Brookside's Custer, Lookaway's Majczan take Senior 27-Hole Challenge
WAYNE, Pa. â€” 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 Mondayâ€™s Senior 27-Hole Challenge at St. Davids GC (par 70, 6,290 yards).
â€śIt feels great,â€ť Majczan, 59, of Furlong, Pa., said. â€śItâ€™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. Itâ€™s tough competition here, so it feels great to win.â€ť
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 Sawyerâ€™s golf ball, which was determined to be lost. McFaddenâ€™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.
â€śIâ€™m sorry they had the pitfalls they did on the first hole,â€ť Custer said. â€śI would have rather won outright.â€ť
In regulation, the Custer and Majczan team crafted a comfortable cushion early and exerted damage control late to post a contending number.
â€śWe play a lot of golf together, and weâ€™ve played in this kind of format together before,â€ť Custer said. â€śI hit it short but I hit it in the fairway. Heâ€™s a bomber. I let him go for it.â€ť
â€śWe donâ€™t let too many things bother us,â€ť Majczan said. â€śI had a bad patch on the last nine holes, but I got back on the horse.â€ť
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 couldnâ€™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).
Custerâ€™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.
â€śI was just trying to get it close,â€ť Custer said. â€śI chipped great all day. It was dead center. It never left the flag.â€ť
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.
â€śSo we said letâ€™s get it together again and give it a shot,â€ť Majczan said.
A slow start in regulation threatened the McFadden and Sawyer squadâ€™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 GCâ€™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.
â€śHe played the last nine holes wonderfully,â€ť Housen, 73, of Brielle, N.J., added. â€śHe shot a 34 on the last nine. Thatâ€™s incredible.â€ť
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.
â€śIt was interesting because I made my first hole-in-one there in the mid 1960s,â€ť Brewer said.
â€śThe first hole-in-one he ever made and he goes up there and hits the flag,â€ť 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 â€” 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.