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*Amateur Flight Scorecards
*Senior Flight Scorecards
The Springhaven Club's Thon triumphs in Tournament of Champions
CAPE MAY CT. HOUSE, N.J. - Rich Thon of The Springhaven Club will now enter the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Senior Division with a 2009 trophy on his mantle.
The Swarthmore, Pa. resident won the 52nd edition of the Association’s Tournament of Champions at a cool and windy Stone Harbor GC (par 72, 6,638 yards) Friday with a 2-over-par 74. Thon, 54, kept his ball in play and maintained pace with appealing putting surfaces.
“I’ve got to say that the greens here are beautiful,” he said. “I had no anxiety today. You knew that if you hit a putt online, it would go in.”
After carding a bogey on the strenuous, par 5, 532-yard No. 3, Thon recovered with a birdie on the next par 5 (No. 5, 506 yards). His tee shot found the right-side rough, but Thon later drilled a 52-degree wedge 100 yards and converted an uphill 15-footer.
“Just hang on from there,” Thon said. “I thought I would have a chance if I came in at even-par.”
Thon did hang on, as evident by a “miraculous” par on No. 15 (par 4, 386 yards). His approach 8-iron left him with a tricky lie in the left greenside bunker. With one leg in and one leg out, Thon chipped up to a few feet and saved par.
Thon registered back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 16 (par 5, 500 yards) and 17 (par 3, 155 yards). On the latter, he hooked his 6-iron tee shot into the rough and failed to save par. In the end, though, both hiccups didn’t prove costly.
Ultimately, Thon felt humbled by his achievement Friday.
“This is a highlight for me,” he said.
Thomas DiCinti of Links GC topped the Senior flight with a 2-over-par 74. The Voorhees, N.J. resident carded five birdies and seven bogeys.
“It was an up-and-down round,” he said. “I hit the ball pretty well, for the most part. My tee shots were in good shape. My approaches to the green were great.”
From 115 yards out on No. 2 (par 4, 364 yards), DiCinti, 60, stuck a GAP wedge to three feet. On the next hole, the par 5, 500-yard No.3, he three-putted from 20 feet above the flagstick for a bogey.
On the next par 5 (No. 5, 480 yards), though, DiCinti reached the green in two strokes thanks to a 225-yard 3-wood that pushed through the wind. He then two-putted for birdie. DiCinti fired another birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 369 yards) after knocking his 8-iron 150 yards into the wind from a signature island fairway to five feet below the flagstick.
On No. 11 (par 5, 470 yards), DiCinti smashed a 5-iron from 170 yards out to 40 feet and two-putted for birdie. He encountered trouble on the following hole, the par 3, 154-yard No. 13. DiCinti’s 8-iron landed in the water and he went on to double bogey. But DiCinti hopped back aboard the birdie train on No. 14 (par 4, 420 yards) after drilling a 56-degree wedge 80 yards into the wind to a few feet.
DiCinti, who captured this year’s Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play alongside partner Robert Lodovici of Little Mill CC, considered the wind to be his toughest challenge throughout the day.
“That’s the hardest thing mentally,” he said. “You always think that you have to hit it hard.”
Open to current Member Club amateur champions, senior amateur champions and previous winners, the Tournament of Champions was initiated in 1962 in memory of Larry Malmed. The Association then accepted the event in 1984 after Al Porter, the tournament’s coordinator, was forced to retire due to illness. The Association also added a senior division in 1992.