NEW HOPE, PA. — There isn’t any middle ground in Gary E. Daniels’ golf game. He plays either “really good or not really good” on the competitive circuit. Consider Thursday one of those really good days.
Daniels blitzed Jericho National Golf Club (par 72, 6,646 yards), carding a fierce 4-under-par 68 to take the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross). In doing so, the Berwyn, Pa. resident toppled a pair of resonating runner-up finishes. He finished second in the 2010 Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship.
”It feels very good,” Daniels said. “The last time I won [a Golf Association of Philadelphia event] was the Mid-Am 32 years ago.”
Daniels delivered a winning parcel that included six birdies and 16 greens in regulation.
“All in all, I hit the ball well today,” Daniels, 58, said. “I had short shots into the par 5s — less than 200 yards, and I putted well.”
One of those short shots occurred on Daniels’ first hole of the day (par 5, 559 yards). He smacked a sand wedge 70 yards to eight feet and drained the birdie putt. Daniels also birdied the par 3, 179-yard No. 5, stopping a 7-iron at 15 feet and sending the straightaway putt into the jar. He mixed both red figures with seven pars to make the turn at 2 under.
Playing in the second group of the day, Daniels scribed his name atop the Senior Division leaderboard and never erased it. He withstood a turbulent six-hole stretch to secure a subpar score. Daniels hit a sand wedge 110 yards out of the right rough to 10 feet above the No. 13 (par 4, 401 yards) flagstick and drained the birdie putt. He smashed a 7-iron 150 yards to six feet for a 4 on the par 5, 567-yard 14th hole.
Daniels committed scorecard sins on Nos. 15 (par 3, 216 yards) and 16 (par 4, 414 yards). On the first, he missed a 10-footer to save par after steering his tee shot far left of the hole location. Daniels caught the bunker on the 16th hole with a 25-degree rescue, splashed out to five feet and missed the par putt.
His final two holes served as Daniels’ confession. Although Daniels missed the No. 17 (par 5, 510 yards) green with a thunderous 25-degree rescue from 190 yards, he lofted a chip over the right greenside bunker to three feet and cleaned up the birdie putt. Daniels completed his penance with a fantastic birdie on the par 4, 403-yard 18th hole. After pushing his drive onto the adjacent No. 1 fairway, Daniels, using a tree as a sightline, drilled a 9-iron sail 120 yards to 18 inches.
Daniels entered the Chapman (Gross) with a dose of momentum. He was medalist in a club championship qualifier at Aronimink Golf Club. With a victory now on his belt, Daniels appears poised to make noise in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Senior Division.
“I usually play my best golf later in the season,” Daniels said.
Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. of Saucon Valley Country Club and Steve Javie of Whitemarsh Valley Country Club registered respective 2-under-par 70s to share runner-up honors.
Frank H. Chapman, a Whitemarsh Valley Country Club member, served as the Association’s secretary-treasurer for 23 years. He died on June 7, 1955 at the age of 88. The Gross tournament, now in its seventh year, is held in his honor.
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