Oct 07, 2016

Philadelphia Publinks’ Brown bags 59th Tournament of Champions

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  WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Michael R. Brown, Jr. turned a potentially disastrous round into a triumphant one Friday. After staring at 4 over through five holes, the Maple Shade, N.J. resident played his next 13 in 5 under. The transformation meant a 1-under-par 70 on the scorecard and a victory in the 59th Tournament of Champions at Concord Country Club (par 71, 6,624 yards). | Scorecards | History | Photo gallery |

  Old York Country Club at Chesterfield’s Ryan Siegler placed second at 71.

  “It’ll be nice to go into the winter with a good round under my belt,” Brown, who won the Tournament of Champions in 2013 at Philmont Country Club, said. “It’s nice to have hung in there and finished strong down the stretch.”

  A strong finish indeed. Brown, 43, bagged a birdie on the unsettling par 5, 565-yard 14th hole, knocking a wedge 73 yards to six feet. A sharp wedge from 101 yards on No. 16 (par 4, 440 yards), followed by 10-foot putt, yielded an identical result. Brown burrowed into red with an eagle on the uphill, 318-yard 17th hole. Deeming it reachable with a powerful drive, he pulverized one 10 yards shy of the putting surface. Brown then executed a low bump chip that darted 25 yards into the jar.

  “It was the shot I was hoping to hit. It didn’t waver and it had good speed,” he said.

Brown’s back nine contrasted his front. A three-putt on No. 1 (par 4, 391 yards) and a skulled wedge on No. 2 (par 4, 325 yards) spurned bogeys. He flung a 3-wood into the water hazard on No. 5 (par 4, 370 yards), the catalyst to a disheartening 6. Brown started to plug the leaks by firing a birdie on No. 7 (par 4, 426 yards), where he hit a 6-iron 160 yards to five feet. The conversion triggered a sampling of encouragement.

  “I thought with a couple of reachable par 5s on the back nine, it was possible to get it back down around par or maybe under par,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t say that got me jumpstarted, but I knew I wasn’t completely out of it at that point.”

  Brown previously experienced Concord firsthand “five or seven years ago.” He relished a return.

  “It was a treat,” Brown, the Association’s 2009 Middle-Amateur Champion, said. “It’s a lot different than what I remember. They did some really good work here. It’s a lot more traditional than it was before. The bunkers are placed properly. The conditions were immaculate.”

  Upon the completion of his round, Brown raced to Jeffersonville Golf Club for the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association’s Fall Classic. Save for Friday’s feverish festivities, his packed tournament schedule is drawing to a close. The 2016 campaign saw Brown fall in a four-hole aggregate playoff for the Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf. He will rank 10th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings thanks to Friday’s win.

  “I had some good moments in GAP and in the Pennsylvania Golf Association. I was really disappointed with my results in USGA qualifying events,” Brown said of the 2016 tournament season. “Overall, I kind of have a bad taste in my mouth because those are the most important tournaments to me. The (GAP) Middle-Amateur was a good experience and a good memory because they’re two of my friends [Matthew Mattare and Matthew Finger]. It was a good year overall. I don’t want to put a bad spin on it.”

Senior & Super Senior
  He’s the Don, Don.

  White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni continued his fall tear Friday. The four-time reigning Super-Super Player of the Year drained a 15-foot downhiller for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 369 yards) to defeat Fox Hill Country Club’s Robert Gill in a sudden-death playoff for the Senior (par 71, 6,262 yards) trophy.

  Both players carded even-par 71s in regulation.

  “It has been a heck of year, and a tremendous last month or two,” Donatoni, 68, of Malvern, Pa., said. “My bunker play was a little shaky early in the year. I worked on it hard and it paid off in critical situations. I was able to put it together at the right times.”

  In the span of two months, Donatoni’s acquired the Super-Senior titles in the Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship, GAP Senior Amateur Championship, Sunnehanna Senior and Art Wall, Jr. Memorial.

  On No. 1, Donatoni accounted for a lesson learned in regulation. He knocked a wedge from a similar distance (116 yards), only to see it peel off the green. In the playoff, he choked down on a 9-iron and carried it 126 yards. Donatoni poured the left-to-right slider in the center.

  At White Manor, Donatoni holds 31 club championships (19 Men’s, 12 Senior). He won the Tournament of Champions (Senior Division) in 2010, but declined to participate since, citing end-of-season fatigue. Wins of late sparked a newfound energy and enthusiasm to return.

  “I really wanted to play this year because I still know I can compete with the guys at the Senior level,” Donatoni said. “I didn’t expect to win, but that was the icing on the cake. To shoot even par and birdie the first [playoff] hole made it extra special.”

  Spring Ford Country Club’s Steve Tagert will celebrate his 67th birthday tomorrow. He unwrapped an early present Friday, carding a 3-over-par 74 to earn the event’s Super-Senior (par 71, 5,811 yards) title.

  “I struck the ball well. I think I missed two greens all day,” Tagert, of Collegeville, Pa., said. “I felt really good about my play.”

  Tagert sketched a 1-under-par 35 on his inward tour. On the uphill par 3, 124-yard 11th hole, he stopped a 9-iron at four feet for a 2. He also birdied the 13th hole (par 4, 362 yards), sending a wedge 85 yards to six feet. Not too shabby, considering Friday marked Tagert’s second tournament of the season. He plans to increase the competitive workload in 2017, however. Tagert, president of Aqua America – Pennsylvania, will retire after 46 years of service.

  Open to current Member Club amateur champions, senior amateur champions and previous winners, the Tournament of Champions began in 1962 in memory of Larry Malmed. The Golf Association of Philadelphia accepted the event in 1984 after Al Porter, the tournament’s coordinator, was forced to retire because of an illness. A Senior Division was added in 1992.

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 153 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.

Championship Flight
Name, club Score
Michael R. Brown, Jr., Philadelphia Publinks GA 70
Ryan Siegler, Old York CC at Chesterfield 71
Benjamin Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 73
James Furness, Reading Country Club 73
Matt Dudas, Indian Valley Country Club 73
Chris Owen, Hartefeld National 74
Robert Bechtold, Fieldstone Golf Club 74
Erik Reisner, The ACE Club 75
Joe Perese, Philmont Country Club 75
Joe Rossi, Squires Golf Club 75
Rich Pruchnik, Coatesville Country Club 75
Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club 75
Frank Natale, Sunnybrook Golf Club 76
J.T. Spina, Spring Ford Country Club 77
Jim Donnelly, Merion Golf Club 77
John Barry, Lancaster Country Club 77
Joseph Dulka, Bellewood Country Club 77
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton 77
Adam Bracy, Rancocas Golf Club 78
David Shields, Flourtown Country Club 78
Jordan Wycoff, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 78
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club 79
Matt Bierer, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 79
Michael Anton, Lookaway Golf Club 79
Michael Walker, Hartefeld National 79
Dave Locher, McCall Golf & Country Club 81
Ryan Fogel, Penn Oaks Golf Club 81
Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia Cricket Club 81
Brendan Clearkin, Jr., Old York Road Country Club 82
Greg O’Connor, Bellewood Country Club 82
Jonathan Radick, Spring Mill Country Club 82
Robert Olseski, Sandy Run Country Club 82
Bob Dickson, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club 83
Mike Korcuba, Medford Village Country Club 83
Matthew Osorio, Merchantville Country Club 84
Brandon Capone, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 85
Bernie McCole, The Bucks Club 86
Frederick Snow, Stonewall 86
J.B. Whaley, Sakima Country Club 86
Dave Long, Honeybrook Golf Club 87
Peter Gaumer, Plymouth Country Club 87
Paul Amess, The Springhaven Club 88
Charles Clark, West Chester Golf & Country Club 90
Michael Mendola, Inniscrone Golf Club 91
Senior Flight
Name, club Score
*Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club 71
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club 71
Kenneth Mangin, Philadelphia Publinks GA 72
Paul Hess, Hartefeld National 74
Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club 75
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club 75
John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club 75
Bryan Marvin, Old York Road Country Club 76
Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club 76
Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club 76
Bob Arthur, Tavistock Country Club 77
Mark Szilagyi, Brookside Country Club 77
Perry Landis, Moselem Springs Golf Club 77
Jon Sobocinski, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club 79
Mark Carrier, Concord Country Club 79
Steve Lyons, Applecross Country Club 79
Guy McKeone, Reading Country Club 80
John LeBoeuf, Merion Golf Club 80
Leonard Pearson, Philmont Country Club 80
Morgan Maxwell, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 81
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club 81
Bill Moyer, Spring Ford Country Club 82
Bruce Gladish, Sandy Run Country Club 82
Richard Holstein, Rolling Green Golf Club 83
Bill Augustyn, West Chester Golf & Country Club 84
Philip Heckler, Wildwood Golf & Country Club 85
Art Caldwell, Sea Oaks Golf Club 86
Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton 86
Daniel Dressel, St. Davids Golf Club 86
J.B. Whaley, Sakima Country Club 86
Michael Doyle, Cedarbrook Country Club 86
Dave Harris, Links Golf Club 87
David Swiderski, Merchantville Country Club 87
Chuck Kraatz, Talamore Country Club 93
Jeffrey Cooper, Meadowlands Country Club 94
Kenneth Daws, McCall Golf & Country Club 103
Gary E. Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club NC
Tom DiCinti, Old York CC at Chesterfield NC
Jim O’Brien, Indian Valley Country Club WD
Super-Senior Flight
Name, club Score
Steve Tagert, Spring Ford Country Club 74
John Turner, The Springhaven Club 77
Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club 78
Alan Brody, Radnor Valley Country Club 80
Joe Ernst, Sea Oaks Golf Club 80
Hal Morris, Talamore Country Club 81
Thomas Girone, Applecross Country Club 82
Richard Ochroch, Meadowlands Country Club 83
Ed Kocher, LedgeRock Golf Club 84
George Maguire, Old York Road Country Club 84
Arthur Herling, Cedarbrook Country Club 86
Cliff Howard, West Chester Golf & Country Club 86
John Owens, Tavistock Country Club 88
Robert Dilks, Merchantville Country Club 89

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