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.
|Brian Kelly, Bucknell GC||71-72=143|
|Stuart Ingraham, Overbrook GC||67-78=145|
|Mark Sheftic, Sunnybrook GC||69-76=145|
|Pete Oakley, The Rookery||74-72=146|
|Rich Steinmetz, Spring Ford CC||74-72=146|
|a-Michael McDermott, Llanerch CC||73-74=147|
|John Allen, Sunnybrook GC||71-77=148|
|Paul A. Oglesby, Merion GC||78-70=148|
|Bill Sautter, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC||75-73=148|
|Andy Fisher, Woodcrest CC||74-75=149|
|George Forster, Radnor Valley CC||75-74=149|
|a-Brian Gillespie, St. Davids GC||76-73=149|
|Marty Nowicki, Silver Creek CC||76-73=149|
|Tom Ryan, Plymouth CC||74-75=149|
|Christian Bartolacci, Jericho National GC||78-72=150|
|Jim Smith, Jr., Talamore at Oak Terrace CC||75-75=150|
|a-Anthony Apostolico, Deerfield G & TC||74-77=151|
|Terry Hertzog, Gulph Mills GC||76-75=151|
|a-Robin McCool, Saucon Valley CC||77-74=151|
|a-P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC||80-71=151|
|a-John Robinson, Commonwealth National GC||77-75=152|
|David McNabb, Christiana CC||75-78=153|
|John Brennan, Clinton CC||79-75=154|
|Dave Roberts, Cedarbrook CC||80-74=154|
|David Seeman, Jr., Wilmington CC||77-77=154|
|Robert Leeman, Conestoga CC||77-78=155|
|a-Michael Tash, Tavistock CC||78-77=155|
|Peter Carmain, Applebrook GC||78-78=156|
|Rick Gibney, Colonial CC||74-82=156|
|William Walker, Philadelphia PGA||79-77=156|
|Jack Connelly, Huntingdon Valley CC||80-77=157|
|a-Christopher Lange, Overbrook GC||72-85=157|
|Rob Shuey, GC at Felicita||74-83=157|
|Heath Davidson, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC||79-79=158|
|Matthew Dever, Phoenixville CC||79-79=158|
|Rick Flesher, Berkleigh CC||79-79=158|
|John Spina, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC||81-77=158|
|Graham Dendler, Merion GC||76-83=159|
|Richard Osberg, Hartefeld National GC||86-73=159|
|Hugh Reilly, Twining Valley GC||78-81=159|
|a-Clint Deibert, Doylestown CC||78-82=160|
|a-Billy Stewart, Llanerch CC||80-80=160|
|a-Robert Savarese, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club||79-82=161|
|a-James Kieserman, Blue Bell CC||79-83=162|
|a-Oscar Mestre, Jr., Overbrook GC||79-83=162|
|Kevin Nicholson, West Chester G & CC||80-83=163|
|David Smith, Jr., Yardley CC||78-86=164|
|a-James White, Philadelphia Cricket Club||79-86=165|
|Jason Westphal, Dick’s Sporting Goods||81-85=166|
|Wesley Hollis, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC||84-83=167|
|Andy Watters, Overbrook GC||83-84=167|
|Kevin Cloud, Applebrook GC||83-85=168|
|Julian Collice, Valley Forge CC||79-90=169|
|Richard McCall, Jr., Maple Dale CC||84-87=171|
|a-James Macallister, Manufacturers G & CC||91-87=178|
|Ian Dalzell, Hidden Creek GC||WD|
|Mike Moses, Concord CC||WD|
|Patrick Sweetra, Centerton GC||WD|
|J.R. Delich, White Manor CC||WD|
|Francis Mulholland, Sand Barrens GC||WD|