BUCKINGHAM, Pa. — A former champion, a reigning runner-up and a pair of Golf Association of Philadelphia stalwarts advanced into the 6th Brewer Cup semifinals Tuesday at Lookaway Golf Club. Saucon Valley Country Club’s Robin McCool, the 2010 titleholder, is joined by Lancaster Country Club’s Marlin Detweiler, Little Mill Country Club’s Tom DiCinti and Edgmont Country Club’s Michael Quinn.
McCool and Detweiler, who fell to MCool’s clubmate Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. in the Final a year ago, will square off at 8 a.m. tomorrow, with the DiCinti and Quinn contest to follow at 8:07 a.m.
“I played very well today. I found my swing on the front nine this morning,” McCool, 62, of Bethlehem, Pa., said. “Obviously, it worked pretty well the rest of the day. I may have missed two shots all day. The match against Chip was particularly satisfying because he’s such a tremendous player and a great guy. I knew I had to shoot several under par to even have a chance, and that’s pretty much what happened.”
Pretty much indeed. McCool, who last reached the semifinals in 2011, ousted medalist and three-time reigning GAP Senior Player of the Year Chip Lutz of LedgeRock Golf Club, 2&1, before defeating Merion Golf Club’s Robert Wagner, 3&2. He played both matches in the stroke play equivalent of 5 under. McCool built a 2-up edge over Wagner by taking the par 3, 182-yard No. 6, where he launched a 20-degree hybrid to two feet for birdie. Nearly two years removed from spinal fusion surgery, McCool is now healthy and comfortable with his game.
“I don’t have the length I once had, but I’ve been relieved of all the pain I had,” he said.
Detweiler’s journey to the semifinals also proved unscripted and downright wild.
In the Round of 16, he held a one-hole advantage only once before claiming the final two holes for a 2-up victory over Lookaway’s Bob Majczan. Furthermore, Detweiler never led in his quarterfinal clash with Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Michael Dougherty, the 2009 Brewer Cup Champion. He again relied on a parcel of late heroics to triumph. On No. 17 (par 5, 520 yards), Detweiler flared a 5-iron 192 yards to 30 feet flag-high. He pitched to seven feet and cleaned up the birdie putt. Dougherty’s 90-yard approach stopped 10 feet from the hole location, and he failed to match Detweiler’s score. The drama intensified on the par 4, 410-yard 18th hole. After snapping his drive into the hazard, Detweiler sent an uphill 4-iron 186 yards to 20 feet and drained the par putt. Dougherty couldn’t convert a sand save, sending the session into overtime. Both players found the fairway on No. 1 (par 4, 376 yards). Dougherty, playing first, steered his approach from 145 yards into a difficult lie in the left rough — some 60 feet from the hole location. Detweiler’s knockdown 8-iron from 134 yards stopped eight feet above the hole. He soon earned a conceded 3 and a handshake.
“I’ve been very fortunate. Both matches could’ve gone the other way very easily,” Detweiler, 56, of Akron, Pa., said.
What makes Detweiler’s semifinals appearance even more arcane is his putter, which broke on the 11th green during his match against Majczan.
“I heard a really funny sound, and I looked down and my shaft was bent,” Detweiler said. “I picked it up, and the head stayed on the ground. I gathered my wits. I knew I could replace the putter, and I knew I was near the golf shop to get one.”
Detweiler finished the hole with a 6-iron. He and Majczan halved No. 11 with 4s.
“It seemed like my broken putter rattled him more than it did me at that point,” he said.
Like Detweiler, Quinn mustered a bit of a rally to squeeze past Saucon Valley’s Joe Viechnicki, 2&1, in the quarterfinals. He lost the opening three holes before gaining control with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 9 (par 4, 354 yards) and 10 (par 4, 283 yards). Quinn hit a sand wedge 97 yards to 20 feet on the first, a 15-yard chip to four feet on the latter. He clinched victory with an eagle on the par 5, 520-yard 17th hole, smashing a 5-wood 233 yards to the collar’s edge.
“I had to putt through maybe two feet of fringe, and I had left so many putts short that didn’t go in, so I rammed it right in the middle,” Quinn, 63, of East Fallowfield, Pa., said. “If it didn’t go in, it was probably four feet by. It was a great match with great sportsmanship and camaraderie.”
Quinn seeks his second GAP Senior trophy. He won the Chapman (Gross) in 2011 at DiCinti’s home course. DiCinti gained his first Brewer semifinals berth by knocking off defending champion Bartolacci, 1-up.
“It’s been exciting,” DiCinti, 64, of Voorhees, N.J., said. “I’ve qualified for match play three other times, and lost all three matches, so I’m experienced at getting to that point. I’ve been playing so well over the last month that I expected to get deep into the tournament. I’m hoping that I can continue to play well.”
DiCinti points to the 17th hole as the match’s critical juncture. With the contest All-Square, he lifted a 3-wood from 239 yards out of a friendly lie in the right rough to four feet. Bartolacci’s 5-iron from 190 yards fell 20 yards short of the putting surface. His eagle effort stopped 10 feet short, and he granted DiCinti’s 3 after missing his putt for 4.
“About six weeks ago, I switched from a long to a short putter,” DiCinti said. “I’ve been putting very well. I’m getting really comfortable with it.”
David Jordan Super-Senior
White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni is one step closer to a third Super-Senior title in as many attempts. He defeated Merion Golf Club’s Fred Jones, 4&3, to reach the Final, where he’ll oppose Sakima Country Club’s David Jordan.
“I couldn’t play in this event last year; work got in the way,” Donatoni, 65, of Malvern, Pa., said. “I didn’t allow work to get in the way this year. I wanted to play because it brings out the best Super-Seniors in the GAP. I was able to stay in the moment, which is so important in match play. I felt like I was able to play the next shot and commit to it.”
Donatoni held a 4-up advantage at the turn, but lost No. 10 (par 4, 283 yards) thanks to a Jones’ birdie. He left a wedge eight feet below the No. 11 (par 3, 129 yards) flagstick and regained the momentum with a 2.
“That was a huge moment in the match. It gave me a cushion,” Donatoni said. “I was able to play a little bit more relaxed in that position. I was rolling the rock nicely today. I saw the lines well and finally figured out the speed of the greens.”
Jordan’s played seven rounds of golf in the last six days, and his game syncing rather than shriveling. He upended Whitemarsh Valley Country Club’s Frank Polizzi, 4&3, in the semifinals.
“It’s the first time I’ve even made the [match play] cut, so I’m ecstatic about the whole thing,” Jordan, 70, of Swedesboro, N.J., said. “I never expected to play this well. There so many good players in the Philadelphia section, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve been getting beat by the same guys all my life. To come out here and do this is so unexpected and unbelievable.”
Jordan won the first hole against Polizzi and never looked back. He iced the contest on the par 3, 138-yard 15th hole with a 7-iron/two-putt combination for par.
The Super-Senior Final is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. tomorrow.
The Brewer Cup is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., the former president of Pine Valley Golf Club. He 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. Four years ago he was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.
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.
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