Thomas Bartolacci, Jr.: Senior Player of the Year - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Nov 25, 2008

Thomas Bartolacci, Jr.: Senior Player of the Year

  The 2008 season was one that saw a plethora of seniors play outstanding golf. But Tom Bartolacci, Jr.’s performance stood out above them all.

  The Saucon Valley CC veteran won the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Senior Amateur Championship and recorded several other top-tier finishes before qualifying for match play at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship and finishing third in the Senior Silver Cross Award standings.

  He was rewarded for his performances with the Senior Player of the Year Award. The 57-year-old Bartolacci finished the year with 505 points. U.S. Senior Amateur Champion George “Buddy” Marucci, Jr., was second with 450.

  “I feel very good about winning it,” Bartolacci said, “and very fortunate to do so. The bar on any level off golf in the Philadelphia area is very high. There were an awful lot of fine seniors who played well throughout the year and could have come out on top, guys like Don Donatoni (from White Manor CC), the Thompsons (Andy and Ray of Overbrook GC), Frank McFadden at Overbrook GC and Gordon Brewer (of Pine Valley GC). They all should have been players of the year.”

  Bartolacci got his season off to a fast start in May, when he tied for fifth in the Francis B. Warner Cup Gross at Whitford CC.

  In early July he qualified for match play of the Brewer Cup at Huntingdon Valley CC and finished off the month with a tie for 16th at the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup at North Hills CC in one of the most competitive events of the year; a total of 22 players finished within six shots of the lead.

  The day after Labor Day, Bartolacci arrived at The Springhaven Club for the start of the Senior Amateur Championship. He opened with a 71 that left him tied for second place, two shots behind leader Tom DiCinti of Links GC.

  The following day, Bartolacci found himself two shots off the pace with three holes to play but burst out of a pack of contenders by draining an eight-foot birdie try at No. 16 and playing the last three holes in even par.

  His second consecutive 71 put him at 2-over par 142 for the 36 holes, one shot in front of five players tied at 3 over.

  “It’ a personal accomplishment and I feel very satisfied,” Bartolacci said at the time. “It’s not easy for players like myself to win in Philadelphia because there are so many great amateurs. Historically, there have always been guys who are a cut above, and that set the bar so high.”

  Like many of his fellow seniors, Bartolacci is at a point in his business career that gives him more time to focus on golf.

  “If you look at it, I’m probably playing more now than I ever have,” he said. “The maturity factor maybe makes the field a bit more equal. Age sometimes is a leveling factor. Maybe it just takes some of us longer to learn how to play. I’m a smarter player than I was.”

  Following his win at the Senior Amateur, Bartolacci headed to Fort Worth, Texas and Shady Oaks CC, to play in his second U.S. Senior Amateur. The Washington Crossing resident shot 73-79 for a 152 total to qualify for match play with a shot to spare. He lost to Shady Oaks CC member John Grace 6&5 in the first round.

  In a previous Senior Amateur appearance in 2007, Bartolacci defeated 2001 champion Kemp Richardson in the first round of match play before being eliminated by Sam Farlow, who eventually made it to the championship match. He’s enjoyed having the opportunity to test his game against the best players in the country.

  “You really get to see how your game matches up,” he said. “To watch them play is a learning experience. I got to qualify with Mike Rice and Mike Bell this year, both of them former champions (from 2005 and ’06, respectively). As long as I can continue to be competitive and continue to learn, who knows?”

  Whatever success he may have at the national level, Bartolacci is a Philadelphia golfer at heart. It is here where he feels at home.

  “[The golfers in Philadelphia] are really great guys to play with,” he said. “We’re all friends. It’s nice to see everybody do well.”

Share This: