ROYERSFORD, Pa. — Most golfers dislike heavy thunderstorms that delay or cancel tournaments. Thomas Timby, Jr. doesn’t hold any ill will. He initially couldn’t play in the Martson Cup because of a business conflict, but severe weather forced Golf Association of Philadelphia officials to postpone the event a month ago.
The rescheduled date fit Timby’s schedule, and The Bucks Club member made the most of his newfound spot in the field. Timby carded a marvelous 4-under-par 68 to achieve his first GAP victory at a comfortable Spring Ford Country Club (par 72, 6,521 yards) Thursday.
“It feels great,” Timby, 43, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “I think anytime you can win in this area, it’s great. There are some great players here. To be able to put my name on a Golf Association of Philadelphia trophy is fantastic.”
Course familiarity, coupled with a pinpoint putter, contributed to Timby’s conquest of the 65-player field.
“I played with Michael Brown [the 2010 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year] in the better-ball Winter Series event in the spring, so I kind of knew the course a little bit,” Timby, who owns and operates a medical distribution company, said. “I knew where to go. I played a lot of golf this summer, which is rare for me. Lately, my putter came around, and I made some putts. That really calms you in these events.”
Timby foreshadowed the day to come with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 430 yards), where he bumped a 9-iron 136 yards to five feet. A critical choice on the par 5, 519-yard No. 5 behooved Timby’s bogey-free effort. After sending his second shot into a row of trees, he elected to lay a wedge onto the fairway rather than attempt to carry a water hazard. Timby managed to save par from 70 yards before firing back-to-back birdies. He knocked a lob wedge 86 yards to three feet on No. 6 (par 4, 314 yards) and stopped a 6-iron at 15 feet on No. 7 (par 3, 188 yards). Timby nearly reached the par 5, 501-yard 15th hole in two strokes with a 3-wood from 238 yards. He let gravity pull his ensuing pitch to two feet for a 4. A pinpoint putter again proved clutch on the next hole (par 3, 196 yards). Timby pushed a 6-iron right, nudged a wedge to 15 feet and executed a left-to-right breaker.
“If you’re putting well, you can make mistakes like that and not have to feel like you have to get that close,” he said.
By virtue of his victory, Timby is now exempt into the 2014 GAP Amateur and Middle-Amateur Championships as well as the Joseph H. Patterson Cup.
“Mostly in the past, I’ve gotten my exemptions by qualifying for USGA events,” he said. “It’s great to play another round of golf, but it’s nice to be able to set your schedule, so to speak.”
Patrick O'Brien North Hills Country Club’s Patrick O’Brien earned runner-up honors with a 2-under-par 70 — his best performance in a GAP event.
“I’ve been close with these rounds. I’ll shoot 3 under on the front, and then I’ll shoot 4 over on the back,” O’Brien, 53, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “I just haven’t put two together, so this is a little bit better. I know the course really well. I think you can score on the back nine, with the two par 5s and some of the shorter holes.”
The lively lefty posted back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 (par 4, 378 yards) and 4 (par 3, 141 yards). He stuffed a sand wedge from 90 yards to a foot on the first, a 9-iron at 15 feet on the latter. A wayward tee shot on the par 4, 314-yard No. 6 put O’Brien in an inauspicious position underneath pine trees. With a small window to the flagstick, he slung a 4-iron to 25 feet and converted the birdie putt.
“I would’ve been happy with a 4 there,” O’Brien said. “I tried to punch it out under the tree and hit it on the front left side of the green, and it just rolled pin high, and that was it.”
Given his old GAP habits, a perpetual plunge seemed fathomable when O’Brien made the turn in 2 under. A bogey on No. 10 (par 4, 403 yards) continued that trend, but O’Brien recovered with pair of birdies coming in. He hit a 7-iron 162 yards to 15 feet on No. 13 (par 4, 353 yards) and hammered a rescue club 225 yards to 18-feet on No. 15 (par 5, 501 yards) and two-putted.
The Marston Cup honors Max Marston. For four months in the summer of 1923, Marston was America’s best amateur golfer. Between mid-May and mid-September, Marston was virtually unstoppable through a series of club, state, national and international events.
It began with the Walker Cup Matches, where Marston won two matches as the Americans successfully retained the Cup. Marston returned home to capture the Patterson Cup and Amateur Championship in successive weeks and, in doing so, earned the Silver Cross Award. In July, he took the Pennsylvania Amateur title and finished as low amateur in the Golf Association of Philadelphia Open. In September, Marston traveled to Floosmoor Country Club outside Chicago, Ill. for the U.S. Amateur. He rallied in the second round to defeat tournament favorite Bob Jones, 2&1, before knocking off Francis Ouimet in the semifinals. He stopped defending champion Jess Sweetser in the final on the 38th hole. In that four month span, he also captured the Merion Cricket Club championship and Pine Valley Golf Club’s Crump Cup.
The tournament is limited to players 40 to 54 years of age with a 10.0 handicap index or lower.
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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