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Chapman (Gross): Laurel Creek’s Russo earns Senior trophy

  ABSECON, N.J. — Galloway National Golf Club is assuredly in Joseph Russo’s good graces. He qualified for his second U.S. Senior Amateur on the Jersey Shore property in 2014. On Wednesday, Russo carded a 2-under-par 69 to win the Senior title in the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross). | Scorecards | History | Senior POY standings | Senior Silver Cross Award standings |
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  The Laurel Creek Country Club member was the only player to ink red on the demanding par 71, 6,531-yard layout. In doing so, he earned his second piece of individual hardware on the Senior circuit. Russo captured the Tournament of Champions crown a year ago.

  “This really is a hard golf course. For some reason, I usually score pretty well here,” Russo, 58, of Washington Township, N.J., said. “Was I expecting to shoot 69 today? No. I’ve been struggling with my putter a little bit. In fact, the putter that I had here today is one I hadn’t putted with in almost a year. Sometimes you have to put them on the shelf and make them wonder what’s going on.”

  That putter, metaphorically speaking, clearly atoned for any past wrongdoing Wednesday. It secured a birdie-birdie start at Galloway to send Russo on his way. He stopped a 52-degree wedge from 124 yards at two feet on No. 1 (par 4, 375 yards) and left a ballmark two inches off the No. 2 (par 3, 143 yards) cup following a fluid 9-iron. He capped his front nine in identical fashion. On the par 3, 164-yard No. 8, Russo launched a 7-iron to 17 feet and sank the straightaway birdie. The strenuous par 5, 510-yard No. 9 generated his “two best shots of the day.” After pummeling a pristine drive, he cut a 3-wood 252 yards to 30 feet. Russo cozied the eagle attempt into gimme range. A poor 6-iron on the par 3, 174-yard No. 4 spurned his lone outward blemish.

  With the winds gaining strength, Russo slightly stumbled a bit on Nos. 12 (par 4, 363 yards) and 13 (par 4, 423 yards). On the first, he missed a 30-footer for par after bunker trouble. Taking an awkward stance atop the left greenside bunker on No. 13, Russo tumbled a wedge to 15 feet and again failed to save 4.

  “When the wind picked up the way it did, I wasn’t prepared to play those kind of shots,” he said. “I feel like I got rattled a little bit. I worried about losing my lead. The two bogeys I made I was probably trying to protect.”

  A storm front descended upon Galloway as Russo pegged his tee ball on No. 16 (par 5, 525 yards). High winds created unplayable conditions and a subsequent one hour and 20-minute delay. When Russo returned to the course, so did the winds — at double the speed. He remained steady, however. A milestone tee shot on the challenging par 3, 217-yard 17th hole set up a five-footer for birdie.

  “That’s the longest 4-iron I ever hit in my life,” Russo, a retired police officer, said. “I know you don’t have to fly the ball back to that hole. I got it probably on the front third of the green and it rolled back there.”

  With a three-shot lead on No. 18 (par 4, 425 yards), Russo faced a yardage of 168 from the right side of the fairway. Given a gust scale of 40-50, he equipped a 5-iron and aimed left toward safety on the sprawling surface. Russo didn’t start it far enough and found the right greenside bunker instead. He then halted a textbook bunker shot five feet from a front right hole location to save par.

  “I hit the ball in the direction I wanted to hit it and hit it in the yardage I wanted to hit it today,” Russo said. “The last two weeks I made a couple of easy swings to where I can feel the club in the right spot. My putting’s really been the issue. I needed to have something different in my hands.”

  That putter will stay in his hands following Wednesday’s performance.

  “It might come to bed with me tonight. The wife might be on the couch,” Russo said.

  Jericho National Golf Club’s Jim Gavaghan carded a 2-over-par 73 to earn runner-up honors.

  “As the round went on, I started hitting the ball really well,” Gavaghan, 58, of Newtown, Pa., said. “The last 11 holes, I hit it probably about as well as I could hit it. I haven’t played well at all this year, so this is a little bit of a surprise.”

  Frank H. Chapman, a Whitemarsh Valley Country Club member, served as the Association’s secretary-treasurer for 23 years. He died on June 7, 1955 at the age of 88. The Gross tournament, now in its 11th year, is held in his honor.

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  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Overall results
Name, club Score
Joseph Russo, Laurel Creek Country Club 69
Jim Gavaghan, Jericho National Golf Club 73
Bob Beck, Lehigh Country Club 74
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club 75
Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu Country Club 75
Thomas Alestock, Running Deer Golf Club 75
Buddy Reed, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club 76
Glenn Zuck, Galloway National Golf Club 76
Bert Kosup, The Ridge at Back Brook 76
Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., Saucon Valley Country Club 77
Bob Arthur, Tavistock Country Club 78
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club 78
John Kappes, Blue Heron Pines Golf Club 78
John Nottage, Commonwealth National Golf Club 78
Joseph Roeder, Little Mill Country Club 78
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton 78
Frank Corrado, Jr., Jericho National Golf Club 79
Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf Club 79
Jim Yenser, Raven’s Claw Golf Club 79
John Psillas, Moselem Springs Golf Club 79
Paul Hess, Hartefeld National 79
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club 79
William McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club 79
Brian Corbett, Huntsville Golf Club 80
Chris Smedley, Hartefeld National 80
David Folkes, Metedeconk National Golf Club 80
John LeBoeuf, Philadelphia Country Club 80
John Ward, Greate Bay Country Club 80
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 80
Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club 80
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club 80
Robert Wagner, Merion Golf Club 80
Chris Hunger, Little Mill Country Club 81
David Richards, Bent Creek Country Club 81
Kenneth Phillips, Lancaster Country Club 81
Byron Whitman, Philadelphia Publinks GA 82
Ron Weaver, Bent Creek Country Club 82
Thomas Finn, Loch Nairn Golf Club 82
Buck Jones, Philadelphia Publinks GA 82
Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club 82
Joe Viechnicki, Saucon Valley Country Club 82
John Gonsior, Limekiln Golf Club 82
Raymond Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club 82
Roc Irey, Lookaway Golf Club 82
Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu Country Club 83
Jeffrey Allen, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club 83
Larry Piekarsky, Hidden Creek Golf Club 83
Robert Amen, Philadelphia Publinks GA 83
Ron Clark, Tavistock Country Club 83
Tim Sindorf, Laurel Creek Country Club 83
Bill Cregar, Little Mill Country Club 83
Bruce Himelman, Greenbriar Oceanaire Golf & CC 84
Brian Rothaus, Five Ponds Golf Club 84
Michael Brady, Jericho National Golf Club 84
Steve Dionisio, Jericho National Golf Club 84
Craig Kliewer, Honeybrook Golf Club 85
Ed Kahn, Little Mill Country Club 85
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club 85
Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club 85
Jon Stein, McCall Golf & Country Club 85
Gene Goudy, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 86
Kirk Larsen, St. Davids Golf Club 86
Mark Hogan, Spring Ford Country Club 86
Tom DiCinti, Old York CC at Chesterfield 86
George Connell, Jr., Gulph Mills Golf Club 87
Jim Simmons, Stonewall 87
Kevin Sartell, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club 87
Archie Struthers, Greate Bay Country Club 87
Mark Martin, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 88
David West, Applecross Country Club 89
Jim Dalzell, Linwood Country Club 89
Robert Galbreath, Sr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club 89
Pierce Herbst, Sea Oaks Golf Club 89
Mark Leaman, Stone Harbor Golf Club 90
Robert Dietrich, Loch Nairn Golf Club 90
Scott Carney, Commonwealth National Golf Club 90
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club 92
David Maslanka, Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club 93
Michael Caulfield, Commonwealth National Golf Club 93
Mike Miklinevich, Greate Bay Country Club 96
Arthur Wheeler, Jr., Gulph Mills Golf Club 97
Thomas Ritter, Hidden Creek Golf Club 97
Alan Wagenschnur, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club DQ
Mark Walker, Laurel Creek Country Club DQ
Andrew Sterge, Applebrook Golf Club WD
Bill Turner, Rancocas Golf Club WD
Dave Caldwell, Brookside Country Club WD
Ed Cybulski, Valleybrook Country Club WD
Harold Schweitzer, Jr., Broad Run Golfers Club WD
J. Kirk Luntey, Merion Golf Club WD
Jeff Lysek, Five Ponds Golf Club WD
John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club WD
John Willadsen, Sakima Country Club WD
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club WD
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club WD
Thomas Mensel, Jericho National Golf Club WD
Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club WD
James Prendergast, Bellewood Country Club WD
Jozef Swatowski, Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club WD
Michael Domenick, Phoenixville Country Club WD
Michael Quinn, Philadelphia Publinks GA WD
Michael Todd, Applecross Country Club WD
Pete Widdoes, White Clay Creek Country Club WD
Peter Mimmo, Philmont Country Club WD
Scott Latimer, Cedarbrook Country Club WD