Art Brunn used his relaxed attitude and low expectations to win the AGA/GAP Men’s Coal Scuttle Championship by three shots at Wyoming Valley Country Club (par 71, 6, 165 yards) Sunday.
Brunn carded an even-par 72 Saturday at the Country Club of Scranton’s Old Course (par 72, 6,734 yards) and a 3-under-par 68 at Wyoming Valley Sunday to take the event for the third time.
“I had absolutely zero expectations coming in,” said Brunn. “I don’t have to tell anyone what the weather has been like this year. I invited some guys from the Country Club of Scranton to Wyoming Valley for a practice round but it was canceled due to overnight rain. I guess that was a good thing because I had no expectations and played well.”
That victory, while meaningful, wasn’t at the top of the priority list for the now three-time individual champion of the event.
“While the winning the individual title was just the icing on the cake, winning the team championship was more important to us,” said Brunn. “The Coal Scuttle has been going on for so long and it’s always been important to win the event as a team and our club takes it seriously. It’s a big deal up here.”
The Wyoming Valley squad posted a two-day total of 588 to win by five shots over Glenmaura National Golf Club.
Brunn led the charge by starting the final round with two consecutive birdies on Nos. 1 (par 5, 493 yards) and 2 (par 4, 338 yards) after two-putting for birdie on No. 1 and stuffing a pitching wedge from 130 yards to a foot on No. 2.
The Holy Redeemer High School golf coach of 27 years faced adversity on No. 16 after getting it to 5 under in his final round. When he couldn’t find his tee shot in the rough, he had to go back to the tee. He made a double bogey but finished strong with consecutive pars.
“I know both places well,” said Brunn, 52, of Hanover Township, Pa. “I am probably the closest non-member Scranton has because I have been playing in their Member-Guest for over 25 years and I play there about 20 times a year. I grew up on Wyoming Valley. We know every blade of grass up there. Wyoming Valley isn’t a bombers golf course. You have to be precise.”
Brunn’s father, Art Brunn, Sr., won the event individually multiple times and his son said it was cool to learn that he and his father each won the event more than once.
Brunn said that the team portion of the Coal Scuttle is comfortable and familiar to him because it follows the same format as his high school plays. Six total competitors where the Top 5 scores count.
This is now the fourth consecutive team title for Wyoming Valley, with other victories spread out throughout the history of the event.
“I think the tournament’s tradition is why people enjoy playing and competing in it because they grew up with the tournament,” said Brunn. “I wasn’t even going to play because I have kids and it is hard to get away but my teammates said they wanted me to play and could use my help, so I knew I had to be there for the team. Win, lose or draw, we all shake hands and have a good time. It is just a great tournament we get to be a part of.”