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Chapman (Gross): Overbrook’s Mestre magical in Senior Division win

June 6, 2018

HORSHAM, Pa. — After carding an 82 in a U.S. Senior Open Qualifier two days ago at Indian Valley Country Club, Oscar Mestre stopped at the office — completing work, clearing headspace. During the drive home, he decided, on a whim, to stop at Overbrook Golf Club’s driving range.

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Mestre unearthed an alignment thought there, and, subsequently, uncovered his first individual Senior title. He won the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross) at a pleasant Commonwealth National Golf Club (par 71, 6,563 yards) Wednesday. Mestre carded a 1-under-par 70 to prevail by three strokes.

  Four players — Lu Lu Country Club’s Glenn Smeraglio, Overbrook’s Ray Thompson and Little Mill Country Club’s Thomas Hyland and Joseph Roeder, the tournament’s defending champion — tied for second at 73.

  “I’m an eternal optimist because if not, I’d be a really sad man. I always feel like I’m very close to the next thing,” Mestre, 58, of Berwyn, Pa., said. “I hit a few shots [on the range] and had a thought that I felt I could take to the golf course. That thought was the only thing I worked with today. As you get older, it gets harder to turn away from the ball, so I’m thinking about turning away from the ball. I hit it really solid today.”

  Commonwealth, by its nature, places a premium on tee position. Forced carries here, hazards there. Mestre answered those demands accordingly, equipping driver when aggression and confidence arose.

  A flowing front nine flung Mestre, an Overbrook member since 1976, into the leaderboard mix early. His lone birdie came on No. 4 (par 4, 373 yards), where Mestre knocked a 9-iron 142 yards to three feet. Other red opportunities came and went.

  Mestre, who works in finances and investments, did capitalize on the par 5, 515-yard 11th hole, extricating a 9-iron 145 yards out of the fairway bunker to 12 feet for birdie. A mark of 2 under is hardly a Commonwealth comfort. The Costanza’s “Serenity Now,” however, is commonplace. That’s what Mestre repeated internally on the next two holes. He missed a par putt — all 14 inches of it — on No. 12 (par 3, 168 yards).

  “I marked my ball because I didn’t want to stand in [playing partner] Bob Beck’s line. I missed [the par putt], and now I’m like, ‘Come one’ because I was 2 under at that stage,” Mestre, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Vice President, said. “You don’t want to let it affect you.”

  Despite his best efforts, it somehow, someway affected Mestre on the challenging 13th hole (par 4, 410 yards). Shoved drive right, tree collision, golf ball 40 yards farther right. To return to civilization, Mestre elected to travel underneath an obstructing tree. Another bark ricochet, cart path travel, golf ball still near the adjacent 11th hole. Mestre fortunately then found fairway, green and two-putt.

  “At that moment, making a double bogey is a good score. It’s hard to swallow a double bogey as a good score,” he said. “In the (GAP) Team Championship Qualifier at Springhaven, I started bogey, bogey, par, birdie triple bogey. I finished the day 1 over. That recent memory of the fact that you can come back was reassurance. I followed a train wreck with a lot of birdies. That comfort was in the back of my mind today. The good news is I composed myself.”

  The composure of a champion it seems. Mestre reset with back-to-back birdies. Keeping the driver at bay, he relied on the likes of a rescue and 3-wood for 7-iron set-ups: 165 yards to 12 feet on No. 14 (par 4, 384 yards), 155 yards to eight feet on No. 15 (par 4, 386 yards). A tugged 6-iron on the next hole (par 3, 189 yards) spearheaded a bogey and left Mestre at a crossroads.

  “The 17th hole was a defining moment,” he said. “I don’t usually like hitting driver there. It’s very narrow, and if you don’t hit it well, you bring bunker left into play, or the tree right into play. I felt like I needed to do something. sometimes that doesn’t work.”

  It worked. Mestre dusted off the driver and promptly split the chute fairway. He then lifted a wedge 100 yards to six feet for birdie. Standing on the 18th tee — trouble on his left, trouble on his right, Mestre didn’t cage the driver; he unleashed that elephant down the fairway’s center, reached the green with a 7-iron from 165 yards and executed a strenuous two-putt to assure the reassured.

  “I was able to handle the emotions today. I had that swing thought that worked,” Mestre, who won the GAP Middle-Amateur Championship in 2002, said.

  That thought counted as a win Wednesday.

  “You wonder if you’ll ever be in a strong finish or a position to win. Whenever you get that shot, it’s pretty special,” Mestre said. “Every day, as you get older, you say to yourself in the back of your mind, ‘Do I have anything left in the tank?’ It’s nice to have something left in the tank.”

NOTES — Home-club hopeful Tom Krug, 56, of Glenmoore, Pa., aced No. 8 (par 3, 122 yards) with a 9-iron. It marked the third hole-in-one of his career … 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 12th year, is held in his honor.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 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.

Senior Division results
Name, club Score
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club 70
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club 73
Joseph Roeder, Little Mill Country Club 73
Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu Country Club 73
Raymond Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club 73
Joe Campisano, Five Ponds Golf Club 74
Joseph Russo, Running Deer Golf Club 74
Alan Wagenschnur, Loch Nairn Golf Club 74
Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club 74
Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton 75
Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club 75
Craig Kliewer, Honeybrook Golf Club 75
David West, Philadelphia Publinks GA 75
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club 76
Kenneth Phillips, Lancaster Country Club 76
George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club 76
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton 76
Michael Anderson, Philadelphia Cricket Club 77
Charles Dowds, III, Applebrook Golf Club 77
Tom Krug, Commonwealth National Golf Club 77
Carlos Ochoa, Little Mill Country Club 77
Brian Rothaus, Five Ponds Golf Club 77
Jim Witt, Commonwealth National Golf Club 77
Scott Carney, Commonwealth National Golf Club 78
Norman Charlesworth, Running Deer Golf Club 78
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club 78
Rand Mendez, Fieldstone Golf Club 78
John Nottage, Commonwealth National Golf Club 78
Mike Owsik, Cobbs Creek Golf Club 78
Michael Moser, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 79
Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf Club 79
Trey Watts, Jericho National Golf Club 79
Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club 79
Jeffrey Allen, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club 80
Bob Beck, Lehigh Country Club 80
Barry Cahill, Radley Run Country Club 80
Mark Cubberley, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 80
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club 80
John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 80
Thomas Soares, Lehigh Country Club 80
Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club 81
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club 81
Marlin Detweiler, Lancaster Country Club 81
George Henninger, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 81
Steve Hill, Hershey Country Club 81
Matthew Manfred, Commonwealth National Golf Club 81
Scott McIntosh, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 81
Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club 81
John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club 81
Harold Schweitzer, Jr., Broad Run Golfer’s Club 81
Chris Smedley, Hartefeld National 81
Robert Wurtz, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club 81
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club 82
J.R. Cattoni, Huntsville Golf Club 82
Thomas Finn, Loch Nairn Golf Club 82
Alan Lazzarino, DuPont Country Club 82
Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club 82
Wayne Bartolacci, Lu Lu Country Club 83
Robert Dietrich, Loch Nairn Golf Club 83
J. Kirk Luntey, Merion Golf Club 83
Jim Simmons, Stonewall 83
Michael Tash, Tavistock Country Club 83
Tom Borsello, Hartefeld National 84
Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu Country Club 84
Dave Loftus, Five Ponds Golf Club 84
Jon Stein, McCall Golf & Country Club 84
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club 84
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 85
Jim Gavaghan, Jericho National Golf Club 85
Michael Lewers, Aronimink Golf Club 85
Matt Mingione, The 1912 Club 85
Bill Turner, Rancocas Golf Club 85
Ron Weaver, Bent Creek Country Club 85
George Connell, Jr., Gulph Mills Golf Club 86
Frank Corrado, Jr., Lu Lu Country Club 86
Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club 86
Roy Gagne, Yardley Country Club 86
Mark Occhipinti, Country Club of Scranton 86
Andrew Sterge, Applebrook Golf Club 87
Joe Culley, The Springhaven Club 89
Allen Padovano, Yardley Country Club 89
Robert Tredinnick, Commonwealth National Golf Club 89
Brian Trymbiski, Doylestown Country Club 90
Jeff Lysek, Five Ponds Golf Club 91
Barry Westington, Country Club of Scranton 93
Matt Brady, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 96
Cameron Campbell, McCall Golf & Country Club 97
David Justi, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 98
Paul Altieri, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 100
John Ward, Greate Bay Country Club WD
WD — withdrawal