Jarmas Rallies to Win Open Title
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - After nine holes of Wednesday's final round of the 101st Pennsylvania Open at Gulph Mills Golf Club, Greg Jarmas trailed J.D. Dornes by two shots. But Jarmas rallied with a trio of back nine birdies, including a pair of two-shot swings over Dornes, to finish at 16-under par and win the championship, which was presented by LECOM. For his efforts, Jarmas claimed the $8000 first place prize. The winning score of 197 set a record as the lowest winning total at the event since it moved to 54 holes in 1997.
"I was so happy to win this event," Jarmas said. "I've said it all week but it's been on my calendar all year and I was really excited to come here. And to win at a course like Gulph Mills, it just makes me love this place even more."
Dornes began the morning with a one-shot advantage but the leaderboard fluctuated throughout the day. Jarmas began the round with a birdie after hitting his 8-iron approach shot to 10 feet and made the birdie putt to get into a tie for the lead. The two were neck and neck for the next five holes but then Dornes caught fire, making eagle on No. 7 and birdies on No. 8 and No. 9.
"I didn't have a great start but I finished that front nine very well," Dornes said. "I was feeling pretty good at that point but I knew there was a lot of golf left."
When the group made the turn, Dornes was 15-under par while Jarmas was two strokes back, and Beau Titsworth and David Denlinger, playing one group ahead of them, were both 12-under par.
"I didn't press or anything," Jarmas said. "I knew I was still in it."
Dornes then made another birdie on No. 12 to extend his lead over Jarmas to three shots. But the former Princeton University golfer was able to stay in contention despite hitting his tee shot on the par-5 12th into the water. He hit an excellent shot from 205 yards on his drop to about 15 feet, where he made a clutch par save.
"That was a big moment, with J.D. coming off birdie there, to save that par," Jarmas said.
The first of the two-shot swings on the back nine came on the 13th, where Jarmas hit 7-iron to five feet. After he saw Dornes miss a par putt, Jarmas sank the putt to get to within a stroke of the lead.
On the 15th hole, Jarmas moved ahead for good. Dornes hit his approach over the green on the 394-yard par 4. Meanwhile, Jarmas smacked an 8-iron from 156 yards to a good position on the back left side of the green. After Jarmas failed to convert the par, Jarmas rolled in a left to right foot birdie, moving ahead by a stroke.
With the lead, Jarmas finally saw the time to be a little conservative after 51 holes of nothing of the sort. As he approached the par-4 16th, Jarmas remembered the first two rounds, where he bogeyed the hole each day. With that in mind, he pulled out 3-wood and hit his tee shot safely in the fairway.
"If I'm trailing, maybe I pull out driver there," Jarmas said. "But I felt like that was the right play."
Both players made par there, and with two holes remaining, Jarmas (-15) had a two-shot lead on Dornes and Titsworth. Knowing that he needed to make up ground, Titsworth sank a birdie on the par-3 17th to get to 14-under par and keep the pressure on Jarmas.
"I figured I had to make birdie every hole coming in," said Titsworth, who was able to do just that on the 17th.
After Jarmas and Dornes both made pars on 17, the action and attention on the classic Donald Ross design moved to the par-5 18th hole.
Needing a birdie to get to 15-under and tie for the lead, Titsworth hit his tee shot left and had to pitch out. His third shot was a little long, and his birdie just from just off the green didn't go in. Titsworth made his par putt, but he came up short at 14-under par.
"I played about as well as I could," said Titsworth, who shot 66 on Wednesday. "I was 12-under par in the past two days, so I'd be getting really nitpicky if I complained about that."
As they stepped up to the 18th, Dornes needed an eagle to have a chance as he was down two shots. Jarmas found the left rough off the tee, but was able to get on the green in two, albeit with a really long look at eagle. Dornes, meanwhile, hit his second shot about 20 feet away. Jarmas lagged his eagle putt to a few feet away from the hole. Dornes then putted for eagle, but failed to convert, giving Jarmas two tries to win the title. He sank the first one from three feet, giving him the championship with the record-setting total.
"I played a practice round with Cole Willcox on Sunday, and I told him that I thought 6-under par would be a great score here after three days," Jarmas said. "I guess I was wrong."
Jarmas cited a recent session with Chris O'Connell, teaching professional at Friars Head Golf Club on Long Island, with assisting him for the event.
"I worked with him for the first time two weeks ago," Jarmas said of O'Connell, who also works with PGA Tour player Matt Kuchar, among others. "We worked on my release and it definitely helped me out."
Carey Bina and Ryan Rucinski tied for low amateur honors, as each finished at 6-under par for the championship. Jarmas, Titsworth, Dornes and fourth place finisher David Denlinger (-13) all finished at 200 or below for the 54 holes, topping the previous best score, which was set by Robert Rohanna at Applebrook Golf Club with a score of 201 in the 2010 championship.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Gulph Mills Golf Club for their support and hospitality during the event.