Sep 28, 2011

Overbrook’s Ray Thompson nabs Sr. Amateur; Rowe wins Super-Senior

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Senior, Tournaments

  Mother Nature delivered a knockout punch to the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 41st Senior Amateur Championship.

  Torrential rains overnight rendered Whitford CC (par 72, 6,549 yards) unplayable Wednesday, forcing GAP officials to cancel Round Two. It’s the final piece in a line of weather-related ghosts that haunted the Senior Amateur. Last month, Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc upon Whitemarsh Valley CC, the event’s original host site. It then moved to Philadelphia CC, but heavy rains again created unplayable course conditions for both rounds.

  Three weeks later, the first round was finally completed yesterday at Whitford, thus making the Senior Amateur only an 18-hole event. As a result, Raymond Thompson of Overbrook GC is the 2011 Champion.

  “It’s a little bittersweet,” Thompson, 59, said. “It’s better when you win it over the course of two rounds, but don’t get me wrong. I’m glad to win.”

  On a day when the field’s scoring average was 80.3, Thompson defied the odds by carding a 3-under-par 69. He fired six birdies against three bogeys to produce the tournament’s lone subpar score. Thompson’s performance also gave the Drexel Hill, Pa. resident his second Senior Silver Cross Award. He upended Michael Quinn of Edgmont CC by four strokes.

  “I’m certainly happy that I was able to win the Senior Amateur and the Silver Cross to boot. That’s a nice accomplishment for me,” Thompson, who captured every Senior title in 2007 en route to POY honors that year, said. “After 2007, I guess my expectations got up and I put a lot of pressure on myself to try and do better. Winning tournaments isn’t easy. You have to get a little lucky as well. I went into this season saying that I got to have fun and not put pressure on myself to win every time I tee it up.”

  In his Super-Senior Division debut, John Rowe of Whitemarsh Valley CC made quite the first impression. He carded a 1-over-par 73 to top the field yesterday.

  “I’m certainly happy that I was able to win the Senior Amateur [Super-Senior title],” Rowe, 65, said. “I just had a fortunate day where I putted really well. The chips kind of fell my way. It was just a great day all-around.”

  Rowe’s victory assured the Philadelphia, Pa. resident that his golf game is operating at full strength — eight months removed from prostate cancer treatment.

  “I feel like in the last 45 days, I’m finally back to where I was before,” Rowe said. “I just have a different outlook on things. I’m just happy to play golf. There were two milestones for me this summer: winning the Senior Amateur and also winning the Senior Championship at Whitemarsh against a strong group of senior players. That was a key step for me. It’s been a pretty satisfying year.”

  Rowe will now travel to the United Kingdom, where he is a member of The Lambourne Golf Club, for business purposes. He intends to log a few more rounds before shelving the golf clubs for the year.

  Reigning Super-Senior Player of the Year Charles McClaskey of Back Creek GC stood two shots behind Rowe for the Senior Amateur lead. His score of 75, however, was all the Elkton, Md. resident needed to secure his second Super-Senior Silver Cross Award. McClaskey bested the field by a staggering 16 strokes.

  The Senior Amateur Championship was shortened to 18 holes twice before due to weather. In 1993, Fred Tyler, Jr. of Reading CC carded a 73 at Indian Valley CC to win. Jay Howson, Jr. of St. Davids GC, now a marquee name in the Super-Senior ranks, won the 1999 edition at Yardley CC.

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