Anthony Sebastianelli and Michael Thomas have known each other since they were teenagers.
Their strong relationship and steady golf games resulted in victory in the 18th AGA/GAP George Montgomery Fall Four-Ball Sept. 19 at Elkview Country Club (par 72, 6,575 yards) to win by a shot. The team carded a 4-under-par 68 on Wednesday to finish at the top.
“It means a lot to win this event,” said Sebastianelli, 23, of Clarks Summit, Pa. “I was happy to tee it up with a good friend and play an event near home with guys I have competed with throughout my life. It was special to win at Elkview because my father Gary learned how to play golf there and my grandfather Anthony was a member there. It’s a sentimental place for my family.”
Three of the duo’s four birdies came on par 5s at Elkview. Two of them came as a result of solid up-and-ins by Scranton Municipal Golf Course’s Thomas on Nos. 1 (par 5, 495 yards) and 14 (par 5, 465 yards). The other came as a result of a two-putt birdie on No. 8 (par 5, 512 yards) after Sebastianelli blasted a 2-iron from 235 yards to 40 feet.
Sebastianelli, of Huntsville Golf Club, birdied No. 4 (par 4, 354 yards) after hitting his drive 30 yards short of the green and converting a 10-footer after bumping a sand wedge.
This year has been the best for Sebastianelli with respect to his golf game. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.
“I’ve been able to play myself around the golf course a little better and manage my rounds,” said Sebastianelli. “When I haven’t been playing that well, I have been able to stay in contention in tournaments. It’s been a huge difference for me. My goal this year was to qualify for the U.S. Amateur and I was happy to do it.”
This victory only solidifies the possibility of Thomas, 23, of Scott Township, Pa., and Sebastianelli joining forces once again.
“Michael and I have played golf together since we were in high school,” said Sebastianelli, also a Glen Oak Country Club member. “He works at Glen Oak and since I am a member there we would play until it is pitch dark out. It was finally nice to team up in an event together.”
When the Montgomery Four-Ball was scheduled for Elkview, longtime members Matt Froncek and Mike Heck knew they had to enter.
The duo used course knowledge to claim the Senior title of the championship for the third time with a mix of precise approaches and short birdie putts. Froncek and Heck carded a 3-under-par 69 at Elkview (par 72, 6,151 yards) and prevailed in a scorecard playoff. The USGA-recommended tiebreaking method begins with back-nine scores.
Froncek, 62, of Greenfield Township, Pa., led the charge with four birdies on his own on Nos. 1 (par 5, 477 yards), 8 (par 5, 484 yards), 10 (par 4, 366 yards) and 16 (par 3, 165 yards). Those putts measured a total of 15 feet (two feet, eight feet, two feet and three feet).
Heck, 62, of Jermyn, Pa. added a birdie on No. 17 (par 5, 465 yards) to get the duo to the winning score of 3 under.
Froncek said the highlight of the round came on No. 16 after he stuffed an 8-iron to two feet. The tee was moved up from its usual position approximately 200 yards from the green due to some course conditions.
“I’ve been involved with Elkview for over 40 years and Mike has been a member there for 25 years,” said Froncek. “I’ve known him through the club for a long time. We have paired up in some of these events before. We make a great team.
“We get along really well. Mike has a really good short game, and I am a decent iron player so we really mix well together.”
Froncek said this was the first time he and Heck have played together this year. A pretty good way to rekindle a longtime friendship. Froncek also won the Member-Guest at Elkview with Sebastianelli by eight shots.
“Having a home course advantage at Elkview is huge,” said Froncek. “With the tremendous slope of the greens, course management is vital to the success or failure here.”
Anthracite Golf Association
The Anthracite Golf Association merged with the Golf Association of Philadelphia in 2018. Anthracite, an organization founded in 1951, promotes golf in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. At the height of its growth, Anthracite included 46 Member Clubs in 18 counties.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) 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 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. 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.