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Tavistock CC's Gramigna takes Tournament of Champions in playoff

  LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa. – Tavistock CC’s Thomas Gramigna penned the perfect final chapter in his 2010 golf memoirs Tuesday.

  The Haddonfield, N.J. resident edged Brian Herman of Merchantville CC on the first playoff hole to capture the 53rd Tournament of Champions at Whitemarsh Valley CC (par 67, 6,158 yards). Both players carded respective even-par 67s in regulation to force a sudden-death session. Gramigna also won the Association’s Middle-Amateur Championship at nearby Philadelphia Cricket Club (Militia Hill), his first GAP tournament on the 2010 trail.

Thomas Gramigna
  “It’s a great way to end the year,” he said. “Honestly, it was hard to get out of bed. I almost turned my car around about six times driving here. I really didn’t want to play. I thought the weather was going to be bad and I’m kind of golfed out. But obviously, things kind of worked out today.”

  Over the past week, Gramigna competed as a member of New Jersey’s squad in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship at Mayacama GC. He also participated in the Crump Cup at Pine Valley GC. Ten consecutive rounds of golf left Gramigna weary entering Whitemarsh Valley.

  But the fatigue didn’t cripple the 41 year-old, and things worked out as Gramigna earned his second piece of GAP hardware. On No. 1 (par 4, 354 yards), the first playoff hole, he hit his GAP wedge 92 yards to 15-feet. Gramigna’s uphill putt just flirted with the left edge. Meanwhile, Herman’s GAP wedge sailed 70 yards and settled 20-feet left of the flagstick. His birdie try gradually drifted right and stopped two feet on the high side. With Gramigna in for par, Herman, of Cherry Hill, N.J., watched helplessly as his putt to match burnt the left edge.

  “The putting wasn’t there today,” Herman, 24, said. “I felt like I rushed through a lot of things. I’m happy to get out here and play, but the playoff was just a little disappointing. It was a great event. I was playing against a legend. I hear about Tom Gramigna all of the time. It was nice to finally nice to play with him.”

  In regulation, Gramigna, a semifinalist in this year’s Amateur Championship at Saucon Valley CC, smashed his hybrid to 25-feet left of the lengthy par 3, 230-yard 4th hole. With a penchant for finesse, he chipped in for birdie.

  “I surprisingly felt confident on that shot,” Gramigna said. “I didn’t think I’d make it, but it was a pretty easy chip.”

  Gramigna again displayed a delicate touch on No. 9 (par 3, 115 yards). After his wedge settled in the fringe, Gramigna converted a 30-foot chip shot for birdie. A third red figure came on the downhill par 4, 370-yard 13th hole. Gramigna smacked his sand wedge 91 yards to eight feet. The 15th hole (par 4, 420 yards), however, evoked strategy as well as conflict. After electing to intentionally play his drive onto the adjacent No. 3 (par 5, 532 yards) fairway, Gramigna launched his 7-iron 145 to the left fringe. His 25-footer for birdie drifted two feet right of the jar. Gramigna watched his par effort skirt the left edge. But he recovered in red figure fashion on the lengthy par 5 17th hole (490 yards) by striking his 6-iron 204 yards to 30-feet and two-putting.

  Nursing a 2 under on the scorecard, Gramigna caught a “bad break” in the form of a double bogey on No. 18 (par 4, 410 yards). He attempted to power his drive, but it didn’t travel as far as he anticipated.

  “I thought I could carry the (fairway) bunker. I hit the top lip and it kicked back down into the bunker,” Gramigna said. “I had a horrendous lie, so I just pitched out to the fairway. Then I hit a pitching wedge (from 123 yards out) that I thought was perfect but it just went over the green.”

Brian Herman
  Tuesday’s triumph seemed fitting for Gramigna, who finished third in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Standings. He assessed why success has followed him in 2010.

  “Earlier in the year, I was driving it really good, and I think that set up the rest of my game,” Gramigna said. “I wasn’t three-putting a lot earlier in the year.”

  Herman, who will earn a degree in psychology from Rutgers-Camden University next month, carded three bogeys and three birdies. All three hiccups occurred on his front nine. Herman attributed each one to “bad execution.”

  “The putter wasn’t there for a little bit,” he said.

  The flatstick returned to prominence on No. 8 (par 4, 445 yards). Herman crushed his 8-iron 150 yards to 20-feet and executed the ensuing birdie putt. His pitching wedge came up short on No. 9 (par 3, 115 yards), but Herman’s chip shot from the front fringe found the bottom of the cup. He nearly reached the No. 17 (par 5, 490 yards) green with an 8-iron from 163 yards out. Herman then stopped a soft chip at eight feet and cleaned up the birdie putt.

  Senior Division

  Don Donatoni of White Manor CC fired six birdies en route to a 3-under-par 64 score and the Senior Division crown.

  “I’m very pleased,” he said. “I’ve been able to end the year with a win that means a lot to me. I’ve played in this a number of times in the Amateur Division, and I’ve come in second several times. I keep saying to myself, ‘if I just keep knocking on the door, I may actually win this thing once.’ I always thought Whitemarsh set up nice for me, and after I got off to a good start, I felt I had a good chance to win. I’m proud of the way I played today. It’s a great capper on my year."

  Donatoni, of Malvern, Pa., set a red figure tone early by drilling his 9-iron 130 yards to 15-feet and converting a left-to-right breaker on No. 1 (par 4, 333 yards). After missing an eight-footer for birdie on No. 3 (par 4, 388 yards), Donatoni inked red on the scorecard on No. 3 (par 5, 526 yards). He knocked a wedge 110 yards to 15-feet.

  Unfortunately for Donatoni, those good things came to an end as he encountered trouble on Nos. 4 (par 3, 193 yards) and 6 (par 4, 333 yards). He missed a two-footer to save par on No. 4 and steered his tee shot out-of-bounds right on No. 6, which led to a double bogey.

  “The wind just took it,” Donatoni, 62, said.

Don Donatoni
  Donatoni started to “put the pedal to the metal” on his inward tour, where he registered four birdies. He slapped his pitching wedge 100 yards to 12-feet on No. 11 (par 5, 489 yards) and executed a left-to-right breaker. Donatoni, 62, stuck his GAP wedge 100 yards to four feet on No. 13 (par 4, 354 yards). He fired back-to-back birdies on Nos. 16 (par 3, 128 yards) and 17 (par 5, 456 yards). A solid 9-iron left Donatoni 15-feet left of the hole location, and he rolled in a left-to-right breaker.

  “It dropped in at 9 o’clock, which you love to see,” he said of the putt.

  On No. 17, knowing that tee-mate Craig Scott of Great Bear G&CC was also in contention, Donatoni blocked his 4-iron into a difficult area between a set of fairway bunkers. With one foot in the sand and the other elevated, he choked down on a pitching wedge and ran it to six-feet below the flagstick. Donatoni answered the birdie call.

  Donatoni’s performance led to his second win on the GAP circuit in 2010. He, along with Carl Everett of Merion GC, Neil McDermott of Llanerch CC and Michael Rose of Philmont CC, won the Senior Four-Man Team at Bent Creek CC.

  “I had a very good year, except for some of the Senior Majors,” Donatoni said. “I won the (Pennsylvania Golf Association’s R. Jay) Sigel Match Play Championship to start the year. I was sort of playing with the house’s money all year. I’ve been hitting it well all year. I just wasn’t scoring for some reason. I was hitting too many loose shots. But today, I only hit one loose shot. My ball striking was about as good as I’ve hit it all year.”

  Open to current Member Club amateur champions, senior amateur champions and previous winners, the Tournament of Champions was initiated in 1962 in memory of Larry Malmed. The Association then accepted the event in 1984 after Al Porter, the tournament’s coordinator, was forced to retire due to illness. The Association also added a senior division in 1992.

Amateur Flight

Name

Club

Scores

#Thomas Gramigna

Tavistock CC

67

Brian Herman

Merchantville CC

67

Marc Mandel

White Manor CC

68

David Liotta

Whitemarsh Valley CC

69

Paul Carbone, Jr.

Old York Road CC

69

Brad Sokol

Green Valley CC

70

Marc Coassolo

Brookside CC of Allentown

70

Roger Stone

Downingtown CC

70

Archie Struthers

Greate Bay CC

70

Rich Pruchnik

West Chester G&CC

71

Robert Bechtold

Loch Nairn GC

72

Ric Sucro

Cedarbrook CC

72

Frank Rapone

The Springhaven Club

72

Douglas Zelner

Coatesville CC

72

Greg Galtere

Reading CC

72

Alan Van Horn

Sandy Run CC

72

Scott Klee

Bellewood CC

72

Frank Kovalcheck

Lu Lu CC

72

David Smith

Doylestown CC

72

Jack Wallace

Burlington CC

73

Philip Potter

Radley Run CC

73

Rich Thon

The Springhaven Club

73

Michael Walker

Loch Nairn GC

73

Jeff Klagholz

Rolling Green GC

73

David Folkes

Metedeconk National GC

74

Doug Domeshek

Golden Oaks GC

74

Lance Oberparleiter

Little Mill CC

74

Joe Butto

LedgeRock GC

74

P. Chet Walsh

Philadelphia CC

74

Brian Myers

Five Ponds GC

75

David West

Whitford CC

75

Robert Gill

Fox Hill CC

76

Jonathan Shevlin

North Hills CC

76

Ed Chylinski

Chester Valley GC

77

Kevin Dunleavy

The ACE Club

78

Eric Ostrosky

Northampton CC

78

Dan Gallagher

Riverton CC

78

Graham Desmond

Golf Course at Glen Mills

78

Bobby Svigals

Radnor Valley CC

79

Alexander Hicks

Wildwood G&CC

79

Jim Gavaghan

Jericho National GC

79

Robert Amen

Edgmont CC

79

Edward Kelly, Jr.

Applecross CC

80

Chris Ortman

Woodstone CC

80

Dave Locher

McCall G&CC

80

Peter Pendergrast

Heidelberg CC

84

Patrick Hardiman, II

Seaview Resort & Spa

85

Brian DiStefano

Loch Nairn GC

86

Bruce Losse

Limekiln GC

86

Scott Haman

Torresdale-Frankford CC

NS

John Mulhern, Jr.

Fox Hill CC

WD

Glenn Smeraglio

Mercer Oaks GC

WD

Michael Vassil

CC of Scranton

WD

John Stepanik

Blue Bell CC

WD

Senior Flight

Name

Club

Scores

Don Donatoni

White Manor CC

64

William Lawler

Fox Hill CC

66

Craig Scott

Great Bear G&CC

66

Mark Quigley

Lu Lu CC

67

Neil McDermott

Llanerch CC

68

Arthur Kania, Jr.

Merion GC

68

Gary Daniels

Aronimink GC

69

Steve Javie

Whitemarsh Valley CC

70

Ed Enoch

Old York Road CC

70

Terrence Sawyer

Mercer Oaks GC

71

Michael Rose

Philmont CC

72

James Muller

Manufacturers G&CC

72

Michael Quinn

Edgmont CC

72

Martin Klagholz

Applebrook GC

73

James Meyers

Tavistock CC

74

Joseph Martella

Sandy Run CC

75

Todd Kennedy

Five Ponds GC

75

Robert Ockenfuss

Indian Valley CC

75

Doug Cowan

Deerwood CC

75

Bob Butz

Woodstone CC

76

Robert Reed

Sunnybrook GC

76

Michael Harms

Philadelphia Publinks GA

76

Donald Ashley

Philadelphia CC

76

John Turner

The Springhaven Club

77

Jack Holland

Whitford CC

77

Jeffrey Brown

West Chester G&CC

78

John Cech

Riverton CC

79

Richard Bourassa

McCall G&CC

80

Bob Silsbe

Downingtown CC

80

Kenneth Battista

Wildwood G&CC

80

Alan Brody

Radnor Valley CC

80

Bob Dahlhausen

Waynesborough CC

80

Robert Sweigart

Merchantville CC

81

James Sherrat

Old York Road CC

81

David Davis

Huntsville GC

85

Milton Hartley

Manufacturers G&CC

87

Doug Halfmann

Honeybrook GC

95

Peter Mimmo

North Hills CC

NS

Dennis O'Brien

Huntingdon Valley CC

WD

Andy Muzyka

Hershey's Mill GC

WD

Robin McCool

Saucon Valley CC

WD

# - won in playoff

NS - no show; WD -withdrawal

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