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Frank H. Chapman Memorial (Gross)

Berkshire’s Whitman poetic in Senior Division win

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FLEETWOOD, Pa. — Like a golf soldier stationed overseas, Byron Whitman needed a homecoming to clear his war-torn mind.   

It happened Wednesday when he returned to Moselem Springs Golf Club (par 70, 6,483 yards) for the Frank H. Chapman Memorial (Gross). Whitman, a Moselem Springs member of 10 years (1992-2002), settled into friendly surroundings, stamped a 1-under-par 69 and snagged the Senior Division title.

Overbrook Golf Club’s Oscar Mestre, the tournament’s defending champion, placed second at 1-over-par 71.

“Sometimes when you’re struggling with your game, it’s good to get to a place that you’re familiar with, a place you’ve had some success,” Whitman, a six-time men’s club champion at Moselem Springs, said. “I felt like I was fighting it, trying to make some swing changes. Being here seemed to bring back some good memories. I started out half-decent, and it just went smoothly from there on.”

Smoothly and successfully.

Whitman, who started on No. 10, emerged from a notoriously difficult stretch (Nos. 12-14), “Moselem’s version of Amen Corner,” at 1 under. He executed a preconceived plan to perfection on No. 12 (par 5, 490 yards): manage shot selection and enter the 100-yard range for your approach. Whitman lifted a gap wedge 100 yards to three feet for birdie.

“I played it conservatively knowing I had an advantage here,” Whitman, now a Berkshire Country Club member, said. “I didn’t want to give it away by doing anything stupid. I have the tendency to do that.”

Old habits died hard Wednesday. Whitman reached the trying No. 13 (par 3, 199 yards) green with a 4-hybrid and walked away with a par. Two putts from 50 feet on the next hole (par 4, 377 yards) kept his scorecard — and unabashed smile — smooth. After all, Moselem’s 14th hole played a full stroke over par Wednesday.

“I got around the course today without a three-putt, which is what you have to do if you’re going to score here,” Whitman, 60, of Reading, Pa., said. “I happened to get on the right side of the pin most of the time. Knowledge really worked on at least a couple of shots today.”

It certainly worked on No. 2 (par 4, 395 yards). Knowing the green’s contour favors front landings, Whitman knocked an 8-iron 148 yards to 12 feet for birdie.

“I got a good look from my playing partner (Ron Weaver),” Whitman, who registered 11 of 14 available fairways on the day, said. “He had a 30-footer on that same line. It didn’t break as much as we thought.”

Of course, Whitman’s “worst swing of the day” resulted in his lone bogey. On the bunker-laden No. 3 (par 3, 172 yards), he attempted to play a 6-iron onto the green’s ridge, which naturally delivers any visitors to a front left doorstep. Whitman instead hung onto it and missed greenside right. Such a position disallows the holding of mortal chips. Whitman left an ensuing 10-footer short in the heart. A handful of birdie opportunities surfaced coming in. None sank; Whitman relied on course knowledge for safe harbor instead.

“It’s amplified here because this is one of George Fazio’s first designs. He really put a lot of work into the putting surfaces,” Whitman, who works in sales and marketing in the wellness industry, said. “They’re some of the most unique and challenging greens you’ll ever face. Everyone always remarks about how phenomenal these greens are. Today was no exception.”

Whitman captured the Senior 27-Hole Challenge a year ago alongside clubmate Joe Butto. He played in the first group Wednesday, waiting seven hours for his first GAP individual win to become official.

“It’s a tough field of a lot of good players. You need to be on top of your game, and you have to have a few things go right,” Whitman, who lost in a playoff for the 2010 Marston Cup, said. “It was a big surprise to me today.”

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 13th year, is held in his honor.

Super-Senior Division

It wasn’t the usual Don-anation the Super-Senior field has grown accustomed to. Nonetheless, the six-straight Super-Senior Player of the Year claimed the leaderboard’s top spot once again.

White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni outlasted the 44-player field – including three matching his low mark – to win a fourth career Chapman (Gross) title at Moselem Springs Golf Club (par 70, 5,824 yards). It was the powerhouse’s first Chapman victory since 2016.

“Anytime you can win the Chapman, it’s a tremendous honor,” said Donatoni, 71, of Malvern, Pa. “No matter how the tournament may have ended, I’m thrilled to bring home another one. It means a lot to me, especially among such a talented group of GAP players.”

In the morning wave, three players set the clubhouse mark. The home club’s Rich Colaguori, in addition to Country Club of York’s Dennis Lankford and Lu Lu Country Club’s Wayne Bartolacci, filed 2-under par 72s for that early lead. Donatoni joined that party in the afternoon, teeing off at 12:50 p.m., with a matching 72 of his own.

The eventual champ’s day began with a bogey blemish, which surfaced on Moselem’s first, a 324-yard, par-4. It was immediately cancelled out. On No. 2 (par 4, 355 yards), Donatoni flushed an 8-iron approach, tossing it to 15 feet. The birdie attempt was made. The bogey blemish was erased.

Donatoni’s “steady” game meant seven straight pars to follow, resulting in an even-par mark at the turn. Although a few short birdie misses appeared, the champion would cross into the red with a jarred 3 on No. 11 (par 4, 403 yards). It was there where Donatoni darted a 6-iron from 165 yards out that “never left the flag”, landing within six feet, leading to the make.

Three “really dissapointing bogeys” in Donatoni’s final five holes meant the long, fateful wait began. When it was declared Colaguori, Lankford and Bartolacci were not present at the time of the playoff, Donatoni gained his second GAP Major of the season.

“It’s a different way to win,” said Donatoni. “I do love playoffs, but a win is a win.”

In early May, Donatoni took home his third career Warner Cup (Gross) crown. It was a blistering 3-under 67 at Burlington Country Club that got the job done there. His two early-season victories have propelled him into position-A for the season-long Super-Senior Silver Cross Award. Donatoni holds an eight-stroke lead over the field heading into the final leg.

The ultimate test arrives when the GAP Senior Amateur Championship tees off at Little Mill Country Club, Sept. 3-4.

“I’ve been lucky enough to bring home a few Silver Cross wins in my day,” said Donatoni, a four-time Silver Cross winner. “Anything can happen when you’re halfway through the competition, so I won’t think about it too much. But the strong performances at the beginning of the year have put me in good position.”

Silver Cross aside, Donatoni is already batting 1.000 (2-for-2) to begin his 2019 campaign. And so, the Don-anation continues.

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 274 Full 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.

Senior Division results
Name, club score
Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club69
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club71
Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club72
Rand Mendez, Fieldstone Golf Club72
Jim Yenser, Raven’s Claw Golf Club72
Jeffrey Allen, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club73
David Blichar, Olde Homestead Golf Club73
Scott Mayne, LedgeRock Golf Club73
Thomas Soares, Lehigh Country Club73
Barry Cahill, Radley Run Country Club74
Greg Guyer, Philadelphia Cricket Club74
Jim Lowthert, French Creek Golf Club74
John Psillas, Moselem Springs Golf Club74
Michael Quinn, Philadelphia Publinks GA74
Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu Country Club74
Brian Rothaus, Philmont Country Club75
John Conway, Little Mill Country Club76
Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton76
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club76
Eric Meyer, Whitford Country Club76
Michael Tash, The Springhaven Club76
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton76
Marlin Detweiler, Lancaster Country Club77
Edward Erickson, Makefield Highlands Golf Club77
Robert Harrington, Merion Golf Club77
William McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club77
John Nottage, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Kenneth Phillips, Lancaster Country Club77
Ray Pyontek, Mercer Oaks Golf Course77
John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club77
Joseph Roeder, Little Mill Country Club77
David West, Wyncote Golf Club77
Joe Campisano, Five Ponds Golf Club78
Scott Carney, Commonwealth National Golf Club78
Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club78
Michael Fagan, DuPont Country Club78
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club78
Jim Gavaghan, Commonwealth National Golf Club78
Thomas Krug, Commonwealth National Golf Club78
Bryan McClaskey, Merchantville Country Club78
Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club78
Carlos Ochoa, Little Mill Country Club78
Paul Rogowicz, Yardley Country Club78
Elliot Sheftel, Lehigh Country Club78
Steve Walczak, Wilmington Country Club78
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club79
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club79
Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu Country Club79
Andy Lykon, Makefield Highlands Golf Club79
Scott McIntosh, Makefield Highlands Golf Club79
David Richards, Bent Creek Country Club79
Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf Club79
Matthew Smith, Regents’ Glen Country Club79
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club80
John Donnelly, Concord Country Club80
Thomas Finn, Loch Nairn Golf Club80
Paul Hess, Hartefeld National80
Steve Hill, Hershey Country Club80
Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club80
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club80
Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club81
Mark Cubberley, Mercer Oaks Golf Course81
Jay Desjardins, Waynesborough Country Club81
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club81
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club81
Chris Smedley, Hartefeld National81
Andrew Sterge, Applebrook Golf Club81
Ron Weaver, Bent Creek Country Club81
John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club82
Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club83
Eric Lamm, Schuylkill Country Club83
Jim Simmons, Stonewall83
Kevin Sartell, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club84
Jon Stein, McCall Golf Club84
David Strohl, Olde Homestead Golf Club84
J.R. Cattoni, Williamsport Country Club85
Andy McCormick, Lancaster Country Club85
John Vergari, Tavistock Country Club86
Trey Watts, Jericho National Golf Club87
Jim Witt, Commonwealth National Golf Club87
Jim Dalzell, Linwood Country Club88
Michael Lewers, Aronimink Golf Club89
Brian Trymbiski, Doylestown Country Club91
Jeff Fialko, Aronimink Golf Club94
Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf ClubNS
Bob Beck, Lehigh Country ClubWD
Dave Caldwell, Philadelphia Publinks GAWD
Ed Kahn, Little Mill Country ClubWD
J. Kirk Luntey, Merion Golf ClubWD
Robert Wagner, Merion Golf ClubWD
Super-Senior results
Name, club, score
*Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club72
Wayne Bartolacci, Lu Lu Country Club72
Rich Colaguori, Moselem Springs Golf Club72
Dennis Lankford, Country Club of York72
Daniel Burton, Lancaster Country Club74
Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., Lu Lu Country Club74
Tom Borsello, Hartefeld National74
Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club74
Richard Custer, Bellewood Country Club75
Michael Moser, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club75
James Muller, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club75
Frank Polizzi, Aronimink Golf Club75
Alan Van Horn, Commonwealth National Golf Club75
Larry Borowsky, White Manor Country Club76
Bennett Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club76
Terrence Sawyer, Lu Lu Country Club76
Steve Tagert, Spring Ford Country Club76
Bernie Zbrzeznj, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club76
Tom DiCinti, Mercer Oaks Golf Course76
Robert Dietrich, Loch Nairn Golf Club76
Roc Irey, Lookaway Golf Club76
Gene Maginnis, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club76
Carl Everett, Merion Golf Club77
Robert Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club78
Joe Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club78
Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club78
Bob Majczan, Lookaway Golf Club78
David Taylor, White Manor Country Club79
Jeffrey True, Lebanon Country Club79
Matthew Bellis, Commonwealth National Golf Club79
Charles Dowds, III, Applebrook Golf Club79
Buck Jones, Philadelphia Publinks GA79
Charles McClaskey, Philadelphia Publinks GA80
James Prendergast, Bellewood Country Club80
Craig Aronchick, Rolling Green Golf Club81
Thomas Mallouk, Lookaway Golf Club82
Mark Monkhouse, Makefield Highlands Golf Club82
John Palumbo, White Manor Country Club82
Howard Press, Little Mill Country Club82
O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., Pine Valley Golf Club83
Dave Jacobson, Medford Village Country Club83
John Gonsior, Limekiln Golf Club86
Gil Golding, Commonwealth National Golf Club89
George Henninger, Huntingdon Valley Country ClubWD
* — won in playoff
NS — no show; WD — withdrawal