, 396 feet) with the help of a pitching wedge.
“I think the front side is more difficult than the backside on this course, so I am not mad about that stretch of pars I had,” Williams said. “After I shot 2 under on the front, I was thinking of the opportunity I had to capitalize on the back.”
Williams was unable to capitalize the way he wanted, as he struck par throughout the back nine. However, he couldn’t argue with par, as he was among the last groups to finish and knew what was needed for a playoff.
“I knew if I could at least par every hole, I would force a playoff as the worst-case scenario,” Williams said.
Senior & Super-Senior
Matt Cuddy (pictured above, left) of Huntsville Golf Club carded a 1-under-par 70 to take the event’s Senior Division (par 71, 6,149 yards).
Cuddy, who eagled No. 6 (par 5, 467 yards) thanks to a 58-degree wedge, didn’t feel like he had it going until he followed up with a birdie on No. 7 (par 3, 160 yards).
“The eagle was a great chip-in, but I kind of brushed it off,” Cuddy, 56, of Shavertown, Pa., said. “The birdie after it was when I realized that I may have a chance.”
It wasn’t until a birdie on No. 18 (par 4, 363 yards) when the thought of winning hit him.
“I was just coasting along through that stretch, not giving the scoreboard too much thought,” Cuddy said. “On No. 18, I hit my 58-degree within six inches and tapped it in for birdie.”
Vince Scarpetta Jr. of Nittany Country Club grabbed the Super-Senior (par 71, 5,702 yards) crown with a 4-over-par 75 in a five-player field.
“I love the course at Fox Hill, so the win feels nice for me,” the 68-year-old Moosic, Pa. native said.
Scarpetta fired his only birdie of the day at No. 8 (par 4, 362 yards). After a rough start, a birdie is exactly what Scarpetta needed to get back on track.
“The birdie felt great because I started the first five off with a bogey and a double bogey,” he said. “This birdie got me stabilized and turned around the day for me.”
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.