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Oct. 7, 2016

Michael R. Brown, Jr. eyes his drive on No. 7 (par 4, 426 yards).

Philadelphia Publinks’ Brown bags 59th Tournament of Champions

  WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Michael R. Brown, Jr. turned a potentially disastrous round into a triumphant one Friday. After staring at 4 over through five holes, the Maple Shade, N.J. resident played his next 13 in 5 under. The transformation meant a 1-under-par 70 on the scorecard and a victory in the 59th Tournament of Champions at Concord Country Club (par 71, 6,624 yards).

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  Old York Country Club at Chesterfield’s Ryan Siegler placed second at 71.

  “It’ll be nice to go into the winter with a good round under my belt,” Brown, who won the Tournament of Champions in 2013 at Philmont Country Club, said. “It’s nice to have hung in there and finished strong down the stretch.”

  A strong finish indeed. Brown, 43, bagged a birdie on the unsettling par 5, 565-yard 14th hole, knocking a wedge 73 yards to six feet. A sharp wedge from 101 yards on No. 16 (par 4, 440 yards), followed by 10-foot putt, yielded an identical result. Brown burrowed into red with an eagle on the uphill, 318-yard 17th hole. Deeming it reachable with a powerful drive, he pulverized one 10 yards shy of the putting surface. Brown then executed a low bump chip that darted 25 yards into the jar.

  “It was the shot I was hoping to hit. It didn’t waver and it had good speed,” he said.

Brown’s back nine contrasted his front. A three-putt on No. 1 (par 4, 391 yards) and a skulled wedge on No. 2 (par 4, 325 yards) spurned bogeys. He flung a 3-wood into the water hazard on No. 5 (par 4, 370 yards), the catalyst to a disheartening 6. Brown started to plug the leaks by firing a birdie on No. 7 (par 4, 426 yards), where he hit a 6-iron 160 yards to five feet. The conversion triggered a sampling of encouragement.

  “I thought with a couple of reachable par 5s on the back nine, it was possible to get it back down around par or maybe under par,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t say that got me jumpstarted, but I knew I wasn’t completely out of it at that point.”

  Brown previously experienced Concord firsthand “five or seven years ago.” He relished a return.

  “It was a treat,” Brown, the Association’s 2009 Middle-Amateur Champion, said. “It’s a lot different than what I remember. They did some really good work here. It’s a lot more traditional than it was before. The bunkers are placed properly. The conditions were immaculate.”

  Upon the completion of his round, Brown raced to Jeffersonville Golf Club for the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association’s Fall Classic. Save for Friday’s feverish festivities, his packed tournament schedule is drawing to a close. The 2016 campaign saw Brown fall in a four-hole aggregate playoff for the Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf. He will rank 10th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings thanks to Friday’s win.

  “I had some good moments in GAP and in the Pennsylvania Golf Association. I was really disappointed with my results in USGA qualifying events,” Brown said of the 2016 tournament season. “Overall, I kind of have a bad taste in my mouth because those are the most important tournaments to me. The (GAP) Middle-Amateur was a good experience and a good memory because they’re two of my friends [Matthew Mattare and Matthew Finger]. It was a good year overall. I don’t want to put a bad spin on it.”

Don Donatoni

Senior & Super Senior
  He’s the Don, Don.

  White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni continued his fall tear Friday. The four-time reigning Super-Super Player of the Year drained a 15-foot downhiller for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 369 yards) to defeat Fox Hill Country Club’s Robert Gill in a sudden-death playoff for the Senior (par 71, 6,262 yards) trophy.

  Both players carded even-par 71s in regulation.

  “It has been a heck of year, and a tremendous last month or two,” Donatoni, 68, of Malvern, Pa., said. “My bunker play was a little shaky early in the year. I worked on it hard and it paid off in critical situations. I was able to put it together at the right times.”

  In the span of two months, Donatoni’s acquired the Super-Senior titles in the Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship, GAP Senior Amateur Championship, Sunnehanna Senior and Art Wall, Jr. Memorial.

  On No. 1, Donatoni accounted for a lesson learned in regulation. He knocked a wedge from a similar distance (116 yards), only to see it peel off the green. In the playoff, he choked down on a 9-iron and carried it 126 yards. Donatoni poured the left-to-right slider in the center.

  At White Manor, Donatoni holds 31 club championships (19 Men’s, 12 Senior). He won the Tournament of Champions (Senior Division) in 2010, but declined to participate since, citing end-of-season fatigue. Wins of late sparked a newfound energy and enthusiasm to return.

  “I really wanted to play this year because I still know I can compete with the guys at the Senior level,” Donatoni said. “I didn’t expect to win, but that was the icing on the cake. To shoot even par and birdie the first [playoff] hole made it extra special.”

  Spring Ford Country Club’s Steve Tagert will celebrate his 67th birthday tomorrow. He unwrapped an early present Friday, carding a 3-over-par 74 to earn the event’s Super-Senior (par 71, 5,811 yards) title.

  “I struck the ball well. I think I missed two greens all day,” Tagert, of Collegeville, Pa., said. “I felt really good about my play.”

  Tagert sketched a 1-under-par 35 on his inward tour. On the uphill par 3, 124-yard 11th hole, he stopped a 9-iron at four feet for a 2. He also birdied the 13th hole (par 4, 362 yards), sending a wedge 85 yards to six feet. Not too shabby, considering Friday marked Tagert’s second tournament of the season. He plans to increase the competitive workload in 2017, however. Tagert, president of Aqua America – Pennsylvania, will retire after 46 years of service.

  Open to current Member Club amateur champions, senior amateur champions and previous winners, the Tournament of Champions began in 1962 in memory of Larry Malmed. The Golf Association of Philadelphia accepted the event in 1984 after Al Porter, the tournament’s coordinator, was forced to retire because of an illness. A Senior Division was added in 1992.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  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 153 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

Championship Flight

Name, club

Score

Michael R. Brown, Jr., Philadelphia Publinks GA

70

Ryan Siegler, Old York CC at Chesterfield

71

Benjamin Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

73

James Furness, Reading Country Club

73

Matt Dudas, Indian Valley Country Club

73

Chris Owen, Hartefeld National

74

Robert Bechtold, Fieldstone Golf Club

74

Erik Reisner, The ACE Club

75

Joe Perese, Philmont Country Club

75

Joe Rossi, Squires Golf Club

75

Rich Pruchnik, Coatesville Country Club

75

Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club

75

Frank Natale, Sunnybrook Golf Club

76

J.T. Spina, Spring Ford Country Club

77

Jim Donnelly, Merion Golf Club

77

John Barry, Lancaster Country Club

77

Joseph Dulka, Bellewood Country Club

77

Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton

77

Adam Bracy, Rancocas Golf Club

78

David Shields, Flourtown Country Club

78

Jordan Wycoff, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

78

Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club

79

Matt Bierer, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

79

Michael Anton, Lookaway Golf Club

79

Michael Walker, Hartefeld National

79

Dave Locher, McCall Golf & Country Club

81

Ryan Fogel, Penn Oaks Golf Club

81

Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia Cricket Club

81

Brendan Clearkin, Jr., Old York Road Country Club

82

Greg O'Connor, Bellewood Country Club

82

Jonathan Radick, Spring Mill Country Club

82

Robert Olseski, Sandy Run Country Club

82

Bob Dickson, Hershey's Mill Golf Club

83

Mike Korcuba, Medford Village Country Club

83

Matthew Osorio, Merchantville Country Club

84

Brandon Capone, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

85

Bernie McCole, The Bucks Club

86

Frederick Snow, Stonewall

86

J.B. Whaley, Sakima Country Club

86

Dave Long, Honeybrook Golf Club

87

Peter Gaumer, Plymouth Country Club

87

Paul Amess, The Springhaven Club

88

Charles Clark, West Chester Golf & Country Club

90

Michael Mendola, Inniscrone Golf Club

91

Senior Flight

Name, club

Score

*Don Donatoni, White Manor Country Club

71

Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club

71

Kenneth Mangin, Philadelphia Publinks GA

72

Paul Hess, Hartefeld National

74

Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club

75

John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club

75

John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club

75

Bryan Marvin, Old York Road Country Club

76

Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club

76

Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club

76

Bob Arthur, Tavistock Country Club

77

Mark Szilagyi, Brookside Country Club

77

Perry Landis, Moselem Springs Golf Club

77

Jon Sobocinski, Hershey's Mill Golf Club

79

Mark Carrier, Concord Country Club

79

Steve Lyons, Applecross Country Club

79

Guy McKeone, Reading Country Club

80

John LeBoeuf, Merion Golf Club

80

Leonard Pearson, Philmont Country Club

80

Morgan Maxwell, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

81

Patrick O'Brien, North Hills Country Club

81

Bill Moyer, Spring Ford Country Club

82

Bruce Gladish, Sandy Run Country Club

82

Richard Holstein, Rolling Green Golf Club

83

Bill Augustyn, West Chester Golf & Country Club

84

Philip Heckler, Wildwood Golf & Country Club

85

Art Caldwell, Sea Oaks Golf Club

86

Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton

86

Daniel Dressel, St. Davids Golf Club

86

J.B. Whaley, Sakima Country Club

86

Michael Doyle, Cedarbrook Country Club

86

Dave Harris, Links Golf Club

87

David Swiderski, Merchantville Country Club

87

Chuck Kraatz, Talamore Country Club

93

Jeffrey Cooper, Meadowlands Country Club

94

Kenneth Daws, McCall Golf & Country Club

103

Gary E. Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club

NC

Tom DiCinti, Old York CC at Chesterfield

NC

Jim O'Brien, Indian Valley Country Club

WD

Super-Senior Flight

Name, club

Score

Steve Tagert, Spring Ford Country Club

74

John Turner, The Springhaven Club

77

Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club

78

Alan Brody, Radnor Valley Country Club

80

Joe Ernst, Sea Oaks Golf Club

80

Hal Morris, Talamore Country Club

81

Thomas Girone, Applecross Country Club

82

Richard Ochroch, Meadowlands Country Club

83

Ed Kocher, LedgeRock Golf Club

84

George Maguire, Old York Road Country Club

84

Arthur Herling, Cedarbrook Country Club

86

Cliff Howard, West Chester Golf & Country Club

86

John Owens, Tavistock Country Club

88

Robert Dilks, Merchantville Country Club

89

* - won in playoff

NC - no card; WD - withdrawal

 

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