PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. — Don Donatoni’s quest for the Super-Senior slam is alive, though it endured a brief stint on life support Wednesday at RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve (par 71, 6,021 yards). The division rookie, coming off a win in the Warner Cup (Gross) a month ago, defeated Moorestown Field Club’s Jon Mabry in a sudden-death playoff to win the Super-Senior title in the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross). Donatoni drained a 20-footer for birdie on No. 17 (par 3, 130 yards), the extra session’s third hole, to prevail. Both players finished regulation tied at 2-over-par 73.
“The feeling is indescribable, to be able to back up a Super-Senior Major with another one,” the Malvern, Pa. resident said. “The field is really strong. The competition is top shelf. The golf courses that we’ve played have been very challenging and difficult. Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the start I’ve had this year. I feel very proud with what I’ve accomplished so far.”
On the 17th hole, Donatoni, playing first, hit a pitching wedge to 20 feet below the flagstick.
“It was a bit of a gamble because there’s not a lot of room between the water and the pin, but knowing I had flushed a wedge earlier in the day and it got me to 20 feet, I put it in the exact same spot,” the White Manor Country Club member said.
Mabry stopped his tee shot at 25 feet above the hole location and lagged his birdie putt to a foot. With Mabry in for 3, Donatoni analyzed his line, accounting for a birdie attempt in regulation that settled just outside the left edge. He reeled his new Scotty Cameron flatstick straight back, accelerated thru and watched his golf ball stay online and drop into the jar on its last revolution.
“That was extremely gratifying, to have learned from the previous putt, have a second shot at it and make it,” Donatoni, 65, said.
With Mabry in the clubhouse at 2 over, Donatoni, six groups behind, played his final eight holes in even par to force a sudden-death session. His only blemishes in regulation occurred on Nos. 2 (par 5, 485 yards) and 10 (par 4, 343 yards). Donatoni steered a drive out-of-bounds to ink a 7 on the first, and smothered a 9-iron out of a sidehill lie for a bogey on the latter. He carded a birdie on the par 4, 272-yard No. 9, hitting a 5-wood to 60-feet for a sound two-putt.
“The rest of the round was fairways and greens,” he said.
Mabry experienced a career day that included a double eagle and his best finish in a Golf Association of Philadelphia event. Starting on No. 10 (par 4, 343 yards), Wednesday’s toughest hole statistically, Mabry converted a clutch 15-footer to save par. He nearly holed an 8-iron from 130 yards for eagle on No. 11 (par 4, 328 yards). With that kind of opening, Mabry sensed he was destined for something special.
“I can’t complain,” the Medford, N.J. resident said. “I made a lot of putts today. The greens were tough. You really needed to be in the right spots. It’s the first time I’ve ever made a double eagle, and that’s rare. It’s a good feeling. I come out here, hoping to break 80 on these courses.”
Standing 229 yards from the No. 2 flagstick, Mabry smashed a 4-wood that stayed online and soon disappeared from his field of vision.
“Neil McDermott [Mabry’s playing partner] looks up there and says it’s in the hole,” Mabry, 66, said. “It was very exciting.”
An unfortunate bogey on the par 3, 143-yard No. 3 somewhat spoiled the spectacular moment. Mabry missed the green with a 6-iron, but responded with an invigorating birdie on No. 4 (par 5, 494 yards). He sent a pitching wedge 30 yards to 15 feet and watched his ensuing putt plummet after two full revolutions around the jar. Standing at 2 under with two holes remaining, Mabry tumbled. A three-putt from 50 feet resulted in a bogey on No. 8 (par 4, 395 yards). He faced a critical decision on the No. 9 (par 4, 272 yards) tee. Needing to clear a daunting pit between the tee and fairway, Mabry elected to equip a 4-wood on the tee. He popped his golf ball into the dreaded domain below. Mabry went on to card a triple bogey.
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 eighth year, is held in his honor.
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 143 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.
*Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club
Jon Mabry, Moorestown Field Club
George McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club
Terry Law, Yardley Country Club
Carl Everett, Merion Golf Club
Frank Polizzi, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club
William Lawler, Fox Hill Country Club
Art Brosius, Golf Course at Glen Mills
Clay Hamlin, III, Merion Golf Club
Michael Rowland, Lehigh Country Club
Charles F. McClaskey, Back Creek Golf Club
Jay Howson, Jr., St. Davids Golf Club
John Rowe, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club
Ken Gaskill, Philadelphia Publinks GA
Neil McDermott, Llanerch Country Club
Theodore Beringer, Philadelphia Country Club
Frank Shuman, Lehigh Country Club
Terrence Sawyer, Mercer Oaks Golf Course
Fred Jones, Merion Golf Club
Edward Pappas, Rolling Green Golf Club
Richard Smith, Philadelphia Country Club
David Kearney, Lehigh Country Club
Rick Bunn, McCall Golf & Country Club
Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club
James Haynie, Commonwealth National Golf Club
John Snyder, Waynesborough Country Club
Gary Gordon, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Thomas ORourke, Chester Valley Golf Club
Michael Civitello, Chester Valley Golf Club
Lawrence Harrison, Hidden Creek Golf Club
Gregory Gaul, Merion Golf Club
John Cech, Riverton Country Club
Charles Whipple, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
George Carr, Running Deer Golf Club
Jim Robertson, Saucon Valley Country Club
John Owens, M.D., Tavistock Country Club
Terry Fair, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve
- – won in playoff
WD – withdrawal; NC – no card