Pine Valley’s Brewer outlasts White Manor’s Donatoni for Super title
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.–O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., at age 77, continues to dazzle.
Brewer, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Famer, added a third Senior Amateur Championship Super-Senior trophy to his trove of treasures on Wednesday. Brewer carded an even-par 70 in Round 2 at Philmont Country Club’s North Course (6,078 yards) to finish at 4-over total for the 36 holes. Don Donatoni of White Manor Country Club, the defending champion and a first-round co-leader, placed second at 5 over.
“It’s very special. As we get older I think we get a little more emotional and realize life doesn’t go on forever,” said Brewer, who also captured Super-Senior titles in 2008 and 2012. “I’ll be 78 in December. Still being able to play competitive golf and enjoy competitive golf, the good Lord has blessed me.”
Though Donatoni failed to defend his title, all was not lost for the 66-year-old Malvern, Pa. resident. Donatoni’s strong showing enabled him to retain the Super-Senior Player of the Year and the Super-Senior Silver Cross Award. Both are reflective of season-long stability.
“I wanted to validate what I did last year [by winning another Super-Senior Player of the Year]. It’s a tremendous satisfaction,” said Donatoni. “This is my third Silver Cross (one Senior, two Super Senior), and to me, it’s a reflection of my consistency and play and to do that two years in a row, I’m very proud of that. It means you played well at all the Majors. It means you buckled down when you had to, you made the shots when you had to and you made the crucial putts. If there is any consolation on today, [it’s that].”
Brewer announced his intentions early on Day 2 with an electric 3-under-par front side to move from a tie for third to the top of the leaderboard. The greens were receptive after an overnight rain, but remained ultra-slick when rolling the ball on the surface.
Brewer dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 2 (par 4, 380 yards) after reaching the green with a 7-iron from 150 yards; on No. 6 (par 4, 349 yards) he lifted a 9-iron from 130 yards on a downhill lie to three feet and drained a 15-footer for 2 on the par 3, 8th (127 yards) after finding the green with a 9-iron.
Donatoni, and other first-round leader Carl Everett of Merion Golf Club, playing together in the group behind Brewer, remained in the thick of the race.
Everett birdied No. 9 to make the turn in 1-under, his lone non-par figure, and 2-over overall, while Donatoni posted a nine-hole score of even-par 35.
Everett, however, hampered his chances with a double bogey on No. 10 (par 4, 310 yards) after his ball landed in a fairway divot and an ensuing three putt. Donatoni hindered his advances both early and late in his round with double bogeys on No. 5 (par 4, 402 yards) and No. 14 (par 4, 426 yards). On both of those holes, ironically, Brewer missed the green but carded sensational up-and-down par saves. He dropped a flop shot from 65 yards on No. 5 to three feet and made an eight-foot par putt on No. 14 after coming up 60 yards short of the putting surface. Statistically, No. 14 was the hardest hole of the tournament for the Super Seniors, playing to a 5.244 stroke average.
Brewer birdied No. 15 (par 4, 353 yards) with a three-quarter gap wedge from 92 yards to 10 feet to open a seemingly insurmountable three-shot advantage. However, a demanding Philmont remained resolute, biting Brewer with three bogeys on his three closing holes. Meanwhile Donatoni continued to register pars.
Brewer avoided a disastrous 16th (par 4, 430 yards) with an unbelievable bogey after flying his approach long and right. He mishit his third and putting his fourth up-and-over the slope from 20 yards to a few feet. He then missed the green on No. 17 (par 3, 160 yards) to further Donatoni’s hope.
On the closing hole, Brewer found fairway and green but three putted from 30 feet to drop back to 4 over for the tournament. Donatoni, meanwhile, saw his 18th hole tee ball kick hard off a root on the left side of the fairway and careen into the adjacent No. 10 fairway. Stumped behind the trees, Donatoni eventually faced a 15-yard pitch shot for his fourth. Needing to hole that, the ball stopped three feet short of the cup.
“On the ride over in the morning I convinced myself I was going to hit 3-wood off the tee,” said Donatoni, who doubled that hole yesterday hitting driver. “I pulled it just a little bit but I thought with the slope of the ground it would kick back into the fairway. When I got up there, Kirby [Martin, the GAP Director of Competitions] told me it hit a root on the fly and kicked dead left through the trees into the adjacent fairway. I had absolutely nothing. I’m either chipping it out, trying to make a good up-and-down from 140 yards or I’m trying a hero shot to see if I could get it through the trees and in front of the green. There was just too much to go through. In retrospect, I probably should have laid up.”
Brewer’s triumph adds another chapter to the Hall of Famer’s resolute résumé.
“You never count yourself out,” said Brewer, of Pine Valley, N.J. when asked about his mindset coming into the final round. “I understand I had to do what I did, which is play a really good round of golf to be competitive.”
Golf Association of Philadelphia