Brookside's Custer, Lookaway's Majczan take Senior 27-Hole Challenge
WAYNE, Pa. — The team of Richard Custer of Brookside CC and Bob Majczan of Lookaway GC upended defending champions Francis McFadden of Overbrook GC and Terrence Sawyer of Mercer Oaks GC in a playoff to take Monday’s Senior 27-Hole Challenge at St. Davids GC (par 70, 6,290 yards).
“It feels great,” Majczan, 59, of Furlong, Pa., said. “It’s my first opportunity to win a GAP event. Take a look at the [U.S.] Senior Amateur and look at all the success that the GAP guys are having. It’s tough competition here, so it feels great to win.”
Both squads endured the 27-hole test with 2-over-par 142s to the vest, prompting a sudden-death scenario featuring a select drive/alternate shot format. Custer and McFadden both launched their drives into the center of the No. 1 (par 4, 383 yards) fairway. Majczan played his shot first and drilled a 6-iron 155 yards to nine feet flagstick-high right. Sawyer chopped an 8-iron from 143 yards into a row of shrubs bordering a boundary fence. McFadden returned to the original location following a short search for Sawyer’s golf ball, which was determined to be lost. McFadden’s approach caught the left greenside bunker. Sawyer splashed out to 12 feet. Custer then made it official by draining a right-to-left curler for birdie.
“I’m sorry they had the pitfalls they did on the first hole,” Custer said. “I would have rather won outright.”
In regulation, the Custer and Majczan team crafted a comfortable cushion early and exerted damage control late to post a contending number.
“We play a lot of golf together, and we’ve played in this kind of format together before,” Custer said. “I hit it short but I hit it in the fairway. He’s a bomber. I let him go for it.”
“We don’t let too many things bother us,” Majczan said. “I had a bad patch on the last nine holes, but I got back on the horse.”
The team opened with two birdies and a bogey in the better-ball portion of the event. On No. 4 (par 4, 355 yards), Custer canned a 15-footer for birdie following a smooth 150-yard 7-iron shot. The duo weathered a slight stumble on No. 7 (par 4, 417 yards). Custer couldn’t muster his approach onto the green while Majczan flew the putting surface with a 6-iron from 155 yards. On the uphill No. 8 (par 5, 490 yards), Custer drilled a gap wedge 85 yards to six feet below the hole and rolled in the birdie putt.
With a 1 under on the scorecard thru nine, the Custer and Majczan team turned up the volume in the select drive/alternate shot format. Custer drilled a 7-iron 150 yards to four feet on No. 13 (par 4, 384 yards), and Majczan cleaned up the birdie putt. Majczan returned the red figure favor by sticking a 6-iron to four feet on No. 17 (par 3, 154 yards).
Custer’s 9-wood tee shot on No. 9 settled 20 yards shy of the green. His ensuing chip made impact just past the fringe and tracked into the jar for a jovial 2.
“I was just trying to get it close,” Custer said. “I chipped great all day. It was dead center. It never left the flag.”
Custer and Majczan have known each other for five years. The last time the two paired up to compete in a tournament was 2008. Custer and Majczan joined forces to tackle a Winter Series event at Jericho National. They won.
“So we said let’s get it together again and give it a shot,” Majczan said.
A slow start in regulation threatened the McFadden and Sawyer squad’s repeat dreams. McFadden dumped his approach into the right bunker on No. 2 (par 4, 436 yards) and failed to get up-and-down. A Sawyer three-putt thrust the duo into a 2 over setting after two holes. Bunker and tree trouble on No. 7 (par 4, 417 yards) resulted in a bogey and complicated the quest.
At the snap of a finger, the defending champions showed their championship grit.
McFadden, 61, of Newtown Square, Pa., whacked a wedge to eight feet on the downhill par 5, 526-yard 11th hole, and Sawyer executed the birdie putt. McFadden again left Sawyer with a shiny eight-footer on No. 16 (par 5, 492 yards) after a fantastic 40-yard approach. Sawyer, 63, of Yardley, Pa., stuffed a sand wedge 73 yards to three feet on No. 18 (par 4, 382 yards). McFadden converted the kick-in birdie.
The McFadden and Sawyer squad maintained its torrid pace in the aggregate leg of the event. Consecutive birdies on Nos. 1 (par 4, 383 yards) and 2 (par 4, 436 yards) moved the duo into red figures. McFadden sent a wedge 115 yards to 12 feet on the first, and a 9-iron 142 yards to 20 feet on the latter. Sawyer drilled a 9-iron 137 yards to 20 feet on No. 4 (par 4, 355 yards) for birdie. Both McFadden and Sawyer bogeyed No. 5 (par 4, 386 yards), but McFadden recovered that stroke by sinking an eight-footer for birdie on No. 6 (par 3, 147 yards). A collective slip-up on No. 7 put the McFadden and Sawyer squad at 1 over with two holes to play. Sawyer missed a 10-footer to save par on No. 9 (par 3, 218 yards) after coming up short of the green.
Pine Valley GC’s O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. and Robert Housen successfully defended their Super Senior Division title. The team carded a 2-over-par 142 to post a six-stroke victory.
“He played the last nine holes wonderfully,” Housen, 73, of Brielle, N.J., added. “He shot a 34 on the last nine. That’s incredible.”
The Brewer and Housen team posted three birdies against a bogey in the better-ball portion. The duo's highlight of the day came in the select drive/alternate shot format. Brewer nearly aced the par 3, 153-yard 14th hole with a 7-iron. Housen handled the four-footer for birdie.
“It was interesting because I made my first hole-in-one there in the mid 1960s,” Brewer said.
“The first hole-in-one he ever made and he goes up there and hits the flag,” Housen added.
The Senior 27-Hole Challenge replaced the Senior Net Championship on the tournament schedule in 2008. 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: better-ball of partners, selective drive — alternate shot and aggregate. 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.