PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — When Lookaway Golf Club hosts its club championship this weekend, members Michael Anton, Frank Ferino, Roc Irey and Thomas Mallouk may become enemies as they battle for the crown.
They’re allies until then, and on Thursday, they banded together to attack the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 24th Senior Four-Man Team, sponsored by PerryGolf.
Anton, Ferino, Irey and Mallouk scorched a sweltering Plymouth Country Club ((par 72, 6,274 yards) to the tune of a 10-under-par 134 and a one-stroke victory. Team scores are determined using the two best balls of four.
“We had a lot of good reads on the greens today, and we hit a lot of good putts basically,” Mallouk, 63, of Doylestown, Pa., said.
“We made a lot of good birdie putts, but we also had a lot of clutch pars,” Anton, 64, of New Hope, Pa., added. “I loved the fairways on the shorter holes.”
The Lookaway crew picked Mallouk’s brain throughout the day. Mallouk was a Plymouth member for nearly 10 years and won its Seniors Championship in 1999.
“It was really like coming home,” he said. “It’s fun to come to a golf course where you can hit wedges. I’m a short-hitter, so I don’t get to hit them often.”
Ferino started the squad’s subpar scoring with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 374 yards), gashing a gap wedge 104 yards to 18 feet. Irey inked a 3 on the next hole (par 4, 366 yards) by cranking a 58-degree wedge 85 yards to 12 feet. It was Anton’s turn on the par 4, 294-yard No. 4, where he stopped an 84-yard wedge at a foot. The Lookaway crew mastered No. 7 (par 3, 135 yard) with a trio of birdies. Solid 7-irons led to a left-to-right breaking 25-footer from Mallouk and a buzzing 20-footer from Anton. Irey snaked in a 12-footer following a gap wedge tee shot.
Mallouk stayed hot by adding birdies on the next two holes. He whacked a wedge 60 yards to eight feet above the No. 8 (par 5, 475 yards) flagstick. On the uphill par 4, 387-yard No. 9, Mallouk crushed a rescue from 190 yards onto the right fringe and holed the ensuing double-breaker. Anton added a 3 on the next hole (par 4, 299 yards), knocking a 58-degree wedge 50 yards to five feet. Ferino followed with an 88-yard gap wedge to 20 feet for birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 378 yards). The Lookaway crew moved to 8 under thanks to an Irey birdie on the par 3, 201-yard 14th hole, set up by a 5-iron to 20 feet. Mallouk converted a left-to-right breaking five-footer after a drilling a pitching wedge 100 yards on the 17th hole (par 5, 523 yards), which put his team in a tie with clubhouse leaders Andrew Harmer, Robert Maze, Rich Thon and John Turner of The Springhaven Club.
“I know where we stood [on the leaderboard],” Irey, 61, of Furlong, Pa., said.
And with that knowledge at hand, Irey came up clutch on No. 18 (par 5, 481 yards). He sent a 58-degree wedge 88 yards to 20 feet above the flagstick and sunk the birdie putt. Once his golf ball rattled in, Anton and Mallouk raised their arms while Ferino cheered his comrade.
“It’s always fun to play with these guys,” Ferino, 55, of Furlong, Pa., said. “The golf course was in great shape. I enjoyed it.”
Playing in the day’s first group starting on No. 10, Harmer, Maze, Thon and Turner posted a 9-under-par 135. Harmer carded a 6-under-par 66 on his own ball, tallying four birdies and an eagle.
“They made it easy for me,” Harmer, 58, of Media, Pa., added. “They were in every hole. I had no anxiety.”
On No. 18, Harmer nudged a 60-degree wedge 27 yards to 12 feet and converted the 18-inch breaker for birdie. He nailed a wedge 102 yards to six feet below the flagstick for birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 366 yards). The par 4, 294-yard No. 4 provided a more outrageous and unconventional 3. After striping his drive down the fairway, he stubbed a wedge from 44 yards. Harmer then executed a pitch that found its way into the cup.
“I just hit it on the green and it rolled the whole way,” he said. “Somehow it stayed online and reached the hole.”
Harmer returned to the squad’s red figure stage by finishing eagle-birdie. He crushed a 5-hybrid 177 yards to 18 feet on No. 8 (par 5, 475 yards). And consider Harmer’s effort on the par 4, 387-yard No. 9 as wild as his pitch-in five holes earlier. A wayward drive left Harmer along the left tree-line. He then snap hooked a 6-iron from 159 yards onto the green and slammed in a straightaway 45-footer for birdie.
“Anything can happen with Harmer,” Maze, 59, of Broomall, Pa., said. “You know the commercial where the dog’s throwing the ball back out? That’s playing with Harmer: hits the tree and immaculately comes back into the fairway.”
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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