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Saucon's McCool, Back Creek's McClaskey earn Brewer Cup titles

  ORELAND, Pa.–A rock steady Robin McCool of Saucon Valley CC defeated a tenacious Chris Lange of Overbrook GC, 3&1, in a well played Brewer Cup Senior Division final on Thursday at a hot and sticky Sandy Run CC. McCool’s victory was his first in a Major Senior Golf Association of Philadelphia tournament since 2006 and first in the young history of the Brewer Cup. The win also marked the culmination of a rebirth for McCool who has battled terrible back issues the last three years.

  “It’s a great thrill,” said an emotional McCool, 59, of Bethlehem, Pa. “It took a lot of hard work [to get back to this point]. You play in a great deal of tournaments over the course of a year and you usually don’t win. This is very rewarding. It’s a special thrill especially with what it means in honoring Gordon. I played with Gordon last week in the Senior Member-Guest at Pine Valley and to play in this event with his name on it and win is unbelievable.”

CHARLES MCCLASKEY
  The final match between the two proverbial senior heavyweights was of high quality. McCool finished the 17 holes at an aggregate 3-under par while Lange was 1 under. And all seven holes in which either player won were decided with birdies.

  “This was my best round of the week and looking back at it I’m not surprised,” said McCool. “You are not going to win any holes with a par against a player of Chris Lange’s caliber.”

  McCool announced his championship intentions immediately.

  On No. 1 (par 4, 351 yards), the smooth-swinging right-hander knocked a 9-iron from 120 yards to inches.

  “It was a great match. Robin played great. He started right off on the first hole knocking it to two inches to go 1-up,” said Lange, 55, of Bryn Mawr, Pa.

  Added McCool, “You need to get off to a good start. With someone like Chris, something like that happening was critical.”

  McCool moved 2-up on No. 4 (par 4, 337 yards) when he knocked a 52-degree wedge from 91 yards to three feet and made the putt. The two halved the next three holes before Lange got one back on No. 8 (par 5, 564 yards) with a fantastic approach from 100 yards that stopped three feet from the hole. However, Lange could really never wrestle the momentum away and McCool responded on No. 9 (par 4, 319 yards) with his third frontside birdie. Both players were on the green in regulation and on the same putting line with Lange away. His 15-foot birdie try came up short. McCool dropped his 10 footer in for a three moments later.

  “I putted well up until this round and I missed a few putts I had to make to keep it close,” said Lange, a Senior rookie who currently leads the Senior Player of the Year standings. “I was struggling to get the ball to the hole.”

  Said McCool, “What I’ve discovered over the years is that you need to win the holes around the turn because whoever does usually wins the match.”

  McCool moved 3-up after No. 12 (par 3, 168 yards) when he dropped a 7-iron to four feet below the hole and made the birdie. Lange had a comparable tee shot and birdie opportunity but again his putter let him down and his short birdie try, call it five-feet, missed to the high side.

  Lange won No. 13 (par 4, 390 yards) with a fantastic chip to a foot for birdie but missed short putts on Nos. 14-15 to win those holes and remained 2-down. McCool, conversely, made good hole halving putts when he had to, including on No. 15 (par 5, 487 yards) when he drained a flat 10-foot putt.

  McCool was dormie on No. 17 (par 4, 390 yards) and went fairway to green. Lange, trying to force the action, found the left greenside bunker with his approach. A bunker shot later, he conceded the match to McCool.

Super-Senior Division
  Charles McClaskey of Back Creek GC parred the final hole to defeat Jay Howson, Jr. of St. Davids GC, 1-up, in the Brewer Cup Super-Senior Division final on Wednesday at Sandy Run CC.

  McClaskey was the runner-up in the inaugural Brewer Cup in 2008 at Huntingdon Valley CC. Howson entered the 2010 Brewer Cup as the defending Super-Senior Champion.

  “I’ve known Gordon for a long time. We play better-ball tournaments together. I know his wife very well. I just know that’s he’s a fine person and his integrity is impeccable,” said a very emotional McClaskey, 71, of Elkton, Md. “It’s very humbling to win a tournament with his name on it. It means a whole lot to me.”

  The match was All Square in the middle of the No. 18 (par 4, 312 yards) fairway. McClaskey stood 89 yards from the hole with Howson 85 yards away. McClaskey played first, and backing off a sand wedge, dropped his approached to 12 feet. The key, however, was that it looked much closer to the hole from the fairway, maybe three or four feet. Howson thinking “he was really close” decided to hit a strong sand wedge instead of a little pitching wedge. He bladed it a bit and the ball hopped off the back edge of the green. Howson responded with a nice delicate chip shot back down the hill that stopped eight feet below the hole, but his par just miss to the high side. McClaskey’s birdie try moments earlier just missed and Howson conceded him his par.

  “If I had to do over again, I tried to do something marginal for me to achieve,” said Howson, 72, of Malvern, Pa., of his wedge shot. “That’s the outer limits of a sand wedge for me. In retrospect, I should make him make that birdie putt to beat me.”

  Howson opened his defense in style with victories on holes Nos. 1 and 2 before McClaskey slowly worked his way back. McClaskey won Nos. 3 (par 4, 409 yards) and 7 (par 4, 295 yards) with pars to draw even. The two traded barbs the rest of the way, each winning three holes to end up on the No. 18 tee All Square.

*****
  This is the third 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. And two 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 and Super Seniors with an index of 12.0 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 142 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

Senior Division
Final
12. Robin McCool, Saucon Valley CC, d. 14. Chris Lange, Overbrook GC, 3&1

Semifinals
12. McCool d. 1. Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club, 3&2
14. Lange d. 2. Roc Irey, Lookaway GC, 21 holes

Super Senior
Final
1. Charles McClaskey, Back Creek GC, d. 6. Jay Howson, Jr., St. Davids GC, 1-up

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