Philadelphia (GAP) Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship: Borsello and Domenick win

MIDDLETOWN, Del. (June 8, 2011) – Four teams filed a 4-under-par 67 to finish tied atop Wednesday’s Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play at Back Creek GC (par 71, 6,287 yards).

  In a scorecard playoff, Tom Borsello of White Clay Creek CC and Michael Domenick of Phoenixville CC prevailed thanks to a birdie on No. 17 (par 3, 163 yards). They edged the teams of Don Donatoni of White Manor CC and Michael Rose of Meadowlands CC, Jay Howson, Jr. of St. Davids GC and Charles McClaskey of Back Creek GC, and Arthur Jacoby of Commonwealth National GC and Alan Van Horn of Lu Lu CC. The Association uses the USGA-recommended method of scorecard tiebreaking.

  Borsello, of Wilmington, Del., became available to compete in Wednesday’s event thanks to a scheduling change, so he made a string of phone calls before landing Domenick, of Phoenixville, Pa., for a playing partner. The two share similar playing styles, which created natural cohesion on the golf course.

  “He and I play the same kind of game,” Domenick, 56, said. “He hits it a little farther than I do. We play it straight and try to keep it in play. We stayed together pretty much.”

  “We both had our moments of greatness and some despair,” Borsello, 57, said. “We kind of ham-and-egged it when we had to. We didn’t drop a shot, which was important. He was a good fit. He’s a great guy to play with.”

  Borsello, who captured the Warner Cup (Gross) a month ago at Lu Lu CC, carded three birdies for the team. He smacked a sand wedge 80 yards to three feet on No. 7 (par 4, 366 yards). He knocked a 9-iron 135 yards to 18-feet flagstick-high on No. 10 (par 4, 405 yards).

  “I got lucky and snuck it in,” he said. “The putt was kind of right-to-left at the beginning, and it flattened probably the last 13 feet of the hole. It luckily stayed on its line.”

  After Domenick nearly aced the par 3, 163-yard 17th hole with a 5-hybrid into the wind, Borsello stopped his 5-iron at 18-feet and drained the downhill right-to-left breaker. Domenick, however, did start the team’s red figure engine. On the shortish par 5, 505-yard 5th hole, he lofted his 54-degree wedge 85 yards to 15 feet and drained the left-to-right breaker.

  “It was one of those putts you figure you’re not going to make, so you just hit it, and it went in. That kind of got us started,” Domenick said.

  Borsello and Domenick, a pair of relative newcomers to the Association’s Senior circuit, have known one another for years. They’ve competed in tri-state tournaments and honorary events together. Domenick was glad Borsello dialed his number when it came time to find a teammate.

  “I wasn’t going to travel down here unless somebody maybe called me to play for once,” Domenick said. “I’m always the guy who calls.”

  Donatoni, of Malvern, Pa., hit 15 greens in regulation en route to a sensational round.

  “He could’ve shot 64 or 63 on his own ball,” Rose, 64, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said. “If he had a really hot putting round, it would have been all over. I’m happy that he brings me along to play. We’re a good team, and we have fun.”

  “I had a great playing partner,” Donatoni, 63, added. “He helped me read the greens out here. This was a battle of attrition. The weather was draining. The wind was difficult today.”

  Donatoni’s flatstick caught fire on No. 5. The 2008 Chapman Cup (Gross) Champion pummeled his 4-iron 192 yards to 25-feet and ran his eagle effort into tap-in territory. Donatoni stopped a 58-degree wedge at eight feet on No. 7 (par 4, 366 yards) and watched the uphill left-to-right breaker drop inside the left edge of the cup. A routine two-putt on No. 11 occurred following an 180-yard 5-iron set-up. Trying to overcome a relentless wind on No. 16 (par 5, 480 yards), Donatoni flushed his 3-wood 235 yards into the bunker. A spectacular 58-degree wedge exit from 30 yards out bounced to within inches of the jar.

  “That was my best shot of the day. I knew it was going to be close,” Donatoni, who captured the Senior Division in the 2010 Tournament of Champions, said.

  Rose provided a crucial par save on No. 6 (par 4, 319 yards) that kept the team’s scorecard bogey-free. After popping his drive, Rose witnessed his 9-iron come out fat and fly 100 yards. However, a sound chip shot stopped six feet shy, and Rose deposited the par putt. Donatoni and Rose, as well as Carl Everett of Merion GC and Neil McDermott of Llanerch CC, are the reigning Senior Four-Man Team titleholders.

  Two of the Association’s most dominant Super- Seniors joined forces to scorch Back Creek. Howson, the 2009 Super-Senior Player of the Year, and McClaskey, the 2011 Super-Senior Player of the Year, submitted a bogey-free scorecard that also featured four red marks.

  “Charlie’s putting was key for us,” Howson said.

  “We zigged-and- zagged pretty good,” McClaskey added.

  McClaskey, the current Super-Senior Player of the Year leader, powered his 5-iron 198 yards on No. 5 and cozied a 30-footer close to the cup. Howson’s smooth wedge from 110 yards out landed seven-feet from the flagstick on No. 7 (par 4, 366 yards). McClaskey, 72, of Elkton, Md., put his 4-iron into the right greenside bunker on No. 11 (par 5, 470 yards), but a spectacular sand shot stopped eight inches from the drain. He slapped a sand wedge 100 yards to 12-feet on No. 13 (par 4, 407 yards) and cleaned up the birdie putt.

  Howson and McClaskey hold a remarkable 14 Senior titles between the two. Adding another piece of hardware to the mantle, however, wasn’t necessarily what mattered most.

  We had fun, and that was the goal,” Howson, 73, of Malvern, Pa., said. “Wining would have been a bonus.”

  Jacoby, 63, of Wynocte, Pa., and Van Horn, who started on the back nine, birdied three of their first four holes to generate momentum. On No. 10 (par 4, 405 yards), Van Horn, 61, of Ambler, Pa., launched his 28-degree rescue 168 yards to 30-feet and executed a left-to-right breaker from behind the hole location. His sand wedge sailed 87 yards and settled three inches from the jar on No. 11 (par 5, 470 yards). Van Horn’s flatstick stayed as hot as the weather when he arrived at No. 13 (par 4, 407 yards). He hit his 8-iron 142 yards to 15-feet. Jacoby and Van Horn experience a bump in the road on No. 18 (par 4, 414 yards). They both dumped their approaches into the greenside bunker and failed to get up-and-down. Jacoby, the Association’s1975 Amateur Champion, recovered the lost stroke by striking his 7-iron to three feet on No. 2 (par 3, 168 yards). Both he and Van Horn reached the No. 5. green in two strokes and two-putted for birdie.

  “We play in at least four or five events a year together,” Van Horn said. “We’ve known each other since we were 18, 20 years old. He’s a former GAP Amateur Champion. I try to play with him as often as I can.”

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