| *Event photos|
Donatoni, Everett nab inaugural Senior 27-Hole Challenge
CONCORDVILLE, Pa. â€“ Don Donatoni of White Manor CC and Carl Everett of Merion GC rode a spectacular start and held on late to take the inaugural running of the Senior 27-Hole Challenge at Concord CC Monday with an even-par score of 142.
"Itâ€™s always nice to win, especially with the senior fields that we have in the Golf Association of Philadelphia," Donatoni said. "And to be crowned the first champions of this event means we will always have our names first in line, even years from now."
"This is a special win for us being that itâ€™s a GAP event and that itâ€™s the inaugural 27-Hole Challenge," Everett said. "I hope this event really catches on in the future."
The veteran pair managed to card six birdies in the four-ball stroke play portion of the event to take a two-stroke lead on the field heading into the aggregate segment. And although they finished 3-over par in that span, Donatoni and Everett still managed to hold onto the lead heading into the final stretch.
"We stared out great and just kind of held it together," Everett said.
Added his partner Donatoni, "It was important for us to get off to a good start in our morning round and the six birdies between us gave us a nice cushion going into the aggregate round."
Although a par, birdie start in the selective drive - alternate shot round made it look as if the duo would cruise on to an easy victory, some costly final-round mistakes almost derailed their shot at the crown.
After registering a double-bogey on the par 4, 3rd hole (334 yards) Donatoni and Everett made four consecutive pars before sending in a crucial birdie on the par 3, 8th hole (175 yards) to stop the their slide.
Everett struck a smooth 6-iron to 12 feet past the hole where Donatoni then snuck in the left-to-right slider for a 2.
"I thought that was the key for us," Donatoni said of the birdie. "I thought that we need that birdie for us to win the tournament."
"We didnâ€™t know where we stood at the time so it was big to make that [birdie]," Everett said.
But on final hole of the day, the pair gave it right back and made what seemed like a deal-breaking double bogey.
"Since we didnâ€™t know where we stood we thought that was it," said Donatoni, who was playing alongside Eugene Maginnis, Jr., of Whitemarsh Valley CC and John Gonsior Five Ponds GC who finished one stoke back with a 1-over-par 143. "We thought we had blown it but obviously we didnâ€™t."
In the Super Senior division, Richard Smith of Philadelphia CC and Charles McClaskey of Wyncote GC blitzed the field by seven strokes to the tune of a 3-over-par 145 to take the division.
The inaugural Senior 27-Hole Challenge replaced the Senior Net Championship on the tournament schedule. An event for players 55 years of age and older, the Senior 27-Hole Challenge is a gross event consisting of three nine-hole stipulated rounds in three different formats: four-ball stoke play, aggregate and selective drive - alternate shot. The tournament is open to seniors with a USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower. Super-Seniors must have a USGA Handicap Index of 12.0 or less.
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.