Saucon Valley duo snags Senior 27-Hole Challenge
IVYLAND, Pa. — When they’re not battling against one another on their home turf, clubmates and good friends Gary D. Daniels and Robin McCool combine their powers in hopes of striking tournament gold. The Saucon Valley Country Club members joined forces Wednesday to excavate team treasure in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 5th Senior 27-Hole Challenge Wednesday. They carded a 3-under-par 141 total at a pleasant Spring Mill Country Club (par 72, 6,557 yards) to prevail by a stroke.
“I always enjoy playing with Gary,” McCool, 61, of Bethlehem, Pa., said. “We usually play well together as partners. We came real close to winning this tournament a couple of years ago. It’s gratifying to come out on top against obviously a very good field.”
In 2010, Daniels and McCool lost by a stroke to the team of Francis McFadden of Overbrook Golf Club and Terrence Sawyer of Mercer Oaks Golf Course at Spring Ford Country Club.
“This is a little bit of vindication,” Daniels, 62, of Center Valley, Pa., said. “I enjoy playing with Robin a lot. He’s a great player, and it was a lot of fun today.”
A birdie-birdie opening launched Daniels and McCool into contention immediately. McCool, the 2010 Brewer Cup Champion, hit a 6-iron 160 yards to 12 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 384 yards). Daniels holed a 40-yard wedge shot for a 3 on the par 4, 414-yard No. 2. McCool stopped a wedge at three feet for birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 365 yards) to move the team to 3 under. In the select drive/alternate shot portion, the team converted six consecutive pars before finding its fourth red figure on the par 4, 385-yard 16th hole. McCool knocked a wedge 100 yards to 20 feet, and Daniels handled the rest. The team finished 18 holes bogey-free and bound in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard.
In the aggregate leg, Daniels and McCool ran into their first roadblock on No. 2. Daniels, the 2009 Senior Player of the Year, three-putted to card the team’s first bogey. But the savvy Saucon statesmen rallied by converting respective eight-footers for a pair of 4s on the par 5, 483-yard No. 4. “I thought that was critical for us at that point,” McCool said.
Both Daniels and McCool failed to execute sand saves for par on No. 6 (par 4, 365 yards). Daniels found the fairway bunker with his 3-wood tee shot while McCool caught the front bunker with his approach. On the par 5, 463-yard No. 8, both Daniels and McCool nearly breached the out-of-bounds boundary with their drives. The two recovered nicely, with Daniels knocking his three shot to 12 feet. He then drained a decisive 12-footer for birdie.
Rolling Green Golf Club’s Lawrence Capuzzi, Sr. and Edward Pappas registered a 152-total to take the Super-Senior Division.
“It feels good to win a tournament,” Pappas, 66, of West Chester, Pa., said. “We didn’t expect it. Larry played very well, and I kind of hung in there. We’ve played a lot together and it’s fun. He’s a very good competitor.”
“It was a fun experience and a good time,” Capuzzi, 70, of Broomall, Pa., added. “I’m surprised that we won it. There are a lot of good players in this field.”
A birdie-par finish by Capuzzi in the aggregate portion proved monumental, according to Pappas. The two also pieced together clutch pars during the select drive/alternate shot leg that prevented a potential downfall.
“We were 1 over on that, and you miss a few putts and you could be 3 or 4 over and it gets away from you,” Pappas said.
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: 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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.