McCool Heats Up, Closes with 69 to Win by 3
CLARKS SUMMIT, PA – The 54th edition of the
Pennsylvania Senior Amateur was contested at the impeccable Country Club of
Scranton, on August 5-6. Competitors were
treated to perhaps the finest-conditioned course in the state for two rounds of
stroke play in both the Senior and Super-Senior flights.
In the Senior Division, the round of the day in the first
round belonged to Duke Delcher, of Sandy Run Country Club, who shot a sparkling
3-under par 69. Country Club of Scranton
President (and Club Champion) Mike Vassil was just one back of the lead as he
was joined by senior golf stalwart Paul Schlachter, The Club at Nevillewood,
when each carded 2-under par 70s. Nearly
a dozen players were within reasonable striking distance of the leaders after
the first round, which was seemingly set up for a final round shoot-out.
However, day two would be a different story, as players were
met with more difficult scoring conditions.
With the greens stimping at 13 feet, courtesy of golf course
superintendent Greg Boring, many players had fits with the treacherous putting
surfaces. Par was a great score on any
Robin McCool, from Saucon Valley Country Club, didn’t get
the memo. After a first round 72, just
three shots back in a tie for 4th, McCool was disappointed with what
he felt was a sloppy finish and feared he had shot himself out of contention
with such a strong leader board above him.
With that in mind, he didn’t sleep well, which he said traditionally
makes him play better the next day. McCool
came out firing on all cylinders with a birdie-birdie start on holes 1 (par 4,
379 yards) and 2 (par 4, 374 yards) to quickly get into red figures in the
final round. After an untimely 3-putt on
hole 8 (par 4, 272 yards) he bounced back with a clubhouse birdie on hole 9
(par 4, 329 yards). Turning at 2-under
par for the championship, McCool wasn’t sure where he stood in relation to the
leaders, but knew he needed a strong finish to give himself a chance to
win. Little did he know, the leaders
were struggling behind him.
Following a routine par on the tough 10th hole
(par 4, 391 yards) it was back to the gas pedal as he stuffed approach shots to
two feet on both 11 (par 3, 150 yards) and 12 (par 5, 443), and cleaned up the
birdie putts. Sitting at 4-under par
through 33 holes of the championship, McCool learned he was now leading and
simply needed to par out to secure the win; easier said than done. On hole 15 (par 4, 401 yards) McCool ran his
first putt 8 feet past, but drained the comebacker for a sigh of relief. On 16 (par 4, 424) the tee was moved back a bit
and caused McCool to mis-club and fail to get his drive down the hill on the
long par 4. His long approach missed the
green and he failed to get up and down.
The 17th (par 3, 190) provided more drama. After missing the green hole-high left with a
3-wood, he left his chip shot about 10 feet short of the hole in the
fringe. He elected to putt from there
and found nothing but the bottom of the cup for another huge par save. McCool played safe on the par 5, 502 yard 18th
and made an easy par to lock up his first Senior Amateur Championship.
Sam Lewis accepts the 2nd place trophy from King Knox, Assoc. President
Sam Lewis, Huntsville Golf Club, also closed in style with a
fine round of 1-under par 71 to record an Even par total of 144 to finish alone
in second place. One shot behind in
third place was Delcher, followed by Rick Scott, and
Schlachter, who both shared fourth place at 147.
The Senior Division Team title was won by Saucon Valley
Country Club members Robin McCool, Tom Bartolacci, and Gary D. Daniels.
Scott Orr, of Brookside Country Club, provided a highlight
during the afternoon of Day 1 when he aced the par 3 11th hole from
150 yards, which was his second hole of the day. He shot out of the gates with Birdie -
Hole-in-One. Not a bad start…
Lee Lykens Birdies 2nd Playoff Hole to Defeat
Ross Van Wagenen
It was a battle to the finish in the Super-Senior Division,
as the Old Course at The Country Club of Scranton pulled no punches on Day
2. The 36 holes were not enough to
determine a champion, as Lee Lykens, Totteridge Golf Club, and Ross Van
Wagenen, Windber Country Club, both finished regulation tied at 1-over par
145. The first playoff hole would be
hole 18 (par 5, 459 yards). They reached
the diabolical green with good birdie chances, however, neither could convert
and both settled for tying pars. The
playoff would continue as the competitors moved to Hole 10 (par 4, 386 yards)
where Lee Lykens brushed in a 12-foot birdie putt to secure the win. "That was for my
good friend Tyler Riggin."
The Super-Senior Team title was captured by Totteridge Golf
Club members Lee Lykens and Bill Baloh.
The Senior flight consisted of 94 competitors and the
Super-Senior flight 50 competitors, our biggest field to date for the Senior
Amateur. Next year’s event will be held
at Waynesborough Country Club, in Paoli, Pa.
Special thanks to the members of Country Club of Scranton
for being gracious hosts. High praise is
also deserved for Course Superintendent Greg Boring, Golf Professional Terry
Hurst, and General Manager Jessica Simmons, as well as all of their staff. The Pennsylvania Golf Association will return
to The Country Club of Scranton in 2015 for the 102nd Amateur