MOHNTON, Pa. — Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. of Saucon Valley Country Club finished what he started. After qualifying as medalist in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 5th Brewer Cup, the Washington Crossing, Pa., resident won four matches, never trailing in any, to take the Senior Division title Wednesday. A determined and dependable Bartolacci defeated Marlin Detweiler of Lancaster Country Club, 3&2, in the Final at LedgeRock Golf Club.
“Guys like Gordon (Brewer) and Bill Hyndman are legends, and we’re fortunate to have them in this area,” Bartolacci, 61, said. “We’ve all looked up to Mr. Brewer, and to win a tournament with his name on it is very special to me. I’ve been fortunate enough to play golf with him a few times. He just grinds it out and acts the way you should act. It’s a real personal accomplishment. This is a big win for me.”
“I got into a hole in the beginning, and Tom is just too steady,” Detweiler, 55, of Akron, Pa., said. “This afternoon, I was all over the place.”
As was the case all week, overcoming a deficit against Bartolacci was near impossible. Detweiler learned the hard way on the first hole (par 4, 384 yards). After catching the right rough with an 8-iron approach, Detweiler nestled a chip to five feet but missed the par putt, giving Bartolacci an immediate lead. Detweiler failed to get up-and-down from the fairway bunker on the par 4, 340-yard No. 3 and bogeyed Nos. 9 (par 4, 365 yards) and 10 (par 3, 188 yards) to plummet into a four-hole abyss. Bartolacci, meanwhile, remained superb from tee to green, registering pars that proved monumental.
Detweiler clawed back with a birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 395 yards) after knocking a 9-iron 130 yards to four feet, but the soon-to-be champion wouldn’t budge. Bartolacci stopped a low 5-iron at two feet on the par 3, 172-yard 14th for a conceded 2 and dormie status entering the next hole. After Detweiler canned a 15-footer for par from a difficult ridge, Bartolacci converted a challenging, left-to-right breaking curler from 12 feet above the flagstick to halve the hole and to seal his first individual GAP victory since 2008, when Bartolacci captured the Senior Amateur Championship.
“It’s a hard Association to win tournaments in,” Bartolacci said. “It just was my turn. I came in here playing OK, but I really played well this entire tournament. I changed putters, which was key, and all of a sudden, I felt comfortable on the greens. I played as good as I could probably play.”
“I played some good golf this week,” Detweiler said. “I didn’t feel like anything was particularly spectacular or anything was particularly terrible.”
Bartolacci birdied Nos. 2 (par 3, 141 yards) and 3 (par 4, 340 yards) and never looked back en route to a 6&5 victory over Michael Domenick of Phoenixville Country Club. Domenick had an ideal window to cut the deficit in half on No. 8 (par 5, 532 yards), but missed a 12-footer for birdie that could’ve swayed momentum. Bartolacci then adhered to his popular fairway-green-par formula to keep Domenick at bay.
“This course is very penal if you miss the fairways,” Domenick, 57, of Phoenixville, Pa., said. “Today, my driver wasn’t there. I had a few opportunities to keep it close, but Tommy is an excellent player, one of the best in the state.”
“I really didn’t expect to get this far. I was making putts the first couple of days, and I’m the type of player who doesn’t hit a lot of greens, so if I’m putting well, I can compete.”
Like Bartolacci, Detweiler secured an early advantage and maintained his distance from opponent Joe Viechnicki of Saucon Valley Country Club to post a 3&2 triumph. Fatigue hampered Viechnicki at the match’s outset, and the Bethlehem, Pa. resident never uncovered the flair that launched him into the semifinals.
“I was a little tired,” Viechnicki, 59, said. “It was a lot of golf three days in a row that kind of got to me. I couldn’t get going early in the round. Marlin made a lot of clutch putts.”
“It’s been a great thrill. I just got into match play by the skin of my teeth. It was fun being competitive. It would’ve been great to play Tom (in the Final), but I just didn’t have it today.”
This is the fifth annual Brewer Cup.
The tournament is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., the former president of Pine Valley GC, 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. Three years ago he was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.
The Brewer Cup is open to Senior players with a handicap index of 7.0 or less.
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 145 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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