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Charles McClaskey of Back Creek Golf Club was one of three medalists in the Super-Senior Divison.

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Saucon Valley’s Bartolacci nabs No. 1 seed in Brewer Cup

  MOHTNON, Pa. — Though four days removed from his first trip to LedgeRock Golf Club, Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. handled its rolling fairways and exquisite greens like a savvy veteran. The Saucon Valley Country Club member carded a glittering 1-under-par 71, the day’s lone subpar score, to earn medalist honors in Monday’s Brewer Cup Qualifier at the Reese Jones' gem (par 72, 6,660 yards). Bartolacci will occupy the Senior Division’s No. 1 seed when match play begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow with the quarterfinals to follow.

   “I never had the ball in the rough,” Bartolacci, 61, of Washington Crossing, Pa., said. “I hit the middle of the greens and didn’t have any three-putts. I left the ball in good places.”

  With a field stroke average of 80, Bartolacci scored against the grain. He registered 14 greens in regulation, executed mid-range par putts fluidly and avoided danger at all costs.

   “It’s such a penal golf course,” Bartolacci said. “You can make double bogey or worse on any hole. I hit a couple of loose shots early and got away with them. I kind of hung in there.”

  Bartolacci’s scorecard displayed two circles (birdies) and a square (bogey), the latter of which occurred on the par 4, 25-yard No. 5. Bartolacci left a 200-yard 5-iron short, nudged a chip to eight feet and missed the ensuing par putt. He roared back with a birdie on No. 8 (par 5, 555 yards). Bartolacci powered a 3-wood 245 yards into right rough just off the green. He then guided a chip into tap-in territory. Bartolacci also inked red on the shortish par 4, 265-yard 12th hole. After driving his golf ball into a collection area left of the putting surface, the 2008 Senior Player of the Year eased a chip to three feet.

   “I switched back to my belly putter yesterday and just putted very well today,” Bartolacci said. “It got tired of being in the garage.”

  Bartolacci missed match play in last year’s Brewer Cup at Bellewood Golf Club, falling in a sudden-death playoff for the final spot.

   “I’m striking the ball well,” he said. “I haven’t been putting well. I’d been giving shots away on the green, and today, I didn’t give any away, so that was really the key.”

  Bartolacci will face Arthur Kania, Jr. of Merion Golf Club, the final survivor of a four-for-three sudden-death frenzy. The cut line fell to 78.

  Super-Senior

  Two former Brewer Cup Champions and a division novice finished tied atop the Super-Senior leaderboard. Two-time reigning champion Charles McClaskey of Back Creek Golf Club, Jay Howson, Jr. of St. Davids Golf Club, the 2010 titleholder, and Frank Polizzi of Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, a Super-Senior sophomore, carded respective even-par 72s at the picturesque Berks County track (par 72, 6,144 yards).

  Seeding was determined by the order in which scorecards were returned. Accordingly, McClaskey will be seeded No. 1, Howson second and Polizzi third.

  Fairways were a common theme among the trio. They hit a combined 51 on the day en route to medalist honors.

  A clutch par save on the first hole (par 4, 336 yards) settled Howson, 74, into his qualifying round. The Malvern, Pa. resident flew the green with a 4-hybrid, but left a downhill chip two feet from the jar. Howson carded birdies on Nos. 7 (par 5, 469 yards) and 10 (par 3, 125 yards) to overshadow bogeys on Nos. 9 (par 4, 340 yards) and 12 (par 4, 255 yards). His performance mirrored that of a year ago, when Howson grabbed medalist honors at Bellewood Golf Club. At that time, the 2009 Super-Senior Player of the Year felt his game peaking.

   “The last couple of days, my game’s been the best it’s been all year,” Howson said. “I’m not sure we ever know in this game [why things click], but the rhythm, tempo and solidness of the hits have put me in a real good groove.

  McClaskey bogeyed his first three holes as a result of poor club selections. But the Elkton, Md. resident showed his championship resolve, firing three frontside birdies to turn at even. McClaskey, the two-time reigning Super-Senior Player of the Year, stopped at 9-iron at four feet on No. 4 (par 3, 156 yards). He converted a 12-footer for birdie on No. 5 (par 4, 412 yards) and a seven-footer on No. 8 (par 5, 514 yards).

  McClaskey maintained his bogeys-to-birdies ratio coming in. He bogeyed Nos. 10 (par 3, 125 yards) and 11 (par 4, 384 yards) thanks to missed greens. McClaskey fired a birdie on the par 3, 143-yard 14th hole after sticking a 9-iron to two feet. He hit a transition wedge to 12 feet for a 3 on No. 16 (par 4, 295 yards), bogeyed No. 17 (par 4, 370 yards) and finished with a birdie on No. 18 (par 5, 561 yards) after halting a wedge at 12 feet.

   “I played really well today, so I hope I can continue that tomorrow,” McClaskey, 73, said.

  Like McClaskey, Polizzi countered errors with execution for a well-balanced 72. The Plymouth Meeting, Pa. resident birdied No. 4 after knocking an 8-iron 150 yards to 12 feet. He nearly holed a pitching wedge from 120 yards for an eagle on the par 5, 561-yard 18th hole.

  Polizzi’s competitive calendar is diverse. He competes on the Association’s Super-Senior circuit as well as amateur events such as the Middle-Amateur and Open Championship Qualifiers and U.S. Senior Open Qualifier.

   “I think that helps me,” Polizzi, 66, said. “You’re playing 6,800-6,900 yards, and out here, you’re playing 6,100 yards, so that takes the pressure off. I think I’ve been playing well, but I haven’t been scoring well.”

  Polizzi turned a few heads Monday, considering it was his first time playing LedgeRock.

  “Maybe sometimes that helps,” he said. “I didn’t try to do anything but hit it in the fairway.”

  This is the fifth annual Brewer Cup.

  The tournament is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., the former president of Pine Valley GC, is a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion and veteran of 42 USGA Championships. He’s captured two Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship titles (1967, 1976), a GAP Senior Amateur Championship crown (1997) and a Senior Player of the Year (1997) as well as countless invitational titles. Three years ago he was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.

  The Brewer Cup is open to Senior players with a handicap index of 7.0 or less.

  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 Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Senior Division (55 and over)

Qualifiers

Name, club

Score

Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., Saucon Valley Country Club

71

Gordon Jamieson, Merion Golf Club

74

Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton

74

Francis McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club

75

Michael Domenick, Phoenixville Country Club

75

Roc Irey, Lookaway Golf Club

75

Buck Jones, Philadelphia Publinks GA

76

Donald Ashley, Philadelphia Country Club

76

Frank Rutan, IV, Philadelphia Cricket Club

77

Keith Li, Heidelberg Country Club

77

Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club

77

Scott Carney, Commonwealth National Golf Club

77

Tom DiCinti, Little Mill Country Club

77

*Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club

78

*Joe Viechnicki, Saucon Valley Country Club

78

*Marlin Detweiler, Lancaster Country Club

78

 

Failed to qualify

*Mike Owsik, Philadelphia Publinks GA

78

Dave Jacobson, JC Melrose Country Club

79

Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club

79

Lee King, Heidelberg Country Club

79

Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club

79

Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club

80

Robert Billings, Rolling Green Golf Club

80

Anthony Kondracki, Fox Hill Country Club

81

Donald Chapman, Riverton Country Club

81

Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club

81

Mark Leaman, Honeybrook Golf Club

81

Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club

81

Jerry Janeski, Honeybrook Golf Club

82

Robert VanEtten, Laurel Creek Country Club

82

Terrence Sawyer, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

82

Mark Quigley, Lu Lu Country Club

83

Chuck Kraatz, Talamore Country Club

84

James Muller, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club

84

James Prendergast, Philadelphia Publinks GA

84

Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club

84

Joseph Major, Brookside Country Club

85

Alan Van Horn, Sandy Run Country Club

87

Bennett Meyer, Philmont Country Club

87

Dan Farragut, Philadelphia Cricket Club

88

James Lewis, Little Mill Country Club

89

Mike Miklinevich, Greate Bay Country Club

WD

 

Super-Senior Division (65 and over)

Qualifiers

Name, club

Score

Charles McClaskey, Back Creek Golf Club

72

Frank Polizzi, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

72

Jay Howson, Jr., St. Davids Golf Club

72

John Owens, M.D., Tavistock Country Club

74

Charles Whipple, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

77

John Rowe, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

78

Ken Gaskill, Philadelphia Publinks GA

78

*Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club

79

 

Failed to qualify

*George McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club

79

*Michael Rowland, Lehigh Country Club

79

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

79

*Richard Smith, Philadelphia Country Club

79

George May, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club

80

Thomas O'Rourke, Chester Valley Golf Club

80

A. Richard Bailey, Applebrook Golf Club

82

David Jordan, Sakima Country Club

82

Jim Robertson, Saucon Valley Country Club

82

Clay Hamlin, III, Merion Golf Club

83

Fred Jones, Merion Golf Club

83

Art Brosius, Golf Course at Glen Mills

84

James Haynie, Blue Bell Country Club

85

Jay Kocher, Loch Nairn Golf Club

85

Michael Civitello, Chester Valley Golf Club

86

Joseph McLane, JC Melrose Country Club

93

 

*-determined in playoff; WD-withdrawal

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