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50th Senior Amateur: Super recap

WMCC’s Donatoni sweeps Super-Senior accolades

SPRING HOUSE, Pa. – In a year of the unknown, Don Donatoni’s Super-Senior reign remains constant.

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The smooth-swinging member of White Manor Country Club captured his fourth Senior Amateur Championship title with a two-round score of 3-over 145. Donatoni, 72, of Malvern, Pa., completed his victorious drive with a steady 1-over 72 Thursday at Old York Road Country Club (par 71, 6,078 yards). Gary Daniels of Applebrook Golf Club, who was paired with Donatoni in the penultimate group, placed second at 149 (Round 2 score of 75).

“I felt like I was in a nice, comfortable zone all day,” said Donatoni, who won Super-Senior Amateurs in 2013, 2016 and 2018. “I was hitting the ball solid and my distance control was excellent. The only thing that was a big concern to me was making the short putts on some of these greens.”

To [possibly] be able to continue that streak is beyond my wildest expectations. [This year] I just wanted to compete and maybe win one major if I was lucky.

DON DONATONI

There was very little concern in Donatoni’s round as a whole. He hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. Donatoni navigated OYR’s treacherous, potato-chip shaped greens with zero three putts. Strong stats on a day when the scoring average was 79.68.

“It was nice to play with Don today. He was fun to watch,” Daniels, 66, of Berwyn, Pa., said. “I left a few on the table. I knew I was behind [Don], and I bogeyed two par 5s (Nos. 4 and 15), which was a killer. I could’ve been right in it. But I hit it well today. I was pleasantly surprised.” This was Daniels highest finish in the Senior Amateur.

En route to the tournament triumph, Donatoni also secured his sixth Super-Senior Silver Cross Award (2013-16, 2019) and likely record eighth straight Super-Senior Player of the Year.

“I am getting older and there are a lot of wonderful players that have turned 65-66-67. I remember when I turned 65. I was more flexible. I could hit the ball a little farther. Mentally I was able to focus a lot more,” said Donatoni. “To [possibly] be able to continue that streak is beyond my wildest expectations. [This year] I just wanted to compete and maybe win one major if I was lucky.”

Donatoni entered the final round in a three-way tie for the lead with Vince Scarpetta, Jr. of Nittany Country Club and Rick Umani of Honeybrook Golf Club. All three carded opening-round 73s.

Donatoni, who calls himself a “grinder,” did just that to the field.

He began with four straight pars, then made birdie, and followed that with another par. In the meantime, all his challengers were over par.

Donatoni’s birdie was a beauty. On the difficult No. 5 (par 3, 191 yards), he turned a 4-hyrbrid over and watched his tee ball stop six feet from the cup. He trickled in the right-to-left downhiller for a two.

“That was special. That would have been a skin,” said the affable Donatoni.

One of two Donatoni scorecard blemishes came on No. 7 (par 4, 393 yards). His 6-iron from 170 yards landed in the near left fringe of the green. The hole was cut in the back right, 70 feet away. He would miss the 12-footer for par.

The Donatoni par train then again departed the station. Woo-woo it went. He made the turn with a two-stroke lead and nine straight pars later saw that advantage swell to five (Daniels being the closest foe.)

A swirl of wind and some indecisive club selection resulted in a bogey on No. 17 (par 4, 394 yards).

No matter. The skillful Donatoni grinded long enough before to make sure the bogey was a blip.

“The par on No. 10 (par 4, 390 yards) kept my round going. I hit the tree and the ball bounced back into the fairway short of the creek. I had 205 yards and hit a 5-wood just short of the right bunker. I had to hit a flop shot up and over 30-feet right of the hole and it rolled down six feet. Those par saves helped me keep the round going. Pars are always good in a championship like this. I figured if I stayed around par, or 1 under or 1 over, I’d have a good chance.”

Donatoni battled a rotator cuff injury earlier in the year and most recently, what his doctor said is back arthritis.

He’s overcome and managed the ailments. And once again, overcame all foes.

NOTE–The Super-Senior Silver Cross is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross), Frank H. Chapman Cup (Gross) and Senior Amateur Championship. Donatoni finished the four rounds at 299. Bob Billings of Rolling Green Golf Club placed second at 301.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, club R1-R2–Total
Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club 73-72–145
Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club 74-75–149
Bob Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club 76-75–151
Tom DiCinti, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association 74-77–151
Ed Enoch, Old York Road Country Club 79-73–152
Rick Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club 73-79–152
Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club 75-78–153
Vince Scarpetta, Jr., Nittany Country Club 73-81–154
John Gonsior, The Bucks Club 79-76–155
Tom Humphrey, Wilmington Country Club 74-81–155
Elliot Sheftel, Lehigh Country Club 76-79–155
Dan Burton, Lancaster Country Club 78-78–156
Frank Polizzi, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 77-79–156
Steve Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club 81-76–157
Craig Scott, Great Bear Golf Club 81-76–157
Joe Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club 78-80–158
Tom Bartolacci, LuLu Country Club 79-81–160
Gordon Brewer, Pine Valley Golf Club 79-81–160
Chuck Dowds, Applebrook Golf Club 83-77–160
Raymond Pawulich, Little Mill Country Club 82-79–161
Robert Dietrich, Loch Nairn Golf Club 83-80–163
Buck Jones, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association 82-82–164
Bob Majczan, Lookaway Golf Club 81-85–166
Luke Wozniak, Fieldstone Golf Club 84-83–167
Matthew Smith, Regents’ Glen Country Club 83-89–172
Anthony Kondracki, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 93-100–193