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Merion GCís Dendler takes 101st Open Championship

  NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.ĖGraham Dendler, an assistant professional at Merion GC, turned a potentially disastrous situation on his 35th hole into the bogey of a lifetime to secure a victory in the 101st Open Championship at Aronimink GC (par 70, 7,125 yards) on Wednesday. Dendler finished the 36-hole stroke play event at 2-over par, one shot clear of John Pillar, Sr., the Director of Golf at Woodloch Springs GC, and two strokes ahead of amateur Clint Deibert of Doylestown CC and Overbrook GC professional Stu Ingraham.

  "This is unbelievable," said a stunned Dendler. "This is by the far the biggest feat in my career."

  On a hot, humid day, Dendler came to the 17th hole (par 3, 202 yards) in his final round at 1-over par, a shot clear of Pillar. His 4-iron, however, landed in the bunker short and right of the green leaving a pitch to a back hole location. Dendler bladed his blast and it landed in an area used to access the maintenance shed. With, in essence, the tournament in the balance, Dendlerís flop shot rolled up tight and he converted the putt for a bogey.

  Dendler parred his final hole and Pillar posted a bogey-par finish on Nos. 8-9, his final two holes.

  "I expected it to be out of bounds. If that was the case, it was definitely the tournament," said Dendler, 33, of Havertown, Pa. "It was an amazing up and down considering the circumstances."

  Dendlerís lone challenger down the stretch was Pillar.

  The 38-year-old resident of Hawley, Pa., found himself in a tie with two holes to go. Pillar, though, missed the green on the long par 3, 8th (237 yards), his 17th hole, and left a birdie chance from 25 feet an inch short on No. 9 (par 5, 556 yards).

  "I made some sloppy mistakes," said Pillar. "I donít have a club for that 8th hole. I hit a 2-iron and it caught the tree [to the right of the green]. I hit a poor chip shot and made a nice five footer for bogey. Iím very happy with how I played, however."

  Pillar registered the lone under-par round of the tournament with a 2-under 68 in the morning. That gave him a three-shot lead.

  Deibert, the reigning Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Champion, found himself in contention late with nine holes to go after carding a 2-under-par 33 on his front side in the afternoon. However, Deibert registered three straight bogeys on his back nine and two more bogeys in the middle of that inward swing to fall back.

  "I tried to step on the accelerator and pin chase and short sided myself a couple of times," said Deibert on that final nine holes. "I hit it in places you couldnít hit it."

  Deibert was looking to become only the second Amateur Champion to capture an Open Championship in the same year. Jay Sigel, in 1987, is the only one to turn that feat.

  Dendler carded a 2-over-par 72 in the first round and was in a group of 10 players within four shots of the lead after the morning session. He carded three birdies and three bogeys in the final round to earn the biggest victory of his career and the $4,900 first-place prize.

  A field of 45 professionals and 15 amateurs competed in the Open.

Name

Club

Rd. 1

Rd. 2

Total

Graham Dendler

Merion Golf Club

72

70

142

John Pillar, Sr.

Woodloch Springs Country Club

68

75

143

(a) Clint Deibert

Doylestown Country Club

71

73

144

Stuart Ingraham

Overbrook Golf Club

72

72

144

Rich Steinmetz

Spring Ford Country Club

72

73

145

(a) John Sawin

Merion Golf Club

72

74

146

Thomas Ryan

The Springhaven Club

71

76

147

Barry Dear

South Jersey Golf Center

73

76

149

David Quinn

Links Golf Club

75

74

149

(a) Michael McDermott

Merion Golf Club

76

74

150

(a) Jamie Slonis

Tavistock Country Club

77

73

150

John Spina

Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club

74

76

150

David McNabb

Cavaliers Country Club

76

74

150

Gregory Farrow

Deerwood Country Club

75

75

150

James Masserio

Aronimink Golf Club

76

74

150

John Appleget

Harbor Pines Golf Club

74

76

150

Jamie Komancheck

RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

75

76

151

(a) Tug Maude

Merion Golf Club

75

77

152

John DiMarco

Laurel Creek Country Club

80

72

152

(a) Christopher Lange

Overbrook Golf Club

77

76

153

(a) Chris Gallagher

Penn Oaks Golf Club

72

81

153

Scott Edwards

Chesapeake Bay Golf Club

78

75

153

Terry Hertzog

Bent Creek Country Club

72

81

153

(a) Glenn Smeraglio

Yardley Country Club

78

76

154

(a) Kyle Davis

Inniscrone Golf Club

79

75

154

(a) Robert Galbreath, Jr.

Huntingdon Valley Country Club

77

77

154

David Seeman, Jr.

White Clay Creek Country Club

72

82

154

Mark Anderson

Heidelberg Country Club

75

79

154

Rick Hughart

Tavistock Country Club

76

78

154

Orist Wells, Jr.

Pitman Golf Club

79

76

155

Dave Roberts

Cedarbrook Country Club

75

80

155

Wayne Phillips

Lehigh Country Club

74

81

155

(a) David Liotta

Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

78

78

156

George Forster

Radnor Valley Country Club

75

81

156

William Walker

Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club

78

78

156

Mark Sheftic

Sunnybrook Golf Club

78

78

156

Steve Madsen

Wilmington Country Club

83

73

156

John Allen

Sunnybrook Golf Club

78

79

157

John Cooper

Meadowlands Country Club

77

80

157

(a) Brian Gillespie

St. Davids Golf Club

76

82

158

David Olexson

Huntingdon Valley Country Club

81

77

158

Tom Oxenreider

Woods Golf Center, Inc.

80

78

158

(a) Gui Costin

Merion Golf Club

73

86

159

Gary Deetscreek

Island Green Country Club

80

79

159

William Sautter

Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club

77

82

159

(a) Bryant Reyes

Hartefeld National

82

78

160

Paul Oglesby

Merion Golf Club

82

78

160

(a) Michael Tash

Tavistock Country Club

79

82

161

George Frake, II

Little Mill Country Club

79

82

161

Robert Shuey

Valley Green Golf Club

75

86

161

Dan Haskell

Medford Lakes Country Club

83

80

163

Michael Ladden

Philadelphia Country Club

83

81

164

Mike Moses

Concord Country Club

85

79

164

Vince Ramagli

Burlington Country Club

81

83

164

Brian Kelly

Bucknell Golf Club

83

82

165

Andrew Barbin

Chesapeake Bay Golf Club

83

83

166

Casey O'Reilly

Bala Golf Club

86

82

168

Kevin Edwards

Riverview Country Club

82

86

168

Ken Dixon

Berkshire Country Club

88

82

170

Mark Wiley

Bon Air Country Club

82

91

173

 

(a)-amateur

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