Huntingdon Valley duo captures Deeg Sezna Four-Ball
DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. â€” Tournament victories arenâ€™t foreign to Huntingdon Valley Country Clubâ€™s Andrew Mason. The reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year recently captured the GAP Open Championship and Pennsylvania Golf Associationâ€™s Amateur Championship, making it two years and counting. On Monday, he added another win to his burgeoning treasure chest, but this one shines a bit differently than the rest.
Mason joined clubmate Conor McGrath to take the Deeg Sezna Four-Ball at Applecross Country Club (par 72, 6,301 yards). The two carded a 4-under-par 68 to edge Christopher Crawford of Spring Mill Country Club and Bill Henaghan of Pilgrimâ€™s Oak Golf Course by a stroke.
â€śItâ€™s really awesome,â€ť McGrath, 12, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said. â€śThis is the first GAP tournament that Iâ€™ve won. I couldnâ€™t have done it without Andrew. He helped me a lot. It was an honor to play with him.â€ť
â€śI couldnâ€™t have played with two better young kids, the McGraths [Connor and his brother Liam] and obviously a great pal Will [Weihenmayer, Jr., who played in the same group],â€ť Mason, 23, said. â€śWe just had a blast out there. Connor and Liam both played great.â€ť
The Deeg Sezna Four-Ball is a salute to mentors. In that vein, Weihenmayer helps both Connor and Liam with golf tournament participation. He offered to sign both boys up for Tuesdayâ€™s event and asked Mason to enlist as well. The Huntingdon Valley, Pa. resident happily obliged.
â€śConnorâ€™s great. He plays the game a lot better than I did at that age,â€ť Mason said. â€śHe was my go-to guy.â€ť
When Mason needed help studying greens, he paged McGrath, an incoming seventh grader at Bryn Athan Church School. That call-and-response proved critical on No. 18 (par 5, 497 yards). Mason and McGrath stood at 3 under â€” tied with clubhouse leaders Crawford and Henaghan. After a sizeable drive, Mason powered a 6-iron 186 yards to 13 feet above the flagstick. He then consulted McGrath for a read on the ensuing eagle try. Mason then cozied the putt to two feet and tapped-in for a triumphant 4.
â€śOn the last hole, I kind of blew up,â€ť McGrath said. â€śI was really down and discouraged that I really wasnâ€™t helping him. But then when he asked me to read the putt, it gave me confidence, thinking I shouldnâ€™t be as hard on myself as I was.â€ť
Throughout their Applecross journey, Mason picked McGrathâ€™s brain frequently. He relied on the youngster to close the teamâ€™s outward tour with three straight birdies. Mason smacked a sand wedge 95 yards to four feet on No. 7 (par 4, 355 yards); a 9-iron 147 yards to 20 feet on No. 8 (par 4, 413 yards) and a 2-iron 245 yards to 20 feet for a two-putt birdie on No. 9 (par 5, 512 yards).
The team ran into its first speed bump on No. 11 (par 3, 143 yards). Mason put an 8-iron into the left greenside bunker, McGrath a 7-iron into the right greenside bunker. Both couldnâ€™t execute sand saves. Mason recovered the lost stroke with a birdie on the par 5, 547-yard 15th hole. He rocketed a 2-iron 240 yards to the right of the putting surface and stopped a chip at three feet. Mason followed a similar formula on No. 15 (par 5, 500 yards) for birdie. His 2-iron came up short of the green, but Mason nestled a chip to four feet. The team fell into a tie atop the leaderboard following a bogey on No. 17(par 4, 392 yards). Both Mason and McGrath missed the green with respective 6-iron approaches.
They both belong to player-rich Huntingdon Valley, but Mason and McGrath never played a round of golf together until Tuesday. More 18-hole adventures â€” and victories perhaps â€” now await the two.
â€śIâ€™ll play as much as he offers to have me,â€ť Mason said.
â€śEvery day youâ€™re free and Iâ€™m free,â€ť McGrath added.
The Deeg Sezna Four-Ball celebrates the mentorship of the older generation for its younger counterparts. It is named in honor of Davis "Deeg" Sezna, Jr. of Hartefeld National, who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001 in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Deeg, an avid golfer long a mentor to his younger brothers Teddy and Willy, and a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in economics, was in his sixth day of work on the 104th floor of the South Tower when the terrorists struck.
To memorialize his name, GAP and his father Davis Sezna, Sr. established the Deeg Sezna Four-Ball, pairing a junior player and an older amateur in a better ball competition, with a minimum age difference of 10 years and the stipulation that the younger player be 21 or younger.
The goal is to give experienced golfers quality time with the next generation, and vice versa. The age range is 10 to 72.
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 Philadelphiaâ€™s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphiaâ€™s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.