|*VIDEO: Open Championship|
Links GC’s Quinn nabs Open title in playoffHAVERTOWN, Pa.–David Quinn, the golf director of Links GC, shocked even himself, defeating Mike Ladden, an assistant professional at Philadelphia CC, in a four-hole aggregate playoff for the 102nd Open Championship on Wednesday at a perfectly manicured Llanerch CC (par 71, 6,727 yards).
Both Quinn and Ladden finished the 36-hole stroke play championship tied at 3-under-par 139.
This was the first Open Championship playoff since 2002 and the first for both players.
“I don’t know what it is about a Golf Association of Philadelphia event, from the Amateur to the Junior to the Open, but every single person knows who wins these events,” said Quinn, 40, of Marlton, N.J. “For a club professional this is one of our Majors. We have the Philadelphia Open, New Jersey Open, Section Championship and Haverford Trust. This is what we prepare for. [To me] this is like a U.S. Open.
“I’ve really been struggling this year. Golf has taken a back seat to family. I’ve only had a couple of [competitive] rounds in the 60s. Every spare hour, I’ve been trying stuff, trying to find something out. I’ve been looking at tapes of old swings and trying to pick up certain things. I haven’t really had time to practice If I don’t win [a Major] it’s been a bad year.”
Ladden, 29, of East Norriton, Pa., was the tough luck loser.
“It would’ve been great to win, but I hung in there for 36 holes and that’s a great accomplishment. Hopefully, there’ll be many more [chances].”
Even in defeat, it’s been a spectacular week for the Ladden household. Wife Laura captured her fifth Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship last Friday.
Kyle Davis of Fieldstone GC, the reigning Amateur Champion, took low Amateur honors at 1-under-par 141. Barry Dear, a professional from the South Jersey Golf Center, finished at even par to place fourth.
Quinn earned $5,000 for the win. Ladden took home $4,000.
In the playoff, Ladden birdied the first hole, No. 1 (par 4, 397 yards), with a 10-foot uphill putt to take a one-stroke advantage, but watched his approach on No. 2 (par 4, 432 yards) hop a foot or so into the back rough. Quinn nailed a 7-iron from 153 yards to about 10 feet and sank his putt for three and when Ladden failed to get up-and-down, Quinn went from one back to one ahead. Both players struggled off the tee on No. 3 (par 4, 467 yards), finding the right tree line, but Quinn pitched it to the bottom of the hill about 35 yards from the hole and then knocked that chip to inches. Ladden pitched out and had 80 yards left but again couldn’t get up-and-down.
On No. 18 (par 4, 298 yards), the final playoff hole, both players found the fairway and the green in regulation. Quinn had about 35 feet up the hill and rolled it up to inches.
“I have a lot of experience in these things and [going into the playoff I had] the same feeling I get at a [PGA] Tour event or a Nationwide event,” said Quinn. “You just have to suck it up and deal with it.” Quinn has also played in the last four national Club Professional Championships (now called the PGA Professional National Championship).
To even make the playoff, both players displayed a certain level of guile.
Quinn carded a 1-under-par 70 in his first round despite starting his day with three bogeys in the first four holes. He battled back to make the turn at 1-over-par 37 and then registered birdies on Nos. 10 (par 4, 441 yards) and 13 (par 4, 346 yards).
His second round was a stroke better with four birdies and two bogeys. He just missed a lengthy birdie chance by inches on his 17th hole, No. 8 (par 3, 221 yards), which would have given him the outright lead, and most likely win, and made a solid two putt on No. 9 (par 5, 490 yards) to force a playoff.
Ladden, first to post a final score, opened his first round with a double bogey, but, too, made the turn at 1-over par 37. Six pars and a bogey opened his back nine before Ladden nailed a 20-foot right to left birdie chance on No. 17 (par 3, 150 yards). On the 18th hole, Ladden found gold when he jarred a sand wedge from 64 yards for eagle on the difficult closing hole. He went from 1-over par to 2 under in just two holes.
“That got things really going,” said Ladden.
He continued that momentum in round two with a birdie on his opening hole, the 10th, and made the turn at 2-under par after his first nine of the second 18 holes and 4-under par for the tournament. He got it to 5-under par with a three on the par 4, first hole, but dropped a shot with a bogey on No. 2 and another on No. 8, that as a result of a poor tee shot. He sank a testy five-foot par chance on his final hole, the ninth, to post a 3-under-par score.
Early on Davis appeared to have the championship in control with a two-shot advantage over Ladden and the rest of the field heading to his ninth hole of the second round, No. 18. However, a poor drive into the left tree line by Davis resulted in a chip out and a three putt resulted in a double bogey. Another bogey on No. 1 kept Davis’ mojo heading in the wrong direction and he never recovered.
The Open Championship field is comprised of 15 amateurs from the Golf Association of Philadelphia and 45 professionals from the Philadelphia Section of the PGA.
NOTES: Five amateurs finished in the top 10, included the past two Amateur Championship titleholders, Davis (2006) and Clint Deibert of Doylestown CC (2005) … Chris Lange of Overbrook GC, the last amateur to win the Open in 2004, tied for seventh place … The top 15 professionals receive prize money. The total purse for the Open was $25,380.