BUCKINGHAM, Pa. — When the mist cleared from the Brewer Cup’s qualifying round, Robin McCool rubbed the soot off his shoulders and emerged as the last man standing. He survived an eight-for-one sudden-death playoff that last four holes to seize the final qualifying spot.
And as fate would have it, McCool, a Saucon Valley Country Club member, fulfilled the same role in Wednesday’s finale at Lookaway Golf Club (par 72, 6,562 yards). McCool defeated a virulent Michael Quinn of Edgmont Country Club, 2&1, to take the tournament’s sixth edition and to become its first multi-winner. He also won in 2010 at Sandy Run Country Club.
“It’s a testament to the strength of the field — the fact that the last guy in still has a shot to win the tournament,” McCool, 62, of Bethlehem, Pa., said. “It’s an honor. I really didn’t think I was going to be able to win this tournament again. It just gets harder every year, so I’m delighted. I can’t say I’m really surprised because I hit the ball really well all week. Quite frankly, after I was able to beat Chip [Lutz, the tournament’s No. 1 seed and three-time reigning GAP Senior Player of the Year], I didn’t see there was a reason I couldn’t win.”
McCool pounced with a birdie on the par 5, 500-yard No. 3, powering a 4-iron 210 yards to 25 feet. Quinn hammered a 3-iron hybrid that released to the green’s rear and failed to match McCool’s 4. Following a Quinn misstep on No. 4 (par 4, 387 yards), McCool drilled a 9-iron 130 yards to 10 feet for birdie on No. 5 (par 4, 410 yards) and moved to 3-up. The advantage escalated to four holes once Quinn’s drive on the par 5, 525-yard No. 8 disappeared into the fescue.
Michael Quinn “It was a marathon,” Quinn, 63, of East Fallowfield, Pa., said. “You had to play good for five rounds. Today, I got in too big of a hole to climb out of, and Robin played very well on the front side.”
But Quinn didn’t vanish entirely. He babied a sand wedge 70 yards to 15 feet for a 3 on No. 10 (par 4, 315 yards). That scene replayed on the par 5, 512-yard 13th hole, which cut his deficit to two holes.
“As the day wore on, I was for some reason having a real difficult time judging the speed of the greens,” McCool said. “That’s kind of where the trouble started.”
A calm and collected McCool stayed persistent, however, and sunk a string of hole-halving putts to secure the hardware. On No. 15 (par 3, 152 yards), he rolled a 20-footer for birdie eight feet past the jar and made the comebacker. The par 4, 406-yard 16th told a similar tale. McCool smashed a 6-iron 170 yards to 25 feet above the hole location and a sunk a six-foot comebacker to prevent a Quinn rally.
“My mistakes on the putting green were being too tentative,” Quinn said. “I had probably five putts today that were either one or two inches short, dead in the heart, or just lipping out.”
McCool and Quinn posted the same margin of victory over their respective opponents: Lancaster Country Club’s Marlin Detweiler and Little Mill Country Club’s Tom DiCinti. Both players won the opening hole and never trailed en route to the Final.
“I’m not used to playing that much golf,” DiCinti, 64, of Voorhees, N.J., said. “I didn’t feel it, but I sensed that I might have been a little tired, and as a result, I just wasn’t making the shots. Mike played exceptionally well, and it forced me to try and do things outside my comfort zone. I got down too early and couldn’t make the comeback. I feel privileged to have gotten to this stage [of the tournament].”
“I never got into any kind of pattern,” Detweiler, 56, of Akron, Pa., said. “I just didn’t quite hit my second shot [on the first hole] hard enough, and the way it turned out, it got me going in a bad direction.”
SUPER SENIOR DIVISION
A sought-after Super-Senior sweep remains within Don Donatoni’s reach.
The Division rookie is now three-for-three in Golf Association of Philadelphia tournaments this year. He upended Sakima Country Club’s David Jordan, 2&1, to win the Super-Senior title in the 6th Brewer Cup at Lookaway Golf Club Wednesday. Donatoni captured the Warner Cup (Gross) and Chapman Cup (Gross) earlier this year. He is the first player to win all three in the same year since Back Creek Golf Club’s Charles McClaskey did so in 2011.
“It’s an honor to win this one because of Gordon and what he represents to all of us,” Donatoni, 65, of Malvern, Pa., said. “He’s a special man and an iconic figure in Philadelphia golf. As far as I’m concerned, this is the crème de la crème of events.”
ABOUT THE BREWER CUP
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.
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