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Bucknell’s Kelly takes Open Championship

  HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.-Brian Kelly, the head professional at Bucknell GC, outlasted difficult conditions and a stellar field on Wednesday at Huntingdon Valley CC (par 70, 6,887 yards, Toomey/Flynn nines) to take the 99th Open Championship as administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia.

  Kelly, the 2000 Open champion, became the 23rd multiple winner of the event. He posted a winning score of 3-over-par 143.

  “This is very special to me,” said Kelly, 43, of Lewisburg, Pa. “This is one of the Majors. I thought even par would win it, but as the wind picked up and the greens got harder,” the score looked better and better.

  Mark Sheftic, an assistant at Sunnybrook GC, and Stu Ingraham, the head pro at Overbrook GC, tied for second at 5-over-par 145. Michael McDermott of Llanerch CC recorded the low amateur score, and placed sixth with a 7-over-par 147.

  The Open Championship field consists of the top 45 professionals from the Philadelphia Section of the PGA and the top 15 amateurs from the Golf Association of Philadelphia in a one-day, 36-hole shootout.

  Sweltering heat, a firm golf course and some afternoon wind kept scores high.

  The effects of both were evident all day. In the morning, only Ingraham (67) and Sheftic (69) managed to break par. In the afternoon, Paul Oglesby, a teaching professional at Merion GC, posted the top second-round score, an even par 70.

  Amidst all that, Kelly continued to grind and grind, and eventually earned the victory.

  In his 36 holes, Kelly posted three birdies, six bogeys and the rest pars.

  “I tend to do well in this tournament because I drive it straight and putt it well,” said Kelly. “Out here, though, you can make a double or triple so easy you can’t relax.”

  Kelly birdied No. 12 (par 4, 404 yards) in the morning, before recording under-par scores on No. 11 (par 4, 372 yards) and No. 17 (par 3, 211 yards) in the second round. His birdie on No. 17, from 40 feet below the hole, in essence, clinched the win.

  Sheftic posted a 1-under-par 69 in the first round on the strength of three birdies and two bogeys. He was 1-over-par for the tournament after the front nine of his second round when a couple mental errors cost him a chance at the victory.

  On No. 14 (par 4, 467 yards), Sheftic said he “got greedy” and after an errant drive, three-putted from 10 feet for double bogey. On No. 18 (par 4, 434 yards), the 28 year old from Plymouth Meeting, Pa., needed to get up and down from the right side for par. His eight-foot par putt slipped past and Sheftic finished with a bogey and two-round total of 145.

  Ingraham had three birdies and no bogeys in his initial 18 to register a 67, but struggled in the afternoon. He posted a 43, 8-over-par, on his first nine (starting on the back) and could never recover.

  For McDermott, this was his second time finishing as the low amateur in the Open. In 2000, he tied Mike Gregor of Huntingdon Valley CC for that honor at Torresdale-Frankford CC.

  “This is the best field we play in all year, pros and amateurs,” said McDermott, 28, of Havertown. “[And] if you look at the amateurs it’s the cream of the crop. Most people would agree it’s the 15 best. It’s the 15 that did something good to get here. To come out and play on somewhere this difficult and be the top [amateur] would be pretty good.”

  Due to a scheduling conflict, John Appleget of Blue Heron Pines GC, the defending champion, did not participate.

Name, clubScore
Brian Kelly, Bucknell GC71-72=143
Stuart Ingraham, Overbrook GC67-78=145
Mark Sheftic, Sunnybrook GC69-76=145
Pete Oakley, The Rookery74-72=146
Rich Steinmetz, Spring Ford CC74-72=146
a-Michael McDermott, Llanerch CC73-74=147
John Allen, Sunnybrook GC71-77=148
Paul A. Oglesby, Merion GC78-70=148
Bill Sautter, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC75-73=148
Andy Fisher, Woodcrest CC74-75=149
George Forster, Radnor Valley CC75-74=149
a-Brian Gillespie, St. Davids GC76-73=149
Marty Nowicki, Silver Creek CC76-73=149
Tom Ryan, Plymouth CC74-75=149
Christian Bartolacci, Jericho National GC78-72=150
Jim Smith, Jr., Talamore at Oak Terrace CC75-75=150
a-Anthony Apostolico, Deerfield G & TC74-77=151
Terry Hertzog, Gulph Mills GC76-75=151
a-Robin McCool, Saucon Valley CC77-74=151
a-P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC80-71=151
a-John Robinson, Commonwealth National GC77-75=152
David McNabb, Christiana CC75-78=153
John Brennan, Clinton CC79-75=154
Dave Roberts, Cedarbrook CC80-74=154
David Seeman, Jr., Wilmington CC77-77=154
Robert Leeman, Conestoga CC77-78=155
a-Michael Tash, Tavistock CC78-77=155
Peter Carmain, Applebrook GC78-78=156
Rick Gibney, Colonial CC74-82=156
William Walker, Philadelphia PGA79-77=156
Jack Connelly, Huntingdon Valley CC80-77=157
a-Christopher Lange, Overbrook GC72-85=157
Rob Shuey, GC at Felicita74-83=157
Heath Davidson, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC79-79=158
Matthew Dever, Phoenixville CC79-79=158
Rick Flesher, Berkleigh CC79-79=158
John Spina, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC81-77=158
Graham Dendler, Merion GC76-83=159
Richard Osberg, Hartefeld National GC86-73=159
Hugh Reilly, Twining Valley GC78-81=159
a-Clint Deibert, Doylestown CC78-82=160
a-Billy Stewart, Llanerch CC80-80=160
a-Robert Savarese, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club79-82=161
a-James Kieserman, Blue Bell CC79-83=162
a-Oscar Mestre, Jr., Overbrook GC79-83=162
Kevin Nicholson, West Chester G & CC80-83=163
David Smith, Jr., Yardley CC78-86=164
a-James White, Philadelphia Cricket Club79-86=165
Jason Westphal, Dick’s Sporting Goods81-85=166
Wesley Hollis, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC84-83=167
Andy Watters, Overbrook GC83-84=167
Kevin Cloud, Applebrook GC83-85=168
Julian Collice, Valley Forge CC79-90=169
Richard McCall, Jr., Maple Dale CC84-87=171
a-James Macallister, Manufacturers G & CC91-87=178
Ian Dalzell, Hidden Creek GCWD
Mike Moses, Concord CCWD
Patrick Sweetra, Centerton GCWD
J.R. Delich, White Manor CCWD
Francis Mulholland, Sand Barrens GCWD
a-Amateur
WD-withdrawal