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McClaskey’s final-hole birdie clinches 2, almost 3, Super-Senior titles

  PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa.–Charles McClaskey of Back Creek GC hauled in the Super-Senior version of a King’s Ransom on Wednesday at a challenging and windy Sunnybrook GC (par 72, 6,141 yards). Battling a gusty back-nine breeze and treacherous putting surfaces, the 71-year-old former elevator constructor carded a final-round 73 to win the Senior Amateur Championship Super-Senior title by two strokes over division rookie James Robertson of Saucon Valley CC. In doing so, McClaskey also clinched the Super-Senior Silver Cross and, barring an unlikely long and sustained run at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship by any his rivals, the Super-Senior Player of the Year Award.

  McClaskey stamped all three feats with one dramatic 20-foot downhill birdie on the final hole.

Charles McClaskey watches his final dramatic birdie
putt on No. 18 (par 4, 355 yards) track toward the hole.
  “The goal was to see if I could win the Silver Cross and the Amateur at the same time. That’s exactly what I was trying to do,” said the Elkton, Md. resident. “I played solid golf both days. I don’t know how to explain it other than I did what I was trying to do. You don’t win very often no matter how good you play. It’s very satisfying.”

  McClaskey, who finished the two days with a 147 total, forged through Wednesday’s difficult conditions with great precision, hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation. On No. 18 (par 4, 344 yards), after watching eight consecutive birdie bids slip away, McClaskey asked an official on the green for his placing as it pertained to both the event and Super-Senior Silver Cross standings, before rolling in his one and only second-round birdie.

  The putt added a bit of fluff to his final Senior Amateur Championship victory margin, but just as important, gave McClaskey a one-shot edge over longtime buddy O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. of Pine Valley GC for the Super-Senior Silver Cross.

  “He’s gotten me a couple of times and it’s satisfying for me to get him,” said a gracious McClaskey. “That was the longest putt I had on the back nine. I wanted to make it without drilling it by. I knew I hit a good putt going down there. I really wanted to make that putt, of course, I wanted to make all the rest, too, but they didn’t go in. It was almost dead center. That was my first one-putt of the day.”

James Robertson of Saucon Valley CC (left)
receives a hug from close friend Tom Bartolacci, Jr.
after completing his final round.
  McClaskey’s round mirrored his scorecard’s par line. He matched 15 numbers, had two bogeys and that birdie. He three putted No. 2 (par 4, 394 yards) and failed to get up-and-down on No. 4 (par 4, 362 yards) after missing the green with his approach for those two above-par scores.

  A myriad of contenders made a run at McClaskey throughout the morning. However, in the end, his closest foe was Robertson. Playing in only his second Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior competition, the 66-year-old resident of Bethlehem, Pa. almost provided himself with the ultimate birthday present. He turned a year older today.

  Robertson settled his nerves with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 341 yards) but bogeyed the front side’s two par 5s, No. 3 (par 5, 489 yards) and No. 7 (par 5, 489 yards), to make the turn in 1-over-par 37. At that point, McClaskey held a one-shot advantage.

  “I knew I had to make some birdies [coming in],” said Robertson. “I played with Charlie and Gordon at the Chapman [Cup (Gross)]. I knew Charlie wasn’t going to give it to me, so at that point I had to go out and get it.”

  Robertson opened his final push with a birdie on No. 10 (par 5, 510 yards) but seemingly every time he gained some momentum with an under-par figure, a bogey or worse reared its ugly head. Case and point, a double bogey on No. 11 (par 4, 386 yards) after a poor chip and three-putt countered his good work on the hole prior. Robertson continued to grind, however, and responded with a birdie on No. 13 (par 4, 374 yards) with a 6-iron from 155 yards to four feet. He posted another bogey-birdie combination on No. 15 (part 3, 159 yards) and No. 16 (par 5, 504 yards), before facing a 25-foot putt from just off the front of the No. 18 green for the tie.

  His effort stopped a foot short and dead in the heart.

  “At that point I knew I had to get another birdie,” said Robertson, a long standing Saucon Valley CC member. “[Close friend] Tom Bartolacci convinced me I should be playing [in Golf Association of Philadelphia events]. He can be difficult [wink, wink] at times if you don’t listen to him.”

  NOTES-The Super-Senior Silver Cross is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the Warner Cup (Gross), Chapman Cup (Gross) and Senior Amateur Championship rounds.

Name, club

Rd. 1

Rd. 2

Total

Charles McClaskey, Back Creek Golf Club

74

73

147

James Robertson, Saucon Valley Country Club

76

73

149

Michael Civitello, Chester Valley Golf Club

76

75

151

David Jordan, Sakima Country Club

79

73

152

O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., Pine Valley Golf Club

76

77

153

Charles McDowell, Wilmington Country Club

80

75

155

Ken Gaskill, Rancocas Golf Club

79

76

155

Terry Fair, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

75

81

156

Jarrett Kling, Merion Golf Club

80

77

157

Jay Kocher, Loch Nairn Golf Club

77

80

157

Herbert Gordon, Doylestown Country Club

78

80

158

John Owens, Tavistock Country Club

79

79

158

W. Scott Yard, Whitford Country Club

78

80

158

Curt Fromal, The Springhaven Club

82

77

159

Jay Howson, Jr., St. Davids Golf Club

78

82

160

Richard Smith, Philadelphia Country Club

81

79

160

Art Brosius, DuPont Country Club

77

85

162

Thomas O'Rourke, Chester Valley Golf Club

84

78

162

James Barron, Hartefeld National

79

85

164

James Sherratt, Old York Road Country Club

86

79

165

Michael McNichol, The Springhaven Club

80

86

166

Bill Weinfeld, JC Melrose Country Club

85

82

167

Warren Deakins, Philadelphia Country Club

82

85

167

Joseph Virdone, Philadelphia Country Club

90

78

168

Thomas Morgan, Riverton Country Club

78

90

168

Louis Pace, Medford Village Country Club

80

89

169

Raymond Fuller, Running Deer Golf Club

81

88

169

Jim Lloyd, Running Deer Golf Club

85

85

170

Frank Kunze, Spring Ford Country Club

90

81

171

Robert Agran, Reading Country Club

88

84

172

Bill Smith, Sandy Run Country Club

88

86

174

Clay von Seldeneck, Sunnybrook Golf Club

88

86

174

Joseph Milutis, Northampton Country Club

86

88

174

James Hilty, Talamore Country Club

85

91

176

Mark McDermott, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

86

90

176

Thomas Daymont, Blue Bell Country Club

86

90

176

John Clough, Philadelphia Cricket Club

89

88

177

John Ayres, Woodcrest Country Club

92

87

179

John Evans, Moorestown Field Club

90

89

179

Richard Genoni, Waynesborough Country Club

92

88

180

Lawrence Capuzzi, Sr., Rolling Green Golf Club

92

89

181

Peter Stanley, Sunnybrook Golf Club

95

88

183

James Callaghan, Rolling Green Golf Club

95

89

184

Joseph Maxwell, Hartefeld National

83

WD

WD

Paul Franks, Wedgwood Country Club

82

DQ

DQ

DQ-disqualification; WD-withdrawal

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