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Michael R. Brown converts a 25-footer for birdie on No. 16 (par 4, 439 yards).

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Philadelphia Publinks GA’s Brown wins Tournament of Champions

  HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. — It’s easy to see why Philmont Country Club is Michael R. Brown’s favorite golf course in the Delaware Valley. He won the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Open Championship at the venue in 2010 by defeating Greg Farrow, Deerwood Country Club’s head professional, in a marathon playoff (four-hole aggregate score followed by sudden-death).

  On Friday, Brown returned to his successful surroundings and departed with another GAP trophy. The Philadelphia Publinks GA member etched a 6-under-par 64 to capture the 56th Tournament of Champions. Brown carded seven birdies — the most he's converted during a round this season — on the par 70, 6,457-yard layout and fell a stroke shy of tying Philmont’s competitive course record.

   “I certainly remember well three years ago, so I was probably more comfortable,” Brown, 40, of Cheltenham, Pa., said. “I always feel good when I’m on this property. I just think it’s a good, fair and difficult test. The greens are really difficult, and it makes you think on every shot. I just love the challenge of this place. I had a feeling I was going to play well today.”

  Those senses didn’t let Brown down. He opened with back-to-back birdies, drilling a 6-iron 131 yards to 15 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 388 yards) and an 8-iron 142 yards to 25 feet on No. 2 (par 4, 407 yards). Brown’s outward tour ended in identical fashion. He stopped a 52-degree wedge 25 feet above the No. 8 (par 3, 130 yards) flagstick and converted the downhill putt for a 2. On the difficult dogleg right No. 9 — a 564-yard par 5, Brown knocked a pitching wedge 113 yards to 15 feet for birdie.

   “The putter was as good as it’s been all summer for me today,” Brown, who operates a soft pretzel factory in Cherry Hill, N.J., said. “I haven’t made a lot of mid-range putts, and they all came on the same day.”

  Brown’s only blemish occurred on the par 3, 210-yard 11th hole, where a three-putt from 30 feet resulted in a bogey. But the 2010 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year bounced back with a birdie on the next hole (par 5, 487 yards), powering a hybrid left of the green and lofting a wedge to three feet. Brown smashed a 7-iron 161 yards to 15 feet and converted a right-to-left breaker on No. 14 (par 4, 430 yards). His last red figure came unexpectedly on the par 4, 439-yard 16th hole. Brown slammed an 8-iron 161 yards to 25 feet after nearly losing his ball off the tee.

   “I didn’t deserve to make birdie there,” Brown said. “I hit a provisional there because I hit the ball right, and I don’t know if it hit a tree, but I guess it did. That was a very timely break.”

  A well-deserved victory highlights an otherwise ordinary year. He earned medalist honors in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Whitford Country Club in May, but struggled to find a groove since.

   “I’ve had a pretty modest year, so this will make the winter feel good and not as long,” Brown said. “It’s been a frustrating year, and so have the last couple. It’s a direct reflection of the work I’m putting in, so there’s no reason other than that. I remembered how to play today.”

  Brown’s 64 is a Tournament of Champions scoring record; Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson held the previous mark of 3 under 67, set in 2005 at nearby Huntingdon Valley Country Club.

Senior Division

  Edgmont Country Club’s Michael Quinn registered a 2-over-par 72 to top the event’s Senior Division (par 70, 6,092 yards).

Michael Quinn

   “It’s unbelievable because of the competition,” Quinn, 64, of East Fallowfield, Pa., said. “We’ve got the club champions from one of the best sections in the country, so I feel really lucky to be able to persevere.”

  Quinn, the 2013 Brewer Cup runner-up, carded three birdies against five bogeys on the day. On No. 2 (par 4, 377 yards), he knocked a sand wedge 108 yards to 20 feet and converted the downhill putt. An aggressive drive on the par 4, 316-yard 10th hole left Quinn on a patch of dirt 45 yards from the flagstick. He then stopped a 56-degree wedge at 30 inches. Quinn lifted a 56-degree wedge from 92 yards out of a divot and dropped a 15-footer in the heart for a birdie on No. 15 (par 4, 372 yards).

   “I’m happy with my play from tee to green,” Quinn said. “I putted well today. The only thing that really held me back this year was putting. I really hope to work on my putting for next year to be more competitive.”

  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 because of an illness. The Golf Association of Philadelphia added a Senior Division in 1992.

  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 143 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.

Results

Amateur Division

Name, club

Scores

Michael R. Brown, Philadelphia Publinks GA

64

Ryan Kline, Golden Oaks Golf Club

70

Vincent Kwon, Links Golf Club

71

Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

72

Austin Smith, Huntsville Golf Club

73

John LeBoeuf, Philadelphia Country Club

73

Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton

73

Joseph Roeder, Little Mill Country Club

75

Mark Farley, Lu Lu Country Club

75

Neil Gordon, Five Ponds Golf Club

75

Brian Rothaus, Five Ponds Golf Club

77

Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club

77

Kevin Kramarski, Riverton Country Club

77

Eric Slawter, St. Davids Golf Club

78

Ben Feld, Green Valley Country Club

79

Gene Flanagan, The Springhaven Club

79

Jonathan Radick, Northampton Valley Country Club

79

Edward Enoch, Old York Road Country Club

80

John Willadsen, Sakima Country Club

80

Michael Walker, Loch Nairn Golf Club

80

Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club

80

Michael Fireman, Talamore Country Club

81

Patrick Welsh, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

81

Brian DiStefano, Loch Nairn Golf Club

82

Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club

82

Joseph Kinsman, Coatesville Country Club

83

Connor Sharp, Torresdale-Frankford Country Club

84

Dave Gardener, Middletown Country Club

84

Michael Beran, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

84

Steven Passalacqua, Wedgwood Country Club

84

Adam Warner, Merchantville Country Club

85

Michael Korcuba, Medford Village Country Club

85

Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club

85

Kevin Bondi, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

86

Larry Gauger, Radnor Valley Country Club

87

Tom Moogan, Cedarbrook Country Club

89

Jeff Scharf, Downingtown Country Club

91

Karl Janke, Golden Pheasant Golf Club

92

Paul Kupcha, Hidden Creek Golf Club

92

Shiv Shah, Deerwood Country Club

96

John Speidel, Limekiln Golf Club

98

Brian Kenny, Greate Bay Country Club

NS

Cameron Campbell, McCall Golf & Country Club

DQ

Daniel Hewson, West Chester Golf & Country Club

WD

Simon Hagger, Fieldstone Golf Club

WD

Senior Division

Name, club

Scores

Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club

72

Tom DiCinti, Little Mill Country Club

76

Brian Corbett, Huntsville Golf Club

77

Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton

77

Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club

77

Roc Irey, Lookaway Golf Club

77

Alan Van Horn, Commonwealth National Golf Club

78

Edward Enoch, Old York Road Country Club

78

Frank Polizzi, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

78

Jay Ward, Cedarbrook Country Club

78

Robin McCool, Saucon Valley Country Club

78

Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club

79

Jon Mabry, Moorestown Field Club

79

Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club

79

Thomas Michalek, LedgeRock Golf Club

79

Chappy Rice, Golden Pheasant Golf Club

80

Dave Jacobson, Medford Village Country Club

80

Mike Owsik, Philadelphia Publinks GA

80

Scott Sherman, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

81

Andrew Harmer, The Springhaven Club

82

Keith Li, Heidelberg Country Club

82

Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club

82

William Erskine, Skippack Golf Club

82

Mark Quigley, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club

83

Rick Bunn, McCall Golf & Country Club

83

Edward Ellis, Chester Valley Golf Club

84

Marlin Detweiler, Lancaster Country Club

84

John Kernan, Riverton Country Club

85

Bill Moyer, Downingtown Country Club

86

Frank Tuscano, North Hills Country Club

86

Jim Macallister, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club

86

Bill Augustyn, West Chester Golf & Country Club

87

Donald Ashley, Philadelphia Country Club

88

Gary Gordon, Philadelphia Cricket Club

88

Herb Feinstein, Talamore Country Club

89

Paul Koelling, Greate Bay Country Club

89

Ed Zebrowski, Sea Oaks Golf Club

90

John Cronan, Inniscrone Golf Club

90

John Duke, Sandy Run Country Club

90

John Penn, Sakima Country Club

90

Kurt Hettel, Deerwood Country Club

91

Scott Hynes, Hopewell Valley Golf Club

92

Nate Holtzman, Meadowlands Country Club

97

Ronald Pogue, Limekiln Golf Club

97

Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club

WD

NS - no show; DQ - disqualification; WD - withdrawal

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