During their high school years, Art Brunn and Eric Plisko snuck onto Wyoming Valley Country Club, honing their golf skills while hiding from any possible ejectors.
The now Wyoming Valley members, coincidentally, snuck into the AGA/GAP 10th Spring Stroke Play winner’s circle June 14 at a gusty Glenmaura National Golf Club. Mother Nature didn’t make matters easy on Brunn, Plisko or the rest of the 83-player field.
“The wind conditions were brutal. It was a steady 15-20 (mph) all day long,” Brunn, 51, Hanover Township, Pa., said. “I tried to keep the ball below the hole. Glenmaura is such a hard course that if you miss it left or right, it’s very punishing. It made it hard for everybody, and the scores showed it.”
“The wind was swirling most of the day. Watching the guys at the U.S. Open, it felt like we were playing in those conditions,” Plisko, 31, of Sugar Notch, Pa., said. “I hit the ball really well and took advantage of some good drives.”
Both Brunn and Plisko carded even-par 71s to capture the event’s Senior and Open Divisions, respectively.
A birdie on the par 4, 318-yard 18th hole allowed Brunn to bump clubhouse leader Michael Vassil of the Country Club of Scranton. Brunn validated a textbook drive by knocking a sand wedge 75 yards to a foot.
A longtime Anthracite competitor, Brunn noticed a fair share of new faces at Glenmaura. Such introductions made a winning effort even more rewarding.
“We’re getting more and more Philly guys to come up and play in these tournaments. I played with Mark Czerniakowski [of Lu Lu Country Club]. We had a great time,” Brunn, a sales rep for Circle Bolt & Nut Company, said. “That gap between the Anthracite Golf Association and the Golf Association of Philadelphia isn’t there anymore.”
Plisko, who won the Open Division in the AGA/GAP Modified Stableford Tournament alongside clubmate Thomas Biscotti earlier this year, started bogey-bogey before righting the ship for good. He came up short of the No. 1 (par 5, 557 yards) green with a 6-iron from 170 yards and failed to get up-and-down. The par 3, 177-yard No. 2 told an identical “short of the green” tale.
“I was like, ‘Here we go. This is going to be a long day,’” Plisko, an accountant, said. “I made a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 3 so that kind of got me going. I felt better about the rest of the round.”
Like Brunn, Plisko secured a one-stroke triumph with a late birdie: an uphill 20-footer on No. 17 (par 4, 337 yards).
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.