August 14, 2015
Avid Cape Region golfers have a good opportunity to see some high quality amateur golf skills on display at the United States Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship, held September 26-October 1 at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.
This beautiful and challenging layout is just a short ride north from the Jersey-side docks of the Cape May/Lewes Ferry. Chris Osberg, an assistant golf pro at The Rookery South, recently noted that he played a U.S. Open qualifying tournament there, and was highly complimentary about the course.
I attended a Media Day event at Hidden Creek Aug. 10, featuring speakers from the USGA, Hidden Creek, local dignitaries, and Buddy Marucci, the 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur Champion.
Over 2,000 golfers, 55 or older, with handicaps of 7.4 or lower were expected to apply by the Aug. 12 deadline to play in the Championship’s 18-hole sectional qualifiers throughout the country. The two closest sectional tournament sites are the University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park, MD, and White Manor CC in Malvern, PA.
High finishers in the sectionals then join a small group of 23 golfers already exempted into the field because of their past USGA championship experience.
The Senior Amateur formally begins September 26 with two days of stroke play among the 156 golfers making up the full field. Those making the cut after 36 holes then are bracketed into six rounds of match play over four days, with the course stretched out to 6,800 yards.
Roger Hansen, the club owner, expressed deep appreciation for the support the Championship is receiving from local sponsors and the South Jersey community as a whole. He also noted that they need at least 400 volunteers to assist in running the event, just like any other major golf tournament.
While they already have quite a few volunteers lined up, Hidden Creek is looking for more folks to join them in making this a success. There are two ways to help, including a chance to play the course on August 25, the Test Against the Best outing.
Golfers paying the $205 fee are provided lunch and an afternoon round, with the net proceeds benefiting Atlantic City Charities/First Tee Drive.
If you just want to volunteer during the tournament, go to hiddencreekclub.com and follow the links on the site to the championship volunteer page. You can also contact the Championship Office at 609-909-2990.
Most of those attending the Media Day event also participated in a friendly scramble format tournament, giving the golfers a chance to see the course for themselves. I could see why Osberg spoke so highly of Hidden Creek, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
The golf course meanders throughout 750 acres of woodlands, with a surprising amount of elevation changes for South Jersey.
The fairways are generously wide, but still call for careful consideration of the best places from which to attack the large, undulating greens. Fescue rough and at the edges of the fairway bunkers, along with other bunkers tucked out of sight, will put a premium on both accuracy and course knowledge.
Our foursome benefited from the helpful guidance of caddie Steve McDaniel, who described the course as “a very fair test.” McDaniel showed us where to aim to land in the fairways, as well as the best line for our putting—which wasn’t always as obvious as it might have appeared.
The USGA doesn’t often come this close to the Cape Region for its championship tournaments. Those who enjoy watching golf played well should consider at least a day trip up to Hidden Creek at the end of September.
DSGA Senior Championship field includes Cape Region golfers
The Delaware State Golf Association held its annual Senior Championship Aug. 10-11 at Wild Quail Golf & Country Club, near Wyoming, DE.
Steve Walczak, of Wilmington Country Club, won the event with a fine 2-under par total for the 36-hole competition. Mike Blasinsky of The Peninsula was the closest Cape Region golfer to Walczak, finishing in sixth place at 4 over par.
Other Cape Region golfers who finished the tournament included Jim Powell (Rehoboth Beach CC, T-31st), Bruce Humphries (RBCC, T-33d), Doug Higgs (The Rookery, T-41st), Tim Gallagher (Rookery South, T-47th), and Mark Yoder, Jr. (Rookery, T-47).
Higgs also finished in a tie for fifth place in the Super Seniors competition, won by Henry Morneau of Newark CC. Peter Strub of The Rookery South came in eighth, and Michael Tigue of Old Landing Golf Course finished in ninth place.
Local Club Competition Results
The Kings Creek Country Club Ladies Golf League played a Low Net game July 16. Tricia Ritthaler won first place in the first flight, followed by Anita Pettitt in second and Cory Warther in third.
Faye Slatcher took the first spot in the second flight with Atom Irwin just behind her and Dorrie Spilman taking third. Jennifer Falcone won the third flight, followed by Carolyn Ortwein in second and Mary Mezger in third. JoAnn Pearlman won closest to the pin for the day.
The Kings Creek CC 9-Hole Ladies Golf Association held a team competition Aug. 10, won by Carole Ellison, Susie Shevock, and Helene Guilfoy. Shirley Maloney put her tee shot to 11 feet 4 inches on the sixteenth hole to win closest to the pin.