A Chronicle of the
Philadelphia Section PGA and its Members
by Peter C. Trenham
1960 to 1969
1960 Al Besselink won the Section Championship and Skee Riegel won the Philadelphia Open.
1961 Gary Player won the Masters Tournament playing out of the Langhorne Country Club.
1962 Forty-four year old Henry Williams, Jr. won the Jamaica Open and Aronimink GC hosted the PGA Championship.
1963 The PGA Tour returned to the Section and played for the largest purse in the history of the PGA Tour.
1964 Art Wall won at San Diego, Al Besselink won the Azalea Open and Mike Souchak won at Houston and Memphis.
1965 Al Besselink won two Caracas Opens and Art Wall won his 4th Section Championship and the Maracaibo Open.
1966 Bert Yancey won at Wilmington, Memphis and Portland.
1967 Bob Ross won the Section Championship, the Pennsylvania Open and the DeBaufre Trophy.
1968 The Section rented office space. Leo Fraser elected PGA president. Bert Yancey 3rd in the Masters & U.S. Open
1969 Al Besselink won the Section Championship and the Prior Golf Festival.
In late January a Section member, Tony Longo, finished second in the Senior PGA Championship in Dunedin, Florida at the PGA National Golf Club. There were more than 300 entries and with only one 18-hole course the tournament took six days to complete. For the first four days one-half of the field would play one day and then the other half would play the next day. At the end of the fourth day the field was cut to the low 100 scorers and ties. Longo (289), the professional at the Glen Oak Country Club, tied for second with Paul Runyan (289) three strokes behind Dick Metz (286). Metz’ rounds were 71, 70, 73 and 70. A former Section member Charlie Sheppard (290) finished fourth. Longo also tied for first in the 55-and over age group, which was contest over the first 36 holes. Clarence Ehresman (146), the professional at the Ashbourne Country Club, just missed the playoff for the 55 and over title by one stroke. Al Watrous made two pars to defeat Longo and the other three seniors in a sudden-death playoff for the Alfred K. Bourne trophy. Bourne, a member at the Augusta National Golf Club, had donated a trophy in 1937 to help start the Senior PGA Championship. The Bourne Trophy was being awarded to the 55-and over group since Teacher’s Scotch Whiskey was now the sponsor of the tournament. There was a Teacher’s trophy for the tournament winner and a check for $1,500. Included, was an all expense paid trip to Great Britain for a match with the British Senior champion. In the final two rounds Longo shot rounds of 71 and 72 for his 289 total and won $875. West Shore Country Club professional Ed Tabor (304) tied for 40th and won $35. Longo also had a very successful trick shot show. The Section’s senior champion, Steve Grady, who had left the Philadelphia Section during the winter did not play in the tournament due to an arm ailment. Through a blind draw Colonial Country Club’s Doug Orr, who had tied for second with Ted Bickel in the Section Senior Championship represented the Philadelphia Section.
At the same time the Senior PGA Championship was being played in Florida Mike Souchak was winning the $20,000 San Diego Open in California. As Souchak (269) had done several times before, he set a tournament record by putting together rounds of 67, 68, 67 and 67 to finish nineteen under par. Even with those rounds Souchak didn’t get the lead by himself until he was on the last nine holes. First prize was $2,800. Johnny Pott (270) finished second by one-stroke after leading most of the way. Three strokes farther back in third place at 273, Art Wall won $1,700. Dave Marr, Billy Casper and Al Geiberger tied for fourth with 274s.
The Section’s spring meeting was held on the first Monday of April at the Barclay Hotel in Philadelphia. The guest speaker was Horton Smith, a past president of the PGA of America and the winner of the first Masters Tournament. He spoke about the importance of the caddie as not only a service to the golfer but the future of the game. He mentioned that caddies grow up to be golfers and club members and he was concerned that the caddie was vanishing. Leo Fraser, Atlantic City Country Club owner and professional, talked on the Section’s Caddie Scholarship Fund and stressed the importance of raising more money so the Section could help more caddies. A fund raising ABC pro-am was scheduled for Atlantic City Country Club in October. The club members would qualify at their clubs in mid September for a chance to play in the pro-am with their pro. Fraser and Henry Poe, the professional at the Reading Country Club who had just completed his three-year term as the national vice president from District II, reported on the national meeting held in December. The Section Championship was on the schedule for September at the Bala Golf Club and the Gimbels Department Store was the sponsor. Walter Silkworth, who was handling the professional duties for George Fazio at the Flourtown Country Club, was presented with a plaque for his service to the Section as the treasurer for six years. During that time he had written the article for the Professional Golfer magazine each month and he was still doing it even though he was no longer a Section officer. Anne Scott, who was the secretary for the manager of the Spalding Golf Company’s distribution office in Philadelphia, handled the paperwork for the Section officers. The Section used her office as the Section address, which was 401 N. Broad Street. The telephone number was WAlnut 5-6494.
The Masters Tournament was played in early April without a defending champion. Art Wall wasn’t able to enter due to a kidney ailment and knee trouble. The title left Augusta in the hands of Arnold Palmer but not without a struggle. Dow Finsterwald was assessed a two-stroke penalty for taking a practice putt on the fifth green in the first round or he would have had the lead after 36 holes. Palmer (282) won with rounds of 67, 73, 72 and 70 but he needed a birdie on the last hole to win. He got his birdie with a six-foot putt and edged out Ken Venturi who was in the clubhouse with 283. Finsterwald finished third at 284 and Billy Casper was next at 287. Mike Souchak (294) tied for 16th and Ed Oliver (295) tied for 20th. First prize was $17,500.
The Monday after the Masters Tournament the Section held its third annual golf show at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia. Seventy-five Section members instructed novices and demonstrated golf shots. Whitford Country Club professional Al Nelson and Stan Dudas the professional at the North Hills Country Club assisted Harry Obitz in presenting his “Swings the Thing” golf show. Nelson and Dudas had worked for Obitz at the Shawnee Country Club and they had put on this show many times for the hotel guests. Art Wall, who had been the “PGA Player of the Year” on the PGA Tour and leading money winner in 1959, was presented with a player-of-the-year trophy from the Section. More than 30 pro-golf salesmen displayed their goods that ranged from golf shoes to electric riding golf carts. There was a fashion show presenting the latest golf apparel for the new-year. More than 1,500 people paid to attend the show.
St. Davids Golf Club professional Jimmy Johnson led the local qualifying in Philadelphia for the U.S. Open on the fourth Monday in May. Johnson (144) put together two rounds of par 72 at the Llanerch Country Club. Howard Everitt finished second at 145. Henry McQuiston (146) who was now the assistant at the Bala Golf Club and Radnor Valley Country Club professional Skee Riegel (147) picked up the next two spots. Bob Schoener, Jr., assistant to his father at the Green Pond Golf Club, Stan Dudas, Sam Penecale, the professional at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, and Joe Laughlin, an unattached pro all made it safely with 148s. The last two places went to Bernie Haas (149), an assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club and Charles Schneider, Jr. (149), head pro at the Doylestown Country Club 149, without any playoffs. Dudas and Penecale were able to earn spots even though they had spent the previous night on a train returning from West Virginia where they had been playing in the Sam Snead Festival. Mike Souchak’s third place showing in the U.S. Open the previous year had earned him one of the 21 full exemptions through both stages of qualifying. Art Wall was exempt from local qualifying as an exempt player on the PGA Tour.
Jon Gustin, who was playing the PGA Tour out of the Philadelphia Country Club, made it through local qualifying for the U.S. Open at Little Rock, Arkansas on the fourth Monday of May. He won one of the 17 spots available there.
Also on the fourth Monday in May Henry Williams, Jr., the professional at the Berkleigh Country Club, led the local qualifying for the U.S. Open at the Blue Ridge Country Club in Harrisburg. Williams led by five strokes with a pair of two over par 74s. Several thunderstorms during the day made a long course play longer. Tommy Murphy, the professional at the Lancaster Country Club and Charlie Strack, the professional at the Red Lion Country Club, tied for second with 153s. The last two spots went to Hershey Country Club professional, Jay Weitzel at 154 and Blue Ridge Country Club professional Bob Dunn at 155. There were five places in Harrisburg.
On the first Monday in June Sam Penecale, Stan Dudas and Henry Williams, Jr. qualified for the U.S. Open in sectional qualifying. They were at the Winged Foot Golf Club where both the East and West courses of the club were used. Due to the strength of the field the USGA had allocated twenty-one places there for the Open. Amateur Bob Gardner led with a 137. Penecale finished sixth with a 143, Dudas tied for eleventh with a 145 and Williams got under the wire by one stroke with a 147. A score of 148 earned the last spot. Penecale and Dudas had qualified locally in Philadelphia and Williams had qualified in Central Pennsylvania.
Also on the first Monday of June Art Wall led a large contingent qualifying for the U.S. Open at Oklahoma City. A field of sixty-seven players, mostly PGA Tour members, was competing for thirty-four spots. Wall had been exempt from local qualifying but he had to go through the sectional qualifying even though he had won the Masters Tournament plus three other tournaments and had been the leading money winner on the PGA Tour the year before. Wall (128) shattered par by fourteen strokes at the Twin Hills Golf & Country Club with a 65 and a 63 and led the next nearest player by four strokes. Wall made fifteen birdies and used only forty-six putts for the 36-holes. Jon Gustin also passed the test tying for seventh with a 138. It took a score of 143 to qualify there.
One day later on the first Tuesday in June Jay Weitzel was one of seven players who qualified for the U.S. Open in Washington D.C. Weitzel tied for fourth with a 146. He had passed the local test in Harrisburg. Frank Boynton and Thorne Wood tied for the medal with 139s and scores of 148 won the last places.
The U.S. Open was played at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver in mid June. The Philadelphia Section had seven starters. Mike Souchak led the first day with a 68 and a second round 67 put him three strokes in front going into Saturday’s double round. After a morning 73 he still held a two-stroke lead. In the afternoon Arnold Palmer drove the par four first green and completed the first nine in 30 strokes. A back nine 35 for a 65 gave him an even par 280 total and the title by two strokes over amateur Jack Nicklaus (282). Palmer’s rounds were 72, 71, 72 and 65 for a 280 total. Souchak slipped to a 75 in the final round and he finished in a six-way tie for third. Former Section members Mike Souchak, Dutch Harrison and Ted Kroll tied for third with Julius Boros, Dow Finsterwald and Jack Fleck at 283. Stan Dudas (294) tied for 38th and won $300. Art Wall (296) tied for 43rd and won $270. Sam Penecale also made the 50-man cut. His 298 score tied for 49th and he won the $240 last money. First prize was $14,400 from the purse of $60,720. Souchak won $3,950. Jon Gustin, Henry Williams and Jay Weitzel missed the cut.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was at the North Hills Country Club on the Monday after the U.S. Open. North Hills’ professional Stan Dudas didn’t have to hurry home from Denver to qualify. He was exempt as the Section champion. Tavistock Country Club professional Charley Lepre, George Fazio, Sam Penecale and Willie Polumbo, the professional at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club tied with 145s for the top spot. Penecale had also been at the U.S. Open and had to hurry home as he made the cut, which meant he had played 36 holes on Saturday. Jay Weitzel, who also had been in the Open in Denver, made it with a 146. Jimmy Johnson (147) wrapped up the last place by beating Tony Longo (147) on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Art Wall and Mike Souchak were exempt for being in the top 25 money winners for 1959, as members of the 1959 Ryder Cup Team and for having finished in the top 32 in the 1959 PGA Championship. Ed Oliver was exempt from qualifying for having been in the top 32 in the 1959 PGA Championship but he didn’t tee off in the tournament. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and he died the next year.
Al Besselink was exempt for the PGA Championship for being in the top 25 in TT Points for 1960 through the U.S. Open. Beginning in January 1957 TT Points were awarded at each tournament on the PGA Tour. The TT Point system was devised to generate a truer ranking of the pros than the money list. In the 1950s the World Championship in Chicago had been skewed the money list with its $50,000 first prize. Whoever won that tournament was the money leader for the year even if they didn’t do much else during the year. Under the point system the winner of a tournament was awarded 50 points, the runner-up 44 points and on down to one point for 45th place. Much of the credit for TT System was credited to Howard Capps and Cary Middlecoff. Capps had been an assistant at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club in the 1940s, PGA Tour Tournament Supervisor and now he was managing the Tournament of Champions for the Desert Inn Country Club in Las Vegas. The TT System was used for four years, 1957 through 1960.
The Pennsylvania Open was played at the Hershey Country Club on the last Monday of June. Hershey C.C. was hosting the tournament for an eighth consecutive year. A field of 162 pros and amateurs played the Country Club and Park courses. At the end of the day Bob Schoener, Jr. (71-72) and two amateurs, John Guenther (73-70) and Bob Batdorff (72-71), were tied for the top spot with 143 scores. An 18-hole playoff was held the next day and Guenther turned in a 72 to become the first amateur to win the tournament since 1946 when Steve Kovach won. Batdorff (76) finished second but Schoener (79) who was the only pro in the playoff picked up the $750 top money. Skee Riegel and Chuck Scally from Coraopolis tied for fourth with 144s and each took home $337.50. The total purse was $2,500 it paid fifteen places.
In early July Mike Souchak won the Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Flint, Michigan. At $50,000 the purse was the largest on the PGA Tour that year except for the major championships. Souchak trailed four players who were tied for the lead after 54 holes by one stroke but he won the $9,000 top prize by shooting a three-under-par 69 the last day. Souchak’s rounds were 71, 68, 74 and 69, giving him a total of 282. Art Wall and Gay Brewer tied for second one stroke off the winning pace with 283s. Dave Hill, Don January and Gene Littler tied for fourth at 286.
The Buick Open finished up on a Monday, the Fourth of July, and two days later the touring pros teed off in the $25,000 Canadian Open in Toronto. The Philadelphia Section had a long history of its members bringing home Canadian Open titles. Twelve professionals who were Philadelphia Section members at some time won the Canadian Open a total of seventeen times. Art Wall had missed most of the year with a bad back but this was his week and he added his name to the Canadian Open trophy. In the third round Wall (269) finished birdie-eagle-birdie for a three-stroke lead and he went on to win the $3,500 first place prize by six strokes. Wall’s rounds were 66, 67, 67 and 69. Jay Hebert and Bob Goalby tied for second with 275s. A future Section member Bob Shave, Jr. finished fourth at 277.
On the second Friday of July Merion Golf Club assistant Bob DeHaven won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship at the Overbrook Golf Club. At the end of the 18 hole round DeHaven and Country Club of Scranton assistant Dick Hendrickson were tied with even par 71s. A sudden death playoff was held which DeHaven won with a par on the second extra hole, after Hendrickson’s tee shot had gone out of bounds. Bob Schoener, Jr. and Reading Country Club assistant Dominic Foscone tied for third with 72s.
The 42nd PGA Championship was in Akron, Ohio in the third week of July. It was played on the Firestone Country Club’s North Course, which had been the host of several Rubber City Opens. The golf course had been redesigned by Robert Trent Jones. Jones had lengthened the course to 7,165 yards and par had been reduced to 70. There was a starting field of 187 professionals and eleven were from the Philadelphia Section. The tournament had a new leader each day and at the end of Sunday’s round it was Jay Hebert with a 281 total. He joined his brother Lionel as a PGA champion to make up the only team of brothers to win the PGA. With rounds of 72, 67, 72 and 70 Hebert finished one stroke ahead of the 1947 winner, Jim Ferrier (282). Sam Snead and Doug Sanders tied for third with 283s. First prize from the $63,130 purse was $11,000. Mike Souchak (290) led the Section pros winning $1,500 with a tie for 12th. Al Besselink and Art Wall tied for 39th with 297 totals. They each won the last money of $200. Jimmy Johnson missed the cut after the third round when the field was reduced to the low 60 and ties. Charley Lepre, Sam Penecale, Stan Dudas, George Fazio, Willie Polumbo and Jay Weitzel missed the cut after the second round, which eliminated those who were not tied for 90th or better.
Skee Riegel added the Philadelphia Open to his long list of victories on the fourth Monday in August. In the morning he fired a course record six-under-par 65 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. In the afternoon he missed a short putt on the last green at the Green Valley Country and struggled in with a six-over-par 77 for a total of 142. Soon after that Sam Penecale came to the last green at Green Valley needing a par to tie. He also missed from short range and finished at 143. Amateur Billy Care (143) made a double bogey on the last hole at the Cricket Club and ended up tied with Penecale. Henry Williams, Jr. put together the second best round of the day, an afternoon 69 at the Cricket Club, and finished fourth at 144. First prize was $500. The total purse was $1,500 and eight professionals won money. The defending champion, George Fazio, didn’t enter the tournament as he was in Germany conducting a golf clinic.
The Philadelphia Section followed the lead of the PGA of America and changed the format of their Section Championship to stroke play from match play. Bala Golf Club and Bob Marshall hosted the tournament in mid September. Skee Riegel led the first day with a three-under-par 65. The second day Al Besselink, who was taking a break from the PGA Tour, got his wedges working and broke George Fazio’s course record. A six-under-par 29 on the back nine gave him a 61. Added to a 69 in the first round his 130 total gave him a four-stroke lead going into the final round. A par round of 68 on Sunday brought Besselink in with a 198 total, which was three strokes in front of Sam Penecale (201), a former assistant at Bala. After a decade on the PGA Tour this was Besselink’s first major victory in his native Philadelphia area. Penecale was runner-up for a second straight year. Riegel and Art Wall tied for third at 205 and Henry Williams, Jr. was alone in fourth place with a 206. First prize was $1,000 and there were twenty money places. The total purse came to $4,100. Besselink picked up another $500 from the U.S. Rubber Company for playing the U.S. Royal golf ball in the tournament.
On the third Friday of October Loma Frakes and Helen Sigel Wilson won the Section’s Pro-Lady Championship at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. An eagle three on the 17th hole put them in position to eke out a one-stroke victory. In the selective drive-alternate stroke format Wilson came up with one of her usual prodigious drives and Frakes reached the green with a three-wood. Wilson then holed a forty-foot putt for the eagle. They finished with a one over par 73. The tournament had been rained out in August. It was the fifth time that Wilson, a two time runner-up in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, had won the tournament. She won it twice with Ed Dudley and this was her third victory in partnership with Frakes.
On the second Friday of September Tony Longo won the Teacher’s Trophy at the par 72 Brookside Country in Pottstown. It was the qualifying event for the Senior PGA Championship. That meant that Longo was the Philadelphia PGA senior champion and he earned a check from Teacher’s Scotch for his travel and living expenses for the championship in February. Other senior PGA members could also enter their national championship at their own expense. For the first time the tournament was played over days. Longo put together rounds of 71 and 72 for a 143 total. Manufacturers Golf & Country Club professional Bud Lewis (146) and Ed Tabor (146) tied for second three shots back. DuPont Country Club professional Terl Johnson finished fourth with a 147 total.
Leo Fraser was reelected president at the Section’s annual meeting. The meeting was held at Fraser’s Atlantic City Country Club on the second Monday in October. There was a pro-pro tournament in the afternoon that was followed by dinner at the club and the meeting. Bud Lewis was elected first vice president and Al Keeping, the professional at the Gulph Mills Golf Club was reelected second vice president. Angelo Paul, the professional at the Meadowlands Country Club, and Al Nelson were reelected secretary and treasurer.
The PGA’s national meeting was in Scottsdale, Arizona in mid November. Lou Strong, who had been the secretary for three years, was elected president by the delegates from the 34 Sections. Wally Mund, who had been the treasurer in the mid 1950s, was elected secretary and George Hall was elected treasurer. Tom Crane, the executive security since 1943, had been given a new five-year contract. When Crane started working for the PGA the staff consisted of four people and now there were 26. The delegates to the national meeting were Leo Fraser and Harlan Will, the professional at the Fairview Golf & Country Club. Jimmy Demaret, Fred McLeod and Mike Brady were inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame.
Arnold Palmer was elected “PGA Player-of-the-Year” by a landslide vote. He received 1,088 of the 1,217 votes cast by golf professionals and newsmen. Palmer was also the leading money winner on the tour with $75,263, $24,032 ahead of the second place Ken Venturi. Mike Souchak was in sixth place with $28,903.49 and Art Wall finished eleventh with $26,380.33. Billy Casper won the Vardon Trophy with a 69.95 stroke average and Wall was third with an average of 70.33. Al Besselink won $11,293.69 which was good for 34th place on the money list. The top 60 money winners on the PGA Tour were exempt for the following year, which meant that Jon Gustin with winnings of $6,315.09 was fully exempt for 1961.
On the fifth Tuesday of November the Philadelphia Section PGA and the Golf Association of Philadelphia agreed to combine their two caddie scholarship funds. Discussions to this affect had been going on for several weeks. The name, J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust, which the GAP had given to their fund, would continue to be used. The PGA would have three of its members on the eleven man board of the trust and caddies from non-member GAP clubs would receive equal consideration for scholarship aid.
For the second straight year Art Wall was a member of the four-man PGA Tour tournament committee.
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The Section had a new touring professional and another touring pro had returned home to take a job as a club professional. To thank George Fazio for his financial assistance when he was a struggling new pro on the PGA Tour South Africa’s Gary Player was playing out of the Langhorne Country Club, which Fazio was leasing. Al Besselink was back in Philadelphia as the new head professional at the Philmont Country Club.
In late January Gary Player won the largest first prize on the winter tour, $9,000. His victory came in the $50,000 Lucky International tournament at San Francisco. Player (272) started the last round on the Harding Park Course by making birdies on three of the first four holes and he finished with birdies on three of the last four holes for a six-under-par 65. The round was played in a drenching rain and some players threatened to quit but play continued. Added to his first three rounds of 70, 69 and 68 he finished two strokes in front of Don Whitt (274) and George Bayer (274). Al Geiberger and Don January tied for fourth with 275s.
Paul Runyan won the Senior PGA Championship at the PGA National Golf Club in Dunedin, Florida. Six days of perfect weather in mid February brought out 20,000 spectators and led to low scores. Paul Runyan picked up a $1,500 check for his 278 that won by three over Jimmy Demaret (281). Runyan’s rounds were 67, 70, 72 and 69. Clarence Doser finished third at 282. Joe Brown was next at 283. The Section senior champion, Tony Longo (289) played well there again tying for 16th and winning $175. Cool Creek Country Club professional Mike Rooney (297) tied for 44th and won $50. Ted Bickel, Jr., the professional at The Springhaven Club and Terl Johnson posted 298s and they each won $10 as they tied for 49th.
In late March Gary Player won the $25,000 Sunshine Open in Miami Beach. Player (273) shot four steady rounds of 69, 68, 67 and 69 on the Bayshore Golf Course for a one stroke win over Arnold Palmer (274). Palmer put on one of his last round charges with a 64 but it wasn’t quite enough. Needing a birdie on the par five last hole, Player put his second shot in a greenside bunker but he got it down in two to edge out Palmer. First prize was $3,500. Mike Souchak finished third alone at 275. Julius Boros, Dave Ragan and Gay Brewer tied for fourth with 276s.
The Section’s spring meeting was held on the last Monday in March at the Barclay Hotel. The tournament chairman Harlan Will and his assistant chairman Bernie Haas gave out the tournament schedule. The Section Championship was slated for the Buena Vista Country Club in August. Buena Vista professional Ed Carmen and the club president were at the meeting to promote the tournament.
The next Monday the Section held its fourth annual golf show for the public. The public paid $1 to attend the show. The featured guest was Patty Berg who had been one of the dominating powers in women’s golf for over twenty years. Many old friends greeted her. She had been stationed in Philadelphia with the Marines during World War II and had won the Western Open here in 1951. She demonstrated golf shots before serving on two panels of golf professionals discussing the golf swing. Sportscaster Jack Whitaker headed up one panel and Marty Lyons, the professional at the Llanerch Country Club, led the other one. Eight sportswriters and sportscasters were presented with silver trays for their outstanding contributions to the game of golf. Throughout the day the golf pros gave free instruction and demonstrated golf shots while Harlan Will kept the audience informed by describing the shots and making announcements. Forty pro golf salesmen exhibited their golf equipment and clothing.
In April the Section conducted its third annual training school for assistants at the Warrington Golf and Country Club. Plymouth Country Club professional Pete DeAngelis and Toby Costanza, the professional at the Sunnybrook Country Club, were the chairmen. The host pro Wally Paul gave the opening address. Golf instruction, tournament golf, accounting, club repair and public relations were among the topics covered. Jimmy Thomson, a former Section member representing the Dunlop Sporting Goods Company was a guest speaker.
In early April Gary Player became the first non-American to win the Masters Tournament. Player’s first three rounds were 69, 68 and 69, which gave him a four-stroke lead over second place Arnold Palmer. Sunday’s round was washed out with Player and Palmer about halfway through their rounds. On Monday Player (280) took 40 strokes on the back nine for a 74 and it was then Palmer’s tournament to win. Palmer (281) came to the last hole needing a par to win but he pushed his iron shot into a bunker. His bunker shot didn’t hold the green and when he finished with a double bogie Player was the Masters champion. Amateur Charlie Coe (281) tied Palmer for second. Tommy Bolt and Don January tied for fourth with 285s. Mike Souchak (295) the only representative from the Philadelphia Section tied for 28th and won $500. The first prize of $20,000 and the total purse of $99,500 were by far the largest of the year on the PGA Tour. The price of a four-day pass to the tournament was $15 and a daily ticket on the weekend was $7.50. Saucon Valley Country Club professional Ralph Hutchison handled the announcing on the 18th green. He had been doing it since 1949.
The week after the Masters Mike Souchak won the Greensboro Open. A former Philadelphia golf professional, Charlie Sifford led the first day with a 68 and Souchak posted a 70. In the second round Souchak shot 68 and moved into a tie for first at 138 and a third round 69 gave him a two-stroke lead going into the final round. On Sunday Souchak shot another 69 and finished at eight under par 276 to win by seven strokes. Seven-time Greensboro Open winner, Sam Snead (283) finished second and Billy Maxwell (284) was third. Sifford and Stan Leonard tied for fourth with 285s. First prize was $3,200 from a total purse of $22,500.
In the third week of May the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the 1962 PGA Championship which was scheduled to be played at the Brentwood Country Club in Los Angeles might be shifted to the Aronimink Golf Club. PGA Tournament Director J. Edwin Carter was on his way to Philadelphia to check out the Aronimink Golf Club. Because of the PGA of America’s “Caucasian Only” clause in the by-laws, the attorney general of California had stated that unless Charlie Sifford was in the tournament, there would be no PGA Championship in the state of California. The Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce, which had a contract with the PGA to host the tournament at the Brentwood Country Club, had opted out. The Chamber sited not wishing to be involved in the segregation issue. Due to that the PGA was considering other options. A spokesman for the Chamber stated that the Chamber would instead now host a Los Angeles Open in January, which they had planned to skip for 1962.
Local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Philadelphia was held on the fourth Monday of May at the Rolling Green Golf Club and Llanerch Country Club. Sam Penecale led ten other qualifiers into sectional qualifying by six strokes. He played Llanerch in par 72 in the morning and came back with a two-under-par 69 at Rolling Green in the afternoon for a 141. This gave Penecale the opportunity to keep his streak alive. Beginning with 1954 he had qualified for seven straight U.S. Opens. Henry McQuiston was next with a 147. Locust Valley Country Club professional Jerry Pisano and Al Besselink tied for third with 149s. Skee Riegel and Stan Dudas tied for fifth at 150. Amateur Jay Sigel was alone in seventh place with a 151 and Billy Booe, the professional at the Northampton Country Club, posted a 153. West Chester Golf & Country Club professional Jerry Port and amateur Ed Richitelli got in safely with 154s. There was a seven-man playoff for the eleventh and last spot, which Ike Turner the new professional at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club managed to win with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. Mike Souchak and Gary Player were exempt from local and sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. Souchak was exempt for having finished third in the Open the year before and Player was exempt as the 1959 British Open winner.
Also on the fourth Monday in May local qualifying for the U.S. Open was held in Harrisburg for six spots. Henry Williams, Jr. and John Chimienti, an assistant at the Shawnee Country Club, tied for the medal with 147s at the Colonial Country Club. Jay Weitzel finished third with a 148. Johnny Markel, who was now the assistant to his father Harry at the Berkshire Country Club and amateur Bob Batdorff tied for third with 149s. The last spot went to the Fox Hill Country Club professional John Serafin who posted a 150.
Merion Golf Club’s playing pro Paul Kelly made it through the local U.S. Open qualifying in New York on the fourth Tuesday of May. Qualifying was at the Metropolis Country Club and the Knollwood Country Club. The medalist was the veteran Herman Barron with a 146. Kelly tied for second with a 73 and a 74 for 147. There were 18 spots and a score of 153 qualified.
On the first Tuesday in June Sam Penecale kept his streak going by qualifying for the U.S. Open in Long Island. He had now qualified for the Open eight straight years. There were 20 spots at Long Island as qualifying was held at The Sewane Club and the Woodmere Club. Al Feminelli led with a 137 and Penecale just made it with a 75 and a 69 for 144.
Also on the same first Tuesday in June Jay Weitzel (69-70) 139 and Ike Turner (71-74) 145 passed the qualifying test for the U.S Open at the Columbia Country Club in Washington D.C. Turner won a three-way playoff, which included Al Besselink. Besselink and Turner had qualified locally in Philadelphia. Turner had to win a playoff to get to Washington by making a birdie on the first hole that beat out seven players for the eleventh and last spot in Philadelphia. Weitzel had passed his local test in Harrisburg. There were ten spots in Washington and Ernie Boros, a brother of Julius, led with a 138.
On the second Tuesday of June Lou Strong, president of the PGA of America, announced that the 1962 PGA Championship would be held at the Aronimink Golf Club. In 1959 Aronimink had spent $18,000 converting the course into more of a challenge. To make the 1926 Donald Ross design more of a challenge for the par golfer, the course had been lengthened and bunkers relocated.
The U.S. Open was at Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit in mid June. The winner was Gene Littler and it was to be his only win in a major even though he had a long and successful career. A last round 68 got him into the clubhouse at 281, six strokes less than the score Ben Hogan had won with in 1951. Littler’s earlier rounds were 73, 68 and 72. Doug Sanders and Bob Goalby tied for second with 282s. For the first time since 1940 Hogan finished out of the top ten in the U.S. Open. Mike Souchak tied for fourth at 284 with amateur Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player tied for ninth at 287. Littler’s first prize check was $14,000. Souchak won $4,000 and Player won $1,750 from the $60,500 purse. Sam Penecale, Ike Turner and Jay Weitzel missed the cut.
On Friday Sam Penecale had missed the cut at the U.S. Open but on Monday he bounced back to lead the qualifying for the PGA Championship. He put together rounds of 70 and 73 to win medalist honors by one stroke with his 143. North Hills Country Club hosted the qualifying for six places in the championship at Chicago. Gettysburg Country Club professional Dick Sleichter finished second with a 144 and Bob Hendricks, the professional at the Indian Valley Country Club, grabbed the next spot with a 146. There was a five-way sudden-death playoff at 147 for the last three places. The three survivors were Jerry Pisano, Al Nelson and Billy Booe. Exempt from qualifying were Al Besselink as the Section champion along with Art Wall and Mike Souchak who were exempt as members of the 1959 Ryder Cup. Gary Player had an exemption for being in the top 20 on the 1961 money list from January 1 through the Masters Tournament. Jon Gustin was also exempt. For the first time the entries for the national office instead of the Sections handled the PGA Championship. Also for the first time the number of qualifying places that each Section was allotted was based on its number of entries instead of the number of members in a Section.
Al Besselink won the Pennsylvania Open at the Hershey Country Club on the last Monday in June. Again a large field of 158 entries necessitated the use of both the Country Club and the Park Course. For the second straight year it took an extra day to determine the winner. At the end of 36-holes on Monday there was a three-way tie at the top among army private Don Stough, Henry Williams, Jr. and Besselink at one-under-par 143. The next day Besselink birdied two of the first three holes on the Country Club course and was never challenged. He cruised to victory and a check for $750 with a one-under-par 72. The day before Besselink had shot a 69 on the Park course and 74 at the Country Club. In the playoff Williams took 75 strokes and Stough finished with a 79.
Henry McQuiston won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship on the second Friday of July at the Rolling Green Golf Club. In a two under par round of 69 McQuiston made five birdies. Bernie Haas and Plymouth Country Club assistant Terry McCoy tied for second with 71s. Bob Schoener, Jr. and Sunnybrook Golf Club assistant Bob Stowe tied for fourth at 72.
Former Section member and professional at the Cedarbrook Country Club in 1950, Jerry Barber, won the PGA Championship in late July. The championship was played at the Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago. Art Wall led the first round with a 67. On Friday he added a 70 but all the rounds were washed out. Barber who was 45 years old shot 67 on Saturday to go with his first round 69, which gave him a two-stroke lead at the halfway point with 136. The field was cut to the low 60 scores and 36 holes were played on Sunday. With three holes to play Barber trailed by four strokes but on the last three holes he holed putts of 20, 40 and 60 feet. Barber’s finish of birdie-par-birdie for a 277 total allowed him to overtake Don January (277). Barber’s Sunday rounds were 70 and 71. The next day in an 18-hole playoff Barber trailed by two strokes but he came back to finish with a 67 and edge out January (68) by one stroke. Doug Sanders (280) finished third and Ted Kroll (281) was fourth. Wall (282) ended up in a six-way tie for fifth and won $2,208.33. First prize was $11,000 from a $64,800 purse. Gary Player (290) tied for 29th, winning $425 and Jon Gustin (291), who had been out for about 8 weeks with a broken arm, won $262.50 for a tie for 33rd. Mike Souchak (295) tied for 45th and won $225. Sam Penecale (300) tied for 57th and Al Besselink (305) was alone in 63rd place. They also each picked up checks for $225, which was the last money. Jerry Pisano, Dick Sleichter, Al Nelson, Billy Booe and Bob Hendricks missed the cut.
Merion Golf Club hosted the Philadelphia Open on a Monday in mid August. With a starting field of 150 pros and amateurs both the East and West courses were put into use. In the morning Dick Sleichter played the shorter West course that he hadn’t seen before in three-under-par 67 and went around the East Course in par 70 in the afternoon for a three under par 137. Both the 67 and the 70 were low for the day at each course. He won by four strokes over Paul Kelly (141) and amateur Bob Batdorff (141). Sam Penecale, Ike Turner, Jay Weitzel and Bob Hendricks tied for fourth with 143s. Sleichter won $500 and Kelly won $325 from a purse of $1,570.
The Section Championship kicked off on the Friday after the Philadelphia Open and finished up on Sunday. The hosts were professional Ed Carman and the Buena Vista Country Club. The title went to Bernie Haas. Haas started with a one-under-par 71 and added a 75 on the second day, which left him in fourth place three strokes back. On Sunday it rained and the scores were high but Haas brought in one of the two low rounds of the day, a 71 for a 217 total. The only other sup-par round of the day was a 71 by Dick Sleichter. Sleichter and Dick Hendrickson tied for second place one stroke back at 218. Sleichter and Hendrickson each won $550. Skee Riegel (219) ended up fourth alone and won $400. First prize the year before had been $1,000 but the tournament committee had reduced it to $750. As the assistant tournament chairman Haas had campaigned for this so more players would win a check. Haas picked up an additional $500 from his equipment and golf ball sponsors. The low senior was Terl Johnson who posted a 226 score. The total purse was $5,000.
In late September six big names played in a 10,000 pro-am in Cincinnati at the same time the $20,000 Portland Open was being played in Oregon. The six were Sam Snead, Tommy Bolt, Dick Mayer, Lew Worsham, Chick Harbert and Walter Burkemo. Snead, Bolt and Mayer withdrew after one round but all six were fined $500 by the PGA and suspended for six months. In the end only Snead and Bolt were fined and suspended. That was because the PGA rules stated that anyone who had won a PGA Tour event in the previous twelve months must get permission from a tournament sponsor in order to play in another tournament being held at the same time. The fines were later reduced to $100 and the time to 45 days.
On the third Friday of September Bud Lewis edged out three players by one stroke to win the Philadelphia PGA Senior Championship at the LuLu Country Club. Lewis put together a one under par 70. John Long, the professional at the Louviers Country Club, John Vasco the professional at the Lehigh Country Club and Terl Johnson all posted 71s to tie for second. As the senior champion Lewis’ travel and living expenses for the Senior PGA Championship in Dunedin, Florida were paid
More than 150 Section members turned out for the annual meeting. The meeting was held at the Atlantic City Country Club on the second Monday in October. The meeting was in the morning and there was a pro-pro tournament in the afternoon. Leo Fraser was reelected president. Harlan Will and Joe Hunsberger were elected first and second vice president. Angelo Paul was reelected secretary and Joe Aneda, the professional at the Newark Country Club, was the new treasurer. The Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” Joe Hunsberger was honored at the meeting. The professional at the Juniata Golf Course for more than 25 years, he was recognized for his development of a junior golf program and promoting golf through group lessons. The Section presented a silver tray to Al Keeping for his work in promoting their caddy scholarship fund.
Sam Snead’s suspension kept him from playing in the Ryder Cup matches in mid October. The matches were held in England at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. Doug Ford, eleventh on the point list, was selected to replace Snead who had also been named the playing captain. Jerry Barber replaced Snead as the playing captain. Ed “Porky” had been named “Honorary Captain” but had he died before the matches were played. Mike Souchak and Art Wall were making their second straight appearance on the team. At the request of the British team the number of matches was doubled and shortened from 36 holes to 18 holes. It was thought that the underdog British team would have a better chance with the shortened matches. The American team was loaded with major tournament winners and they won easily, fourteen and one half points to nine and one half.
Leo Fraser and Harlan Will represented the Philadelphia Section as delegates at the national meeting. The meeting was held at Hollywood-by-the-Sea, Florida in the second week of November. Henry Poe was the chairman of the meeting. The officers where all reelected. The upcoming 1962 PGA Championship, which was not to be hosted by the Aronimink Golf Club, instead of California’s Brentwood Country Club was a topic of discussion. Plans had been finalized to move the PGA headquarters to John D. MacArthur’s new city, Palm Beach Gardens. Two golf courses would be ready for play by the end of 1962. The PGA “H” apprentice classification had been eliminated. Until that time the aspiring PGA members were called apprentice members until they attained PGA membership. Henry Picard, Johnny Farrell and Lawson Little were inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame. Jerry Barber was the “PGA Player-of-the-Year”.
Gary Player finished the year as the leading money winner on the PGA Tour. His winnings totaled $64,540.45 beating out Arnold Palmer by $3,349. For someone who played all over the world and had to adjust to multiple time zone changes and miles of travel this was an achievement. Player entered 28 events, three more than Palmer entered, but 12 less than Doug Sanders who finished third. Palmer won the Vardon Trophy with a 69.85 average. Art Wall finished 25th on the money list with $19,657.54. Mike Souchak won $19,157.34, which was 28th on the list. Jon Gustin managed to retain his exempt status winning $7,507.35 for 59th place. Al Besselink, who was now the professional at the Philmont Country Club won $388.33.
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Paul Runyan won the Senior PGA Championship at Dunedin, Florida for the second straight year and with the same 278 score. He won with rounds of 71-69-68-70 and again he won by three strokes. This time it was over Errie Ball, Joe Brown and a former Section member Dutch Harrison who all ended up tied for second at 281. Again the tournament covered six days in mid February and was played at the PGA National Golf Club. For the ninth straight year the tournament was co-sponsored by the PGA and William Teacher and Sons LTD of Scotland. The purse had been increased by $10,000 to $25,000 and first prize was now $2,000. $16,000 was paid out to the top finishers in the 72-hole championship and the other $9,000 went to the five age-group 36-hole competitions. Some of the $10,000 purse increase came about because the Section Senior champions were no longer being furnished with all-expense paid trips to Dunedin. From 1954 to 1960 the section winners were given all-expense trips to the tournament and in 1961 they received round-trip airfare only. The Teacher Company had done that for the first eight years of its sponsorship. Jimmy Johnson (290) tied for 19th and won $300. Tony Longo (296) tied for 40th, Ralph Hutchison (297) finished alone in 42nd place and Mike Rooney (298) tied for 43rd. Those three each won $100. The Philadelphia Section senior champion, Bud Lewis, finished out of the money.
In the second week of March forty-four year old Henry Williams, Jr. teed off in the $10,000 Jamaica Open feeling confident about his golf game, having just finished second in the Puerto Rico Open the week before. Williams proceeded to go out and shoot a course record tying 66 at the Caymanas Golf Club. The 66 gave him a tie for the lead with Al Geiberger. In the second round he put together a 69, which left him still tied with Geiberger at 135. A third round 70 put Williams one stroke in front of the field and a 69 the last day gave him a fourteen under par 274 total, which earned him the $1,500 first prize by four strokes. Geiberger, Tom Strafaci and Spain’s Angel Miguel tied for second at 278. Pete Cooper and Jackie Cupit tied for fifth with 280.
In early April Arnold Palmer made up for his poor finish the previous year by winning his third Masters Tournament in five years. Palmer started 70-66-69 but only led by two strokes going into the last round. On Sunday Palmer (280) faltered but he recovered with birdies on #16 and #17 for a 75 that got him into a three-way tie at the top with Gary Player (280) and Dow Finsterwald (280). On Monday Palmer birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine and coasted in with a 68 to win the $20,000 first prize by a comfortable margin. In the playoff Player had a 71 and Finsterwald shot 77. Gene Littler finished fourth at 282. Mike Souchak (287) tied for fifth and won $3,600. Art Wall missed the cut by one stroke.
The spring meeting of the Section was held on the second Wednesday in April at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia. Section President Leo Fraser welcomed the three national officers, headed by President Lou Strong. Along with attending the meeting they were in town to inspect the golf course at the Aronimink Golf Club where the PGA Championship was being held in July. At the meeting Strong reported on the new PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and the PGA Championship. Another item of interest was the large number of head professional changes that had occurred over the winter. Some of the clubs that had new head professionals in their employment were; Overbrook, Radnor Valley, Huntingdon Valley, Rock Manor, North Hills, Bala, Valley, Green Valley, Melrose, Carlisle, York, Locust Valley, Gettysburg, Malvern, Outdoor and Tamiment.
In the afternoon after the meeting the Section put on its fifth annual golf show at the Sheraton from noon to 10:00 PM. The show chairman was Joe Aneda. Forty professionals worked the nets giving free instruction. Tony Longo put on his trick shot show. At 4:00 and 7:00 there were panel discussions on the golf swing featuring some of the Section’s top players. Guest LPGA professional Marilyn Smith led two discussion groups. Sam Penecale, Bud Lewis and Stan Dudas, now the professional at the Ramblewood Country Club, were on with her at 4:00. Al Besselink, Henry Williams, Jr. and Skee Riegel, now the part owner of the Bucks County Country Club, joined her for the 7:00 panel. More than 4,000 Delaware Valley golfers attended. Admission was $1.10.
The next day the national officers took a tour of the Aronimink Golf Club. The Aronimink green chairman Jumbo Elliott, who was the renowned Villanova University track coach, accompanied them. After going over an eighteen page single spaced checklist they reported excellent progress on the tournament preparations. Elliott was told to let the rough start growing in two weeks. Dick Wilson, the PGA’s consulting architect, was to be there in two weeks to stake out the areas where the rough was to be grown.
A qualifying round was held at the St. Davids Golf Club on the fifth Monday of April for the PGA Tour Thunderbird Classic, which was going to be played in Montclair, New Jersey in the second week of June. The Philadelphia Section members had been allotted seven spots in the starting field by the Ford dealers of New Jersey. Bob Hendricks was the low scorer with a one under par 70. Sam Penecale and Al Besselink were next with 72s. Five players posted 74s, so a sudden death playoff was held for the last four spots. The survivors were Henry McQuiston, Don Stough, Jerry Port and Bob Schoener, Jr. The fifth person, Dick Hendrickson, became the first alternate. When the tournament was held, Gene Littler won the $25,000 first prize. Schoener was the only one from the Philadelphia Section who made the cut. He made the 36-hole cut which fell at 149, with rounds of 72 and 75, but he missed the 54-hole cut by one stroke. His third round score was 73 for a total of 220.
Local qualifying for the U.S. Open was at the Merion Golf Club on the third Monday in May. The East and West courses were used to qualify 13 players. Amateur Bill Robinson’s 140 led with Skee Riegel right behind at 141. Sam Penecale who had played in the last eight U.S. Opens was next at 142. Penecale turned down his pass to the next qualifying stage. He had recently qualified for the Thunderbird tournament in New Jersey, which was the week before the Open. He said that he could not take the time to play in both tournaments. The third spot then went to Jimmy Johnson at 143. Jerry Pisano, who was now the head pro at the Radnor Valley Country Club and Bob Ross, who was now the pro at the North Hills Country Club, tied for fourth and fifth with 145s. Al Besselink was alone in sixth place with a 146 and amateur Al McQuiston, a brother of Henry, was next at 147. Bob Schoener, Jr., Paul Kern and amateur John Guenther tied for eighth with 148s. Paul Kelly and Ralph Hutchison picked up the next two spots with 149s. The last place went to amateur Larry Feldman who had finished at 150. He won the 13th spot with a bogey on the first extra hole. Art Wall was one of 64 players who were exempt from local qualifying. Mike Souchak’s fourth place finish at the U.S. Open the year before earned him one of the 19 full exemptions into the tournament.
On that same third Monday of May local qualifying for the U.S. Open was held in Central Pennsylvania at the West Shore Country Club in Harrisburg. Five players tied for the top spot and six qualified. Henry Williams, Jr., Bob Batdorff, now an assistant pro at the Manor Country Club, the Outdoor Club professional Charlie Strack, Bobby Ford and Tom Murphy all shot 147s. Ford was an assistant to Murphy at the Lancaster Country Club. The last spot went to Jim Sharpe, the professional at the Country Club of Harrisburg.
Jon Gustin qualified locally for the U.S. Open in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama on the third Monday of May. Gustin tied for medalist honors at the Birmingham Country Club with Bob Keller and amateur Downing Gray with one over par 143 totals. There were eight spots to qualify for in Birmingham.
On the first Monday in June Art Wall qualified for the U.S. Open in Memphis, Tennessee. There was a strong field there as the Memphis Open had just finished up there the day before. Due the strength of the field there were 27 spots up for grabs. Butch Baird was the medalist with a 137. Wall tied for fifteenth with a 71 and a 70 for 141. The 143 scorers played off for the last spot.
The next day in June four professionals from the Philadelphia Section qualified for the U.S. Open at the Montclair Golf Club in Montclair, New Jersey. There were 104 players for 32 spots at Montclair. Claude Harmon led with a 137. The low Philadelphia pro was Paul Kelly with a 141. Bob Ross, Jerry Pisano and Bob Schoener, Jr. posted 143s to just avoid the playoff at 144 for the last spots. All four had qualified locally at Merion.
Also qualifying for the U.S. Open on the first Tuesday of June was Jon Gustin who led the qualifying in Atlanta with a pair of 70s for 140. There were eight spots in Atlanta and it took a score of 145 to qualify.
The next day Jerry Barber and Gene Littler met in a match at the Aronimink Golf Club for National Golf Day. The public was admitted at $2 per person. The national PGA officers were all on hand for this event that raised money for various golf related projects and charities. The day before Littler had put on a clinic at the John Wanamaker Department Store in Philadelphia. It was the Wanamaker family who had helped in the organization of the PGA in 1916 and donated the trophy for its first championship. The trophy was still in use and it was engraved with the winners of all the PGA Championships.
The U.S. Open was played at the Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh in mid June. The winner was Jack Nicklaus who had won everything as an amateur and was playing in the Open for the first time as a professional. Starting with the Los Angeles Open in January he had been in the money in all seventeen events that he had entered but he hadn’t won yet. Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were paired together the first two days, which resulted in Palmer (71-68) being tied for the lead, three strokes in front of Nicklaus (72-70). In the third round on Saturday Nicklaus posted a 72 against a 73 for Palmer so he now trailed Palmer by two strokes. A two-under-par 69 in the afternoon put Nicklaus in the clubhouse at 283 and Palmer followed right behind him with a 71 for another 283. Phil Rodgers and Bobby Nichols tied for third with 285s. On Sunday Nicklaus won the 18-hole playoff by three strokes with a 71 versus a 74 for Palmer. First prize was $17,500. The only two Philadelphia Section pros that made the cut were Art Wall (291) and Mike Souchak (293) who tied for 11th and 14th. Wall won $1,325 and Souchak won $975. Jon Gustin, Bob Schoener, Jr., Paul Kelly, Bob Ross and Jerry Pisano missed the cut.
On Monday after the U.S. Open the touring pros were at the Aronimink Golf Club for a pro-am to promote the PGA Championship. There were 52 professionals competing for $7,500. 156 amateurs were paired with the pros in four-man teams. Marty Furgol and Bobby Nichols were low with 68s and broke the course record of 69 that had been set by Ted Turner in the 1935 Philadelphia Open. Par had been 72, 35-37, at Aronimink in 1935.
On the third Wednesday in June 75 Section members were at the Aronimink Golf Club to qualify for the PGA Championship. Al Besselink led the qualifying for eleven openings with a 69-71 for 140. As the host of the championship the Section received extra spots. Skee Riegel was second at 144 one stroke ahead of Henry McQuiston (145), now the head professional at the Bala Golf Club, and Al Nelson (145). Next in line separated by one stroke each, were Sam Penecale (147), Willie Polumbo (148), now the professional at the Green Hill Golf Club, and Pat Schwab (149), the new professional at the Rock Manor Golf Club. Charley Lepre and Ralph Hutchison tied at 150. The last two places went to Bob Ross (151) and Jerry Pisano (151) in a sudden death playoff with Bob Schoener, Jr. (151) that lasted one hole. Exemptions went to Art Wall and Mike Souchak as members of the 1961 Ryder Cup team and Joe Capello as the host professional. Bernie Haas, now the professional at the Pittsburgh Field Club, was exempt as the Philadelphia Section champion. Jon Gustin was also exempt off being 59th on the 1961 PGA Tour money list.
The PGA Tour qualified for the PGA Championship at the Eastern Open during the fourth week of June. The top 24 at the 1961 PGA Championship were exempt. Also, along with the top 60 money winners on the 1961 PGA Tour, the top ten money winners on the PGA Tour for 1962 through the Eastern Open were exempt.
Bob Schoener, Jr. won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship on the first Friday of July with a great round at the Plymouth Country Club. His six under par 66 won by three strokes over Indian Valley Country Club assistant John Brand (69). Philadelphia Country Club assistant Tim DeBaufre was third with a 71. Paul Kelly, Bob Batdorff and Berkleigh Country Club assistant Frank Geist tied for fourth with 72s.
In the third week of July the Philadelphia Section hosted the PGA Championship for the fifth time. The Aronimink Golf Club and their professional Joe Capello were the hosts. Fifteen Section members and nine professionals who were formerly in the Section were among the 172 entries. One of the former Section members was Dave Douglas who was now a club pro in St. Louis. His father Alex had been the professional at the old Aronimink course in the early 1920s when Dave was three years old. The major golf tournaments were becoming big productions. The last four holes were televised nationally from two ten-foot high platforms and two forklifts. There were 700 volunteers, most of them Aronimink members. A ticket for the week cost $18 and with clubhouse privileges it was $28. Paul Hahn put on his trick shot show on Tuesday at 6 PM. The usual shot-making clinic and driving contest on Wednesday was rained out. The course measured 7,040 yards and par was 70. A number of the players were just back from the British Open including the winner Arnold Palmer. The course didn’t look difficult and some of the players thought that it would take a low score to win but when it was over on Sunday the winning score was 278, two-under-par. Gary Player had put together rounds of 72, 67, 69 and 70 to wrap up his second major title. After being six strokes behind with 12 holes to go Bob Goalby made a run, shooting a 67, and ended up one stroke short at 279. Player played a conservative back nine and didn’t use his driver one time. He did the last nine holes in one-under-par 34 even though he used his #4 wood off all the tees, except the two par three holes. Player was having so much difficulty with his driver he had taken a lesson from Capello before the tournament began. As a result Player rarely used his driver during all four of the rounds. Jack Nicklaus and George Bayer tied for third at 281. First prize was $13,000 from a record purse of $69,400. Art Wall (289) led the Philadelphia pros tying for 23rd and winning $665. Al Nelson (293) and Mike Souchak (293) tied for 39th and they each won $400. Pat Schwab (295) tied for 47th winning $325 and Bob Ross (298) tied for 57th and won $222.50. The ninth hole measured 610 yards and was only reached in two by two players during the tournament but Schwab did a little better. In the third round he reached the back collar with a driver and a #3 wood. At the end of 36 holes there was a cut to the low 90 plus ties and the field was cut again after 54 holes to the low 60 and ties. Everyone who made the final cut won at least $222.50. Jon Gustin, Skee Riegel, Bernie Haas, Al Besselink, Ralph Hutchison, Charley Lepre, Henry McQuiston, Sam Penecale, Willie Polumbo, Jerry Pisano and Capello missed the cut.
On the second Monday in August the Philadelphia Open was played at the North Hills Country Club and the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Jerry Pisano picked up his second win in the tournament, having won it in 1957. Pisano made ten birdies while posting an even par 71 at the Cricket Club and a two-under-par 69 at North Hills for 140. He edged out Bob Ross (142) and amateur Billy Hyndman (142) by two strokes. Ross started the day with a five-under-par 31 on the front nine at the Cricket Club but he finished up with a 74 on his home course in the afternoon. Jay Weitzel and amateur Steve Probst tied for fourth with 146s. Pisano won $500 and Ross earned $325. The total purse was $1,500.
Four days after the Philadelphia Open Sam Penecale and Whitemarsh Valley Country Club hosted the Section Championship. Don Stough, the assistant pro at the Country Club of York, led after 36 holes but at the end of the three days of stroke play two big names were at the top. Art Wall (213) put together steady rounds of 70, 72 and 71 to win by two strokes. It was Wall’s first win of any kind since the 1960 Canadian Open. Since that victory he hadn’t won at any level, not even a pro-am. Two weeks before, Wall had missed an 18-inch putt for a win at the Insurance City Open and then lost the playoff. Al Besselink (215) made a run at Wall in the last round catching him with a birdie two on #16. Wall, who was playing right behind Besselink, countered with his own birdie two and he also birdied the par five #17 for a two-stroke lead with one hole to play. On the last hole Besselink holed a 30-foot putt for a birdie to finish with a five-under-par 67 but Wall put a 9-iron shot four feet from the cup and holed the putt for victory. Besselink might have caught someone else but against a player like Wall he had too much ground to make up. Stough finished third at 217 and Henry McQuiston was two shots farther back in the fourth spot at 219. The total purse came to $5,185 and Wall won $1,000. The last three holes of the final round were televised locally on Channel 3, the NBC affiliate. An admission fee of $1 for spectators was charged and a gallery estimated at 1,000 gathered at the last green to see the finish.
The day after the Section Championship ended the Pennsylvania pros were playing in their Pennsylvania Open at the Hershey Country Club. In a change from recent years the tournament was being played over two days at the Country Club course instead of playing 36 holes in one day over the Hershey Park and the Country Club courses. There were 154 entries and the field was cut to the low 50 and ties after the first day. It took a score of 76 to continue play the second day. Henry Williams, Jr. (143) posted a three-under-par 70 on Monday and added a 73 the second day to win the tournament for a second time. Buddy Heckman, the professional at the Manor Country Club, almost caught Williams with a last round 69 but he ended up one stroke back at 144. Paul Kelly and Tommy Murphy tied for third at 145. Art Wall, Skee Riegel, Bobby Ford and Lew Worsham tied for fifth with 147s. It was the first time that Wall had entered the state open. The purse was $2,750 and Williams won $750.
Angelo Paul won the Philadelphia Section Senior Championship on the fourth Friday of August, but it required a playoff to nail down the title. Paul and Rod Munday, who was now the professional at the Gettysburg Country Club, completed their round at the Berkshire Country Club with one under par 70s. A sudden death playoff began on the first hole. Paul reached the 575 yard par five with a drive and a 4-wood. He then holed his ten foot putt for an eagle to win. Cas Banas, the professional at the Coatesville Country Club, finished third with a 72. Bud Lewis and Terl Johnson tied for fourth with 74s. As the Section senior champion Paul would receive travel and living expenses for the Senior PGA Championship.
The fall meeting of the Section and election of officers was at the Atlantic City Country Club on the second Monday of October. The meeting was in the morning and there was a pro-pro tournament in the afternoon followed by a dinner in the evening. Leo Fraser stepped down after six years as president. The new president was Angelo Paul. Charley Lepre was elected first vice president and Joe Hunsberger was reelected second vice president. Joe Aneda was elected secretary and Bill Boyle, the professional at the Iron Rock Golf Club, was the new treasurer. Paul was also honored as the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year”. Paul had been the secretary of the Philadelphia Section for seven years.
In late November the Section delegates met in Palm Beach, Florida at the Palm Beach Towers Hotel for the national meeting. Henry Poe was the chairman of the meeting again and master of ceremonies at the President’s Dinner. President Lou Strong, Secretary Wally Mund and Treasurer George Hall were reelected for a third straight year. There were now 5,041 members. A report was presented on the progress at the new PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens. Class D membership was eliminated and the assistant professionals who were members were now class “Junior A”. For the first time in was mandatory that the vice presidents be rotated among the Sections within a District. Francis W. Sullivan, Philadelphia attorney, was elected to the PGA Advisory Committee. Dutch Harrison and Olin Dutra were inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame. The Section’s delegates to the national meeting were Angelo Paul and Joe Aneda. There were 34 PGA Sections.
Arnold Palmer was back on top of the PGA Tour money list with a record $81,448. Gene Littler finished $15,248 back in second place. Palmer was also the “PGA Player-of-the-Year” and he won the Vardon Trophy with a 70.27 average. Art Wall finished 27th on the money list with $21,761.90. Mike Souchak won $21,291.63 to finish 29th. Jon Gustin was once again safely within the 60 exemption with earnings of $10,789.61 which put him in 54th place. Al Besselink won $365.
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After eighteen years at Dunedin the PGA was moving across Florida to Palm Beach Gardens. The PGA had planned to play its Senior PGA Championship at their new home. The new courses weren’t ready so the tournament was moved north to the Port St. Lucie Country Club, which had opened in 1961. The event was played in early February on Port St. Lucie’s Saints and Sinners courses. With the two courses the large entry could be accommodated and the championship was completed in four days. The tournament was open to all PGA members who had reached their 50th birthday. For the first time in the history of the tournament the winner registered all four rounds in the 60s. Herman Barron (272) put together rounds of 67, 67, 69 and 69 to finish two strokes ahead of John Barnum (274). Barron won $2,500. Former North Hills Country Club professional Henry Ransom was third at 279. Errie Ball and Jack Isaacs tied for fourth with 282s. John Long tied for eighth with a 288 and won $462.50. (290) tied for 16th and won $341.66. Rod Munday (291) tied for 22nd and won $260. Jimmy Johnson (292) turned in a 292 and won $200. The Philadelphia Section senior champion, Angelo Paul (294), won $125 for a tie for 34th. The purse was now $30,000. The entry fee was $10.
Art Wall won the Caracas Open on the Caribbean Tour in the fourth week of February. He was never over par shooting rounds of 67, 70, 68 and 69 for a six under par 274 at the Valle Arriba Club. He finished two strokes in front of George Knudson (276) and five ahead of John Barnum (279) and Eddie Rubis (279). Don Whitt finished fifth at 280. Knudson began the tournament with a course record 64 in the first round. First prize was $1,300. The tournament sponsors also paid appearance money to the name players like Wall to entice them to leave the PGA Tour for their tournaments. The tournaments were co-sponsored by the PGA of America.
On the first Sunday of March Charlie Sifford captured his first win in a PGA-sanctioned 72-hole tournament when he won the Puerto Rico Open. Sifford led by one stroke entering the final round, posted a three under par 68 and won by six strokes. He put together rounds of 69, 67, 73 and 68 on the Berwind Country Club course for a 277. George Knudson (283) finished second and Manuel de la Torre (285) was next in third place. There was a four-way tie for fourth among John Barnum, Pete Cooper, Alvie Thompson and Chi Chi Rodriguez at 287. First prize was $1,200.
On the last Monday of March the Section held its spring meeting at the Sheraton Hotel. Philadelphia mayor James J. Tate was the guest speaker. Leo Fraser presented the officers of Aronimink Golf Club with gold money clips for their help in organizing and conducting the PGA Championship the previous year. Section President Angelo Paul outlined plans for the Section’s sixth annual golf show. The Section members learned that Charley Lepre, the Section’s first vice president and tournament chairman, had resigned. Lepre had written a letter of recommendation for a non PGA member who was applying for a head professional position in southern New Jersey. Lepre was asked to resign by the Section board of directors, and complied with their wishes.
One week later on the first Monday of April, the Section kicked off the golf season at twelve-noon with their golf show. The show was at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia again and the show chairman was Joe Aneda. Nearly 3,500 attended. As usual the golf professionals manned the driving nets giving out free instruction and 40 pro-golf salesmen displayed the latest golf equipment and clothes for the golfer. LPGA star Marlene Bauer Hagge and trick shot artist Paul Hahn were the featured guests. Hagge participated in two two-hour long panel discussions on the golf swing. The panel fielded questions from the audience. In the afternoon session she was teamed up with Sam Penecale, Stan Dudas, Charley Lepre and Bob Ross. In the evening Al Besselink, Skee Riegel, Henry Williams, Jr. and Billy Booe joined Hagge on the panel. The day came to a completion with Hahn’s world-renowned trick shot show.
In early April Jack Nicklaus won his first Masters Tournament and became the youngest winner of the tournament at age 23. The scores were high, the highest winning score since 1956, but a second round 66 made the difference. Nicklaus (286) finished one stroke in front of Tony Lema at 287. Nicklaus’ four rounds were 74, 66, 74 and 72. First prize was $20,000. Sam Snead and Julius Boros tied for third at 288. The Section’s only two entrants Mike Souchak and Art Wall played well but weren’t in contention on Sunday. Souchak (292) led at the halfway point and finished tied for 11th. Wall (294) tied for 21st. Souchak won $1,350 and Wall won $1,000.
In late May local qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at 56 locations in the country. On the fourth Monday Skee Riegel and twelve other professionals passed the test in Philadelphia. Riegel played the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in one-over par 73 in the morning and came back in the afternoon at the Green Valley Country Club with a one-under par 70 to take the medalist honors with a 143. Jerry Pisano, Al Nelson and Stan Dudas tied for second with 145s. John Kennedy, who was working at the Presidential Driving Range, and Henry McQuiston were next with 146s. John Berry, an assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club, finished alone in seventh place at 147. The next four spots went to Tim DeBaufre, who was playing the PGA Tour out of the Philadelphia Country Club, Bob Gleeson, an assistant at the Edgmont Country Club, Dick Hendrickson, who was now the pro at the Laurel Oak Country Club, and Bob Schoener, Jr. at 148. Another assistant from the Philadelphia Country Club, Pete Trenham, finished at 149 and won the last spot in a sudden death playoff with a par on the first hole at Whitemarsh. Art Wall and Mike Souchak were exempt from both local and sectional qualifying for having finished 11th and 14th in the 1962 U.S. Open.
Also on the fourth Monday Henry Williams, Jr. and five others made it through local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Central Pennsylvania. Williams shot a pair of one-over-par 74s for a two over par 148 at the Hershey Country Club to top a field of 36 pros and amateurs. Buddy Heckman and amateur John Guenther tied for second with 149s. Jay Weitzel was next with a 151. Amateurs Frank Arasin and Bill Davidson won the last two spots with 152s
Bob Schoener, Jr. outscored a large field of top names from the PGA Tour to qualify for the U.S. Open in early June. Play was on the Old Oaks and Century Country Clubs at Purchase, New York. Schoener posted a one under par 69 at Old Oaks in the morning and a one under par 70 at Century in the afternoon. His 139, the only score under 140, won the medalist prize of $300. The field was so strong at Purchase the USGA granted 45 spots there. There were a total of 129 spots up for grabs at 13 locations in the country and 21 players were totally exempt. Some of the names that Schoener outplayed in New York were Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Cary Middlecoff, Lionel Hebert and Don January. Skee Riegel (142), who tied for eighth, and Al Nelson (144) who tied for 19th made it with ease. Henry McQuiston and Jerry Pisano posted 147s and survived a 15-man sudden death playoff for the last nine spots. The playoff began with the players paired in three groups of five each and took seven holes to complete Schoener, Riegel, Nelson, McQuiston and Pisano had all qualified locally in Philadelphia.
As a result of poor scheduling the qualifying rounds for the PGA Championship were played at the St. Davids Golf Club on the Monday of U.S. Open week. The pros that had qualified for the Open had to play 36-holes at St. Davids and then fly to Boston to try to get in some practice before teeing off in the tournament on Thursday. In the afternoon round Skee Riegel mastered the back nine at St. Davids with six birdies and three pars for a 30. He led the field by four strokes with a 71 and a 67 for a four-under-par 138. The second spot went to Charley Lepre (142) who was one stroke in front of Sam Penecale (143). One stroke farther back, Jerry Pisano won the fourth and last qualifying place with a 144. Art Wall and Mike Souchak were exempt as members of the 1961 Ryder Cup team.
Ron Bakich the newly hired professional at the new Lords Valley Country Club qualified for the PGA Championship in New Jersey because his PGA paperwork hadn’t transferred him to the Philadelphia Section yet. Bakich qualified at Braidburn Country Club on the third Monday of June. There were three spots in the New Jersey Section. Bakich posted a 145 and won a three-man sudden death playoff for the last spot. Jon Gustin, who was now the head professional at the Echo Lake Country Club, was involved in the playoff with Bakich.
The U.S. Open was at The Country Club near Boston in the third week of June. The winning score was the highest since 1935 at Oakmont. It had been a very difficult winter in New England and sheets of ice had covered the greens for a long period of time. Also there had been a late spring and the greens had not fully recovered but the main reason for the high scores was the wind. In the last round only three players were able to shoot 72s and Julius Boros was one of them. At the end of regulation play it was Boros, Arnold Palmer and Jackie Cupit all tied at nine over par 293. Palmer missed a two-foot putt on the 71st hole and Cupit dropped two strokes on the same hole to fall into the tie at the top. Paul Harney (294) made a bogey on the last hole and finished fourth one stroke back and Tony Lema (295) made bogeys on the last two to end up two strokes out of first. Just like fifty years earlier in 1913 on the same course a three-way playoff was needed to determine the winner. In the playoff Boros started fast, one under-par after five holes he turned in 33 finishing with a 70 and no one was close as Cupit had a 73 and Palmer a 76. First prize was $17,500. Mike Souchak (307) tied for 32nd and won $366.67. Art Wall (310) tied for 40th and won $337.50. Bob Schoener, Jr., Al Nelson, Skee Riegel, Henry McQuiston and Jerry Pisano missed the cut.
The PGA Championship was in Dallas in mid July and it was hot. At age 23 Jack Nicklaus joined three other golf professionals as the only ones to win all three United States major championships in their careers. He came from behind with a 68 in the last round and won by two strokes over Dave Ragan (281). He finished with rounds of 69, 73, 69 and 68 for 279 and won $13,000. The third round leader Bruce Crampton tied for third with Dow Finsterwald at 282. Art Wall (286) tied for eighth and won $2,090. Mike Souchak (289) tied for 23rd and won $775. Jerry Pisano tied for 40th at 293 and won $410. Skee Riegel shot a 299 and finished tied for 63rd winning $230. Ron Bakich won $158.33 for a tie for 75th at 305. Charley Lepre and Sam Penecale missed the cut. The total purse was $80,900.
The Philadelphia Open was held at the St. Davids Golf Club and the Aronimink Golf Club on the second Monday of August. With half of the field playing each course and then switching courses at mid-day there was always a great deal of doubt as to what score would win. This year was no exception. Bert Yancey, the assistant at the Green Valley Country Club, came to the last hole at Aronimink in the late afternoon needing a par for 142. He had heard that a 144 was in but he felt like someone would shoot a lower score than that. When his tee shot ended up behind the trees on the right he decided to gamble with his second shot. Twice he tried to play toward the green, only to hit trees. His fourth was near the green. He chipped ten feet past the hole his putt lipped out. He finished with a seven on the hole and a 145 total. Three players, Al Besselink, Sam Penecale and amateur Harvey Smith, finished tied for first at 144. Besselink had the low round of the day, a 69 at St. Davids to go with his 75 at Aronimink. There was a four-way tie for fourth with Yancey. Also finishing with 145s were Pat Schwab, Willie Polumbo and Mike Franko. Franko was the professional at the Greenacres Country Club near Trenton, New Jersey. He was entered because his club was a member of the Golf Association of Philadelphia. Polumbo had two eagles on par five holes that day, one at St. Davids and one at Aronimink. Due to scheduling conflicts and the Pennsylvania Open a playoff wasn’t held until ten days later. In the playoff Besselink took the lead on the fourth hole and never gave it up. He came to the last hole with a two-stroke lead and when he holed out from a greenside bunker for an even par 70 he had wrapped his third major title in the Philadelphia area. Penecale finished with a 74 and Smith was one higher at 75. First prize was $500 from the $1,535 purse. There were 127 entries.
One week after missing a chance to win the Philadelphia Open Bert Yancey won the Pennsylvania Open at the Hershey Country Club. At the end of the first day he was tied for the lead with a one-under-par 72 and a second day 71 put him in the clubhouse with a 143 and a three-stroke victory. Sam Penecale and Al Nelson tied for second at 146. That would be two second-place finishes in local majors in two weeks for Penecale but he didn’t know it yet. The playoff for the Philadelphia Open wasn’t held until three days later. Al Besselink and amateur John Guenther tied for fourth with 147s. First prize was $750 and the second place finishers each won $337.50.
The Philadelphia Section Assistant Championship was played at the Whitford Country Club on the first Friday of September. At the end of the 18 hole round there was a three way tie for the title. John Markel, Bob Schoener, Jr. and Bert Yancey had all posted even par 72s. On the first hole of a sudden death playoff Markel made a birdie three to win. Bob Batdorff finished fourth with a 73.
Art Wall defended his Section Championship title at Leo Fraser’s Atlantic City Country Club in the second week of September. There were 90 Section members entered. The prize money totaled $4,450 with a first prize of $600. Not all of that was in the prize money as Fraser allocated some dollars for eagles, most birdies in a round and the lowest nine hole score each day, which some of the players did not agree with. They felt like that money should be in the purse instead. On Monday for the first round the course was set up quite easy and 14 returned scores better than the par of 70. Art Wall, who was battling a painful back problem, began with a 67, which left him in a tie for fourth place. A second round 66 put him in front by three strokes. In the last round Wall turned in another under 70 score with a 68, which gave him a nine-under-par 201 total. Just like the Pennsylvania Open Al Nelson finished second again. His 208 score edged out Pat Schwab (209) by one stroke. Henry McQuiston and Tommy Murphy tied for fourth with 210s. It was the third Section Championship title for Wall. The top four finishers qualified for the PGA Tour’s upcoming Whitemarsh Open. For the first time the final rounds were recorded on tape for television and aired on Channel 6. In 1960 and 1962 the final rounds had been televised live but this time it was taped and taken back to the WFIL Channel 6 in Philadelphia to be aired on Sunday.
Rod Munday won the Philadelphia Section Senior Championship on the fourth Friday of September. Munday shot a one under par 69 at the Meadowlands Country Club to win by two strokes. Jimmy Johnson finished second with a 71. Mike Rooney and Angelo Paul tied for third with 72s. As the Section senior champion Munday received travel and living expenses for the PGA Championship.
The largest purse in the history of the PGA Tour, $125,000, brought the touring pros to Philadelphia in the first week of October. It was late in the year and most of the big names were ready for a vacation but the purse brought most of them to Whitemarsh. The tournament was put together late and wasn’t even on the PGA schedule early in the year. The tour had played in Portland, Oregon the week before. It was called the Whitemarsh Open, which was hosted by the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and their professional Sam Penecale. Qualifying for 38 places was held on Monday to fill out the starting field. Jim Ferree and Jay Dolan led the qualifying with 70s. Eleven Section members passed the qualifying test. Dick Hendrickson led the Section pros with a 73 and John Long was next with a 74. John Berry, Harlan Will, the professional at the Overbrook Golf Club, and Bob Schoener, Jr. made it with 75s. Jerry Pisano, Bob Batdorff, Al Besselink and Buster Reed, the professional at the Valley Country Club, were in with 76s. Sixteen players ended up tied at 77 for the last 13 places. Three of them were John Serafin, now the professional at the Colonial Country Club, Ron Bakich and Jimmy Johnson, but Serafin didn’t stay for the playoff. The tournament officials decided to let the 13 who were there for the playoff into the 152-man field and Serafin became the first alternate. Pat Schwab had an exemption off his tournament record in the Section. Seventeen players from the Philadelphia Section teed off in the first round on Thursday. Art Wall was not one of those, as he had to withdraw for health reasons. It was fall with cool windy weather and there were many high scores but as quite often happened Arnold Palmer had one of the low ones. On Saturday he shot a six-under-par 66 to go with his 70 and 71 from the first two rounds. The 66 enabled him to take a three-stroke lead into the last round. On Sunday he shot his highest score, a 74 for 281, but he made it to the clubhouse one stroke in front of Lionel Hebert. That gave him the largest prize he had ever won in golf, $26,000. He paid his Whitemarsh Valley caddie $1,500. In the last round fifty-one year old Sam Snead shot a 66 and finished tied for third at 283 with Al Balding. The low professional from the Section was Bob Batdorff who tied for 21st at 290. That was worth $1,250. Mike Souchak (296) tied for 45th and won $466. Jerry Pisano (299) tied for 54th and won $370. Henry McQuiston (300) won $330 for a tie for 57th and Jimmy Johnson (301) won $280 as he tied for 62nd. Berry, Bakich, Besselink, Hendrickson, Reed, Skee Riegel, Penecale, Schwab, Schoener, Al Nelson, Will and Long missed the cut. The 36-hole scores of 151 and better made the cut. The tournament was not a financial success for the sponsors. It was the same week as the baseball World Series. The Series was still being played in the afternoons so the PGA wasn’t able to sell the tournament to TV.
The Ryder Cup matches were played in mid October and for the first time no one with a past or future connection to the Philadelphia Section was on the team. The matches were played at the East Lake Country Club in Atlanta. The American team won with ease 23 to 9.
The fall meeting of the Section was at the Atlantic City Country Club on the last Monday in October. Angelo Paul was reelected president. There were two new vice presidents who hadn’t been officers before. Neal McGeehan, pro and owner of the Yorktowne Country Club, was elected first vice president and John Long was elected second vice president. Joe Aneda was reelected secretary and John Hayes, the professional at the Riverton Country Club, was elected treasurer. Al Keeping was honored at the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” for his work with the caddie scholarship fund. He was the chairman of the caddie scholarship committee for seven years during which time the Section helped twelve caddies attend college. Keeping was an assistant to George Duncan in England before coming to Philadelphia in 1928 to be the assistant at the Philadelphia Cricket Club to George’s brother Alex. He was a vice president of the Section for eight years, tournament chairman for five years and chairman of the Benevolent Committee for three years. The Section’s pro-pro championship was played in the afternoon and there was a dinner in the evening.
On the second Sunday of November the Washington Post reported that Lou Strong, the president of the PGA of America, had been selected to replace Al Besselink as the professional at the Philmont Country Club. Evidently Strong must have changed his mind as he ended up being the professional at the new PGA Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with a lucrative contract that included the golf carts and the driving range. PGA politics may have played a part in the deal.
The national meeting of the PGA was held in Palm Beach, Florida in early December. Lou Strong stepped down as president and Texan Warren Cantrell ran for president from the floor defeating Wally Mund who had been the secretary for three years. The vote was 52 to 34. Mund had been expected to move up without opposition but he represented the old regime and many of the delegates were disgruntled over the contractual agreement for their new national golf club. The association was about to move into their new national golf club in Palm Beach Gardens and the clubhouse, which included their offices, was almost complete. The agreement was that the PGA would build a one million-dollar clubhouse on John D. MacArthur’s property. When it was completed MacArthur would turn over the two new golf courses to the PGA. Dick Wilson, a former PGA member and renowned golf course architect, designed the golf courses. Two new resolutions passed. One was that a person had to be a United States citizen to become a PGA member and the other was that the age one could become a PGA member was raised from 18 to 21. The Philadelphia Section’s delegates to the national meeting were Angelo Paul and Henry Williams, Jr. Ralph Guldahl and Johnny Revolta were voted into the PGA Hall of Fame.
The PGA didn’t become the owner of the new PGA Golf Club and its two golf courses. There were too many legal concerns with John D. MacArthur, the developer. As a resolution to the problems the PGA officers agreed to lease office space in the clubhouse building and an agreement was signed giving the PGA members reduced prices for carts and other fees.
The money race on the PGA Tour went to Arnold Palmer again. He set another new standard by being the first professional golfer to win more than $100,000 in a single year. He finished with $128,230 and Jack Nicklaus squeezed into six digits as well with $100.040. The “PGA Player-of-the-Year” was Julius Boros. The Vardon Trophy was won by Billy Casper with an average of 70.58 strokes per round. Art Wall finished 25th on the money list with $24,389.14 in 23 events. Mike Souchak won $13,433 which was good for 53rd place.
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Art Wall started the year with a victory at the $30,000 San Diego Open in the second week in January. Wall began the tournament with a 71 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn golf course and took the lead in the second round with a course record 65. On a day that began with a two-hour frost delay he birdied the last four holes. A 68 in the third round put him two strokes in front and an even par 70 in the last round gave him a 274 total and a two-stroke win. Tony Lema and Bob Rosburg tied for second with 276s. Harold Kneece, Rex Baxter, Bob Charles and George Archer tied for fourth at 277. First prize was $4,000.
On the third Sunday of February Art Wall won the Maracaibo Open in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The tournament was the firs of four events on what was called the Caribbean Tour. There had been five on the schedule but due to political unrest the Panama Open was to be first had been canceled. On the way to the win Wall set a tournament record, eight under par 280 with rounds of 69, 69, 71 and 71. In the last round he played the last seven holes in six under par, making four birdies and an eagle to win by three strokes. Jim Ferree finished second at 283. Hector Alvarez and Jay Dolan tied for third with 284s. Henry Williams, Jr. and Al Besselink tied for seventh at 289. First prize was $1,300. Some of the big name players like Wall, Besselink and Williams received guaranteed money if they played in all four events. The leading points winner for the four events received a $5,000 bonus.
Former Section member Sam Snead won the Senior PGA Championship in the third week of February. The tournament was played on the PGA’s new North and South Courses at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Snead was 51 and he hadn’t played the year before when he was eligible for the first time. Snead won by three strokes over John Barnum (282) with rounds of 67, 68, 73 and 71 for a nine under par 279. Dutch Harrison, another former Section member, finished third at 285 and Duke Gibson finished fourth at 287. John Long was the low Section member shooting a 293, tying for seventh and wining $550. Jimmy Johnson (299) tied for 22nd winning $300 and Terl Johnson (302) won $200 for a tie for a tie for 30th. The Section senior champion, Rod Munday (308), also finished in the money tying for 48th and he won $108.33. Snead took home $2,500 from the $30,000 purse.
Art Wall won the Los Lagartos International tournament at the Los Lagartos Country Club in Bogota, Columbia on the first Sunday of March. It was the second victory for Wall on the four tournament 1964 Caribbean Tour. Wall put together rounds of 69, 71, 69 and 71. His eight under par 280 score gave him a two stroke margin of victory over Al Besselink who finished at 282. Besselink had resigned as the professional at Philmont Country Club in late 1963 to take another shot at the PGA Tour. Alex Caygil (284) finished third and Roman Sota (285) finished fourth. Bob Ross tied for 15th at 291 and Henry Williams, Jr. (292) finished 18th. First prize was $1,400 and the total purse was $13,000.
Art Wall won for the third time in four weeks on the Caribbean Tour by taking the Puerto Open at the Dorado Hilton course on the second Sunday of March. The new seaside course played difficult for four days due to ocean breezes. Wall put together rounds of 70, 71, 72 and 76. His three over par 289 put him in a tie with Jay Dolan for the top prize. A sudden death playoff followed, which Wall won by making four straight pars. Chi Chi Rodriguez and Jim Ferree tied for third with 290 totals. A two under par 70 by Rodriguez on Sunday was the low round of the day. First prize was $1,200. Wall also won $1,300 and the Seagram Caribbean Trophy for having the best record on the four tournament Caribbean Tour. With the bonus money Wall picked up a total of $6,100.
The Philadelphia Section got the golf season started with their spring meeting on the fourth Wednesday of March. The meeting was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia again. An announcement was made that the Section’s Board of Control had informed Walter Schmidt, chairman of the J. Wood Platt Caddy Scholarship Fund, that the Section would be donating $1,000 to the fund. The fund, which had been started by Leo Fraser and Al Keeping in 1958, had grown to $32,400 and was now helping 90 boys. Five people who had been contributing to the Section’s tournament schedule were honored. The honored were; Mrs. James S. Whaley for the Whaley Memorial in memory of her husband, Gus Haug sponsor of the Riverton Open the richest one day event on the Section’s schedule, James G. Hogg president of the Plymouth Golf Ball Company sponsor of the Section Championship and other events, Oliver Troup sponsor of the Juniata Golf Club pro-member and M.M. Freeman sponsor of the Indian Valley Open. The tournament chairman, Neal McGeehan, presented the tournament schedule to the members. Herb Jewson who served six years as the Section president in the 1920s and 1930s drove up from the Jersey shore to attend the meeting. In the afternoon the professionals met to make plans for the upcoming spring golf show on Monday.
The Section’s golf show opened at noon on the fourth Monday of March. As usual the manufacturer’s reps were there promoting the latest golf equipment. The MacGregor Golf Company’s $175 kangaroo golf bag was still selling and that year they had also come up with a kangaroo and alligator golf bag for $500. The guest celebrity was Melvin “Chick” Harbert, winner of the PGA Championship in 1954. Along with demonstration of the golf swing by Harbert, there was a panel of golf professionals that answered questions from the amateurs in attendance. The panel was composed of Harbert, Leo Fraser, Stan Dudas, Harlan Will, Gary Nixon, the new professional at the Philmont Country Club and Wiffy Cox, the professional at the Congressional Country Club, host of the upcoming U.S. Open. The Section’s members provided free instruction in the driving nets. Honored at the show was Joseph C. Dey, Jr., a former golf writer for a Philadelphia newspaper and executive director of the USGA for almost 30 years. Also honored was Robert L. Taylor, publisher of the Bulletin newspaper, which helped sponsor the Philadelphia Section championship each year.
Al Besselink returned to the PGA Tour after three years at Philmont Country Club. After seven years without a victory on the tour he won at the Azalea Open in late March. Besselink started out the tournament with a 70 at the Cape Fear Country Club and in the second round he shot a seven-under-par 65 to take the lead. A third round 72 left him holding a three-stroke lead with one round to play. Thursday had been rained out so the tournament required an extra day. On Monday the temperature was in the 30s with wind and no one broke par. Besselink triple bogied the next to last hole when his tee shot was out of bounds by two inches, but he managed to finish one stroke in front of the rest of the field. He posted a 75 for 282 and a one-stroke win over Lionel Hebert (283). Tommy Jacobs was one stroke farther back with a 284. Billy Casper and Larry Mowry tied for fourth with 285s. Besselink picked up $2,700 for the win plus $1,400 in bonus money for leading after the second and third rounds.
The Masters Tournament was in the second week of April. It was an even numbered year so Arnold Palmer was due to win again. He started with a 69 and a 68 for a four-stroke lead. In the third round he shot a 69 and increased his lead to five strokes. In the last round he shot a steady 70 for 276 and a six-stroke win. It was his fourth win at Augusta. Palmer had already won the Masters in 1958, 1960 and 1962. Jack Nicklaus (282) and Dave Marr (282) tied for second two strokes ahead of Bruce Devlin (284). Mike Souchak shot 287, tied for ninth and won $1,700. Art Wall missed the cut. Palmer won $20,000 from the $129,800 purse. The purse topped the payout at Whitemarsh by $4,800 and set a new high for the tour.
Mike Souchak picked up his first win in three years at the $50,000 Houston Open in mid April. It was his second Houston Open title, the first one coming in 1955. Souchak (278) birdied two holes on the last nine for a par 70 round at the Sharpstown Park Golf Course to nip Jack Nicklaus (279) by one stroke. Souchak’s four rounds were 71, 69, 68 and 70. Chi Chi Rodriguez (280) finished third two strokes out of first place. Rex Baxter, Al Geiberger and Butch Baird tied for fourth at 281. First prize was $7,500.
In late May Mike Souchak won his second tournament of the year at the Memphis Open. Playing the 72nd hole of the tournament Souchak was tied with three other players. He made a birdie four from a greenside bunker and sewed up the $7,500 first place check. Souchak’s (270) rounds, 69, 65, 67 and 69, were all below the par of 70 at the Colonial Country Club course. Total prize money was $50,000. Billy Casper and Tommy Jacobs tied for second at 271. Art Wall finished one stroke farther back at 273 in a six-way tie for fourth with Bob Rosburg, Mason Rudolph, Gene Littler, Doug Sanders and Gay Brewer.
Local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Philadelphia was held at the North Hills Country Club and the new Cedarbrook Country Club on the fourth Monday in May. Seventy-six players were competing for fourteen spots in the sectional qualifying. The medalist was Sam Penecale who had played in nine U.S. Opens. He went around North Hills in the morning in a two-under-par 69 and came back in the afternoon with a three-over-par 75 at Cedarbrook for 144. His 75 was one of the lower rounds at Cedarbrook as no one was able to equal par. Bobby Ford, now the assistant at the Wilmington Country Club, Bob Schoener, Jr., Jimmy Johnson and Buzz Garvin, an assistant at the Philmont Country Club, were four shots off the medalist pace with 148s. Clint Kennedy, a teaching pro from the Green Valley Country Club, was alone in sixth place with a 149. George Griffin, Jr., who had now taken over for his father as the head professional at the Green Valley Country Club, and John Berry tied for seventh with 150s. Next in line were Skee Riegel and Tim DeBaufre, who was now back as a full time assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club, were at 151. Bob Hendricks and Bob Ross picked up the eleventh and twelfth places with 152s. Dick Mullen, another teaching pro from Green Valley Country Club and Chuck Keating, the assistant at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, won the last two places with 153s. All three pros from Green Valley qualified. Art Wall was exempt from local qualifying off his position on the 1963 PGA Tour money list. Only twenty-one players were exempt from both local and sectional qualifying.
Andy Stofko, a non-PGA professional, was the low at the local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Central Pennsylvania. He led with a (76-71) 147 at the Country Club of Harrisburg. There were 18 starters and four qualifying places in Harrisburg. The next spot went to Rod Munday (149). Reading amateur Don Sowers (150) picked up the third spot. The last place went to Munday’s assistant at the Gettysburg Country Club, Don Stough (151). Charlie Strack (152), who was now the professional at the Outdoor Country Club, won an eleven hole sudden-death playoff over Jim Sharpe (152) for first alternate.
Al Besselink made it through the local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Memphis and Mike Souchak, who had just won the Memphis Open the day before missed by two strokes with a 147. There were 39 spots in Memphis were many of the nonexempt touring pros were competing. Besselink qualified with a 139, which was four strokes off the leading pace of 135 set by Gay Brewer. Qualifying was on the fourth Monday of May.
On the first Monday in June qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the Woodcrest Country Club. John Berry posted a 73 in the morning and came back with a 67 in the afternoon to win the medal with a 140. Berry was the only player to break par 71 for the day. Jimmy Johnson and Tommy Murphy were next with 143s and Charley Lepre earned the last spot with a 144. Mike Souchak was exempt off his position on the 1963 and 1964 PGA Tour money list. Art Wall and Al Besselink were exempt off their positions on the 1964 PGA Tour money list.
Three Philadelphia professionals made it through sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open on the second Monday in June. They were among 106 players competing for 36 places at the Woodmere Club and The Seawane Club on Long Island. The medalist was Welshman Dave Thomas with a 135. Skee Riegel posted a four under par 68 at Seawane and a two under par 69 at Woodmere to tie for second. Bob Hendricks began with a 76 a Woodmere and came back with a 69 at Seawane in the afternoon to get under the wire by one stroke. Bob Schoener, Jr. had rounds of 75 and 71, which left him tied with seven players for the last two places. Schoener posted rounds of 75 and 71 and then prevailed via a sudden death playoff. A loser in the playoff was Bob Ross who was still walking with a limp due to a late April golf cart accident. Ross had suffered a four-inch cut of a muscle in his left leg when he was pinned by a golf cart against a wall in the carthouse at North Hills Country Club. There were 36 spots to qualify for as many of the touring pros were in New York for that week’s PGA Tour event. Riegel, Hendricks, Schoener and Ross had passed the local test in Philadelphia.
On day later on the second Tuesday of June Art Wall qualified for the U.S. Open in Detroit. He turned in the second lowest score, a 140, but he didn’t play in the Open that year. Bert Yancey, who was now on the PGA Tour, also made the grade in Detroit with a 147 that put him in a tie for 23rd. George Bayer was low in Detroit with a score of 138. There were 37 spots as the PGA Tour had been in Detroit that week. The 149 scorers played off for the last spots.
The U.S. Open was at the Congressional Country Club near Washington D.C. The tournament was played in the third week of June and it will be always remembered for the humidity and heat that came close to 100 degrees the last day. The heat had been around for a while and burned out the rough. Everyone thought that the scores would be low but in the end only Ken Venturi broke 280. After 36 holes he was at 142 (72-70) but he trailed Tommy Jacobs by six strokes. On Saturday morning Venturi played the front nine in 30 and posted a 66 to move within two strokes of Jacobs. He had almost passed out from the heat and if he weren’t playing so well he would have withdrawn. Somehow in the afternoon with a doctor in tow Venturi toured the course in par 70 for a 72-hole score of 278. He passed Jacobs (282) and won by four strokes for his first win in four years. Bob Charles (283) finished third one stroke behind Jacobs and Billy Casper ended up alone in fourth place at 285. Skee Riegel (306), who was playing in the Open for the fourteenth time, was the only Philadelphia player to make the cut. He finished well down the list in 48th place and received the standard check of $300 for those who made the cut. On the second day Bert Yancey was playing in the next to last pairing and thought that he had a chance to make the cut. On the last hole he hit his second shot into a pond by the green. He took off his right shoe and sock and played his ball onto the edge of the green. He then realized that he had sliced open his foot on a broken bottle. He missed the putt and knowing that he had missed the cut he didn’t complete the hole. He was taken to a hospital for stitches. Also missing the cut were Bob Schoener, Jr. and Bob Hendricks. First prize was $17,500 from the $95,400 purse. The entry fee was $20. That was the last year for the double rounds on Saturday but qualifying continued to be played with 36 holes in one day.
The second Whitemarsh Open was moved to the July 4th weekend. It drew a strong field even though the British Open started on the next Wednesday, just three days after Whitemarsh ended. Qualifying was held at Whitemarsh on Monday for 153 pros and amateurs hoping to play on Thursday. It took a 75 to win one of the 57 openings and only one player broke 70. Pete Fleming led with a 68 and Henry McQuiston was tied for second with a 71. Buzz Garvin and Dick Hendrickson also made it with ease with 72s. Jack Walsh, the professional at the Valley Forge Golf Club, Willie Scholl, an assistant at the Saucon Valley Country Club, Ron Bakich and Bob Kinard, the professional at the Locust Valley Country Club, turned in 74s. Pete Trenham and Henry Williams, Jr. got under the wire with 75s. The Whitemarsh Open began on Thursday with 150 starters and 23 were professionals from the Philadelphia Section. Sam Penecale the host pro was exempt, nine had qualified on Monday and the rest of the Section’s entries had exemptions of one kind or another. Art Wall, Bert Yancey, Mike Souchak and Al Besselink were PGA Tour exempt players. Pat Schwab, John Berry, Bob Ross, Bob Hendricks and Jerry Port were exempt off their playing records in the Section. Bob Batdorff was exempt of having made the cut in Cleveland the week before. Skee Riegel, Angelo Paul, Chuck Keating and Bill Kittleman had sponsor exemptions. For the second year in a row Wall had to withdraw because of a bad back. The late spring had taken its toll in the Philadelphia as well so there wasn’t much rough at Whitemarsh either. There were 26 scores under 70 in the first round. At the halfway point there were 20 players at less than 140 and it took a score of 147 to make the cut as the field was reduced to the low 90 and ties. There was another cut to the low 60 and ties at the end of the third round, which required an even par 216. Jack Nicklaus shot a 67 in the last round to come from six strokes and nine places back to win by one over Gary Player. Nicklaus’ rounds were 69, 70, 70 and 67 for 276. Arnold Palmer finished third, one stroke farther back at 278. Dave Marr and Chi Chi Rodriguez tied for fourth with 279s. In the end only five players finished under 280 and two of the par five holes were playing like par fours. Yancey led the Philadelphia contingent with 285, which gave him a tie for 29th and $842. McQuiston (288) also made the cut and $350. Besselink, Trenham, Schwab, Garvin, Souchak, Batdorff, Riegel, Scholl and Williams, missed the third round cut. Port, the professional at the Glen Oak Country Club, Bakich, Hendrickson, Kinard, Berry, Walsh, Ross, Merion Golf Club assistant Kittleman, Hendricks, Penecale, Paul and Keating, who was the assistant to Penecale at Whitemarsh Valley, missed the second round cut. The $122,653 in prize money included $42 that each player received from a television contract. The entry fee was $100. At that time the entry fee was $1 for each $1,000 in the purse with a cap of $100. The daily spectator fee on tournament days was $6 but a season ticket for the seven days was $18.
The PGA Championship was at the Columbus Country Club in Ohio in mid July. Bobby Nichols shot a 64 in the first round to lead by three and led all the way to the finish. He added a 71, 69 and 67 for a 271 total that won by three strokes over Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer who tied for second at 274. Mason Rudolph finished fourth with a 276. The purse had reached $100,000 for the first time and Nichols took home $18,000. The entry fee was $10. The low Philadelphia Section pro was Mike Souchak who tied for 13th at 283 and won $1,650. Al Besselink tied for 33rd with a 289 total and won $662.50. Jimmy Johnson (295) also made the cut winning $220. John Berry missed the third round cut by one stroke. Charley Lepre and Tommy Murphy missed the second round cut. Wall was exempt but didn’t play in the tournament because of problems with his back.
Pat Schwab won the Philadelphia Open at the Philmont Country Club on the second Monday in August. Play was on both the North and South courses. Schwab played the shorter South Course in the morning and using his driver only two times he shot a two-under-par 68. In the afternoon Schwab (140) played the North Course in a two-over-par 72 for a three-stroke victory. Jerry Port, Sam Penecale and amateur John Guenther tied for second with 143s. Charley Lepre, Henry McQuiston, Buzz Garvin, Tom Murphy, Pete Trenham and Alan Niederlitz tied for fifth with 144s. Niederlitz was a pro at the Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, New Jersey and the club was a member of the Golf Association of Philadelphia, which sponsored the tournament each year. The entry fee was $10 and first prize was $500 from a purse of $1,530.
One week later Jerry Pisano shattered the tournament record at the Pennsylvania Open for the Hershey Country Club. Pisano put together nearly identical back-to-back five under par 68s. He only made one bogie each day and they were on the par three 18th hole, when he three putted each time. His 136 score broke Henry Williams, Jr.’s record set in 1954 by five strokes. Al Besselink finished second seven strokes back at 143. Williams and Bill Kittleman tied for third ten strokes behind the winner with 146s. The purse was $2,500 and first prize was $750. The entry fee was $15.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Berkshire Country Club on the second Friday of September. Buzz Garvin won with a two under par 69. Bob Schoener, Jr. finished second with a 71 and Bobby Ford was next with a 72. First prize was $278.
In late September the Section championship was played at the North Hills Country Club. There were 105 entered and the fee was $15 and the host professional was Bob Ross. A pro-am was held the day before the championship began with Philadelphia mayor James H.J. Tate one of the amateur contestants. A golf clinic was presented by the local pros that evening. The clinic was conducted and emceed by Les Keiter, a local sportscaster, and Leo Fraser. The first round was played in a high wind. Pete Trenham turned the front nine in 30 and was seven under par through the thirteenth hole. He lost his momentum but he still led by two strokes as he finished with a two under par 69. The next day Bob Schoener, Jr. shot a 67 to go with his first round 73. His 140 total gave him a three-stroke lead entering the final round. In the last round Schoener slipped a little and Art Wall made a run at him with a 70. Only needing a bogey five on the last hole to wrap up the title, Schoener found the rough with his tee shot. With his golf ball near a tree, he chipped out safely, played to the green and two putted for the win. That gave him a 75 for the round and a total of 215. The win gave Schoener possession of the Bulletin Cup for one year. The Bulletin Cup was now in its 25th year. The Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper had given the cup to Section for its championship in 1940. Wall and Dick Hendrickson tied for second with 216s. John Berry shot a last round 69 and finished fourth at 217 one stroke ahead of Skee Riegel (218) and two ahead of Trenham (219), who finished sixth. First prize was $1,000 from a total purse of $5,000. Play on the 18th hole of the last round was televised on WFIL Channel 6 from 7:00 to 7:30, and Section President Angelo Paul assisted in the commentary.
On the third Monday of October Angelo Paul and all of the other officers were reelected at the Section’s fall meeting, which was held at the Atlantic City CC. The first vice president was Neal McGeehan and John Long was the second vice president. The secretary was Joe Aneda and the treasurer was John Hayes. A new Section award had been created. In late March the Wildwood Country Club professional and a longtime Section member Ed DeBaufre had died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. His golf professional sons Tim and Tom created the award. The sons said that their father always believed that the true test of a golfer was consistency and how one performed over a period of time. The family donated a large 100-year-old sterling silver trophy, which would be engraved each year with the name of the Section member who had the low scoring average for the year in certain designated rounds. The designated rounds were in nine selected tournaments and were restricted to non-team events. The award was similar to the Vardon Trophy awarded on the PGA Tour each year, in that the golfer had to play in a certain percentage of the tournaments and complete every tournament round entered. The winner was Pat Schwab with a 70.7 average. Aneda was the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year”. He had been the chairman of the Section’s golf show for four years. He was the treasurer of the Section one year and he had been the secretary for two years before now being elected secretary for a third time. Also, he had been a delegate to the national meeting.
On the third Wednesday of October Angelo Paul won the Philadelphia Section Senior Championship at the Gettysburg Country Club. He posted a three over par 73 to edge out Jimmy Johnson (74) by one stroke. It was the second time in three years that Paul had won it. Bud Lewis and George Felice, the professional at the Overlook Golf Club, tied for third with 75s. This meant that Paul would be reimbursed for his travel and living expenses at the Senior PGA Championship in Dunedin, Florida.
On the fourth Saturday of November Art Wall won the Ciudad Baranquilla Open in Barranquilla, Columbia. His 72 hole score of 277 was eleven under par.
Art Wall won the Mexican Open on the fifth Sunday of November at the Club de Golf Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. In a very breezy final round on Sunday Wall shot a three under par 69, that he called the best round of his career. With rounds of 71, 68, 68 on the first three days, his 276 score was five strokes to the better of Roberto de Vicenzo (281) who finished second. Don January was third at 283. Billy Maxwell and Richard Sikes tied for fourth at 284. Al Besselink tied for sixth at 285 and won $780. First prize was $3,000.
Leo Fraser was elected treasurer of the PGA of America in the second week of December at the national meeting in Las Vegas. Warren Cantrell was reelected president and Max Elbin moved up to secretary when George Hall decided not to run for reelection. Ed Dudley was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame along with Lloyd Mangrum. The delegates voted to put the selection of the national vice presidents in the hands of the Sections. For the first time the vice president would be decided by a vote of the members of the Section when it was their turn to have a representative. Up to that time the executive committee of the PGA had chosen the vice presidents. The term was still three years. Another amendment to the constitution was that all new PGA members would pay into the building fund for five years. The assessment had been in effect since 1960. The PGA announced that in the future sudden death playoffs on the PGA Tour would be allowed to start on the first televised hole rather than hole #1. The delegates to the national meeting were Angelo Paul and Joe Aneda.
Ken Venturi was voted the “PGA Player-of-the-Year”. The money race on the PGA Tour was almost a dead heat with Jack Nicklaus nosing out Arnold Palmer by $81. Nicklaus earned $113,284 to Palmer’s $113,203. Mike Souchak won $39,559.10 and finished in tenth place. Art Wall won $17,756.59 which put him in 45th place on the money list. Bert Yancey won $11,854.74 to finish 58th. Al Besselink, who was now back on the PGA Tour, won $11,385.01 to end up 61st on the list. Even though Besselink was not in the top sixty money winners for a full exemption, he was exempt for part of the year off his win at the Azalea Open. Palmer won the Vardon Trophy for a third time with an average of 70.01 strokes per round.
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Art Wall won another golf tournament in the second week of February. This victory came in the Panama Open at the Panama Golf Club, Republic of Panama. Wall began the tournament with a 63, which put him five strokes up on the field. A second round 68 gave him a six-stroke lead. A 75 and a 71 in the last two rounds brought him in with a total of 277 and a four-stroke victory over Wes Ellis (281). Florentino Molina was next at 282 and Raymond Floyd finished fourth with a 283. First prize was $1,600 from a purse of $11,000.
In late February Al Besselink picked up another title for the Philadelphia Section by winning the Caracas Open in Caracas, Venezuela. In the last round he shot a three-under-par 67 to go with his three earlier rounds of 70, 66 and 70 at the Valle Arriba Club. The 67 allowed him to come from two strokes behind to win. Besselink finished with a seven under par 273 to win by three over Wes Ellis (276). He took away $2,000 from the $13,500 purse. Spain’s Ramon Sota (277) finished third and Art Wall (279) won the fourth money.
On the same day the Caracas Open was ending Sam Snead was repeating as the Senior PGA champion at the Ft. Lauderdale Country Club. The purse had been bumped up to $35,000 and Snead won $3,500. Snead’s rounds were 71, 68, 68 and 71 for 278. Joe Lopez, Sr. finished second at 282 and Chick Harbert was next at 283. Pete Cooper and Bud Williamson tied for fourth with 284s. Harlan Will was the only Section member in the money as he tied for 37th with a score of 298, winning $175. Section senior champion Angelo Paul missed the money.
The next week in early March Art Wall picked up another victory on the Caribbean Tour by winning the Maracaibo Open in Venezuela. A seven under par course record 65 at the Maracaibo Country Club in the opening round sent Wall on the way to a six-stroke win. He followed up the 65 with rounds of 70, 69 and 67 for a total of 271. Wes Ellis (277), John Barnum (278) and Jay Dolan (279) finished second, third and fourth. Al Besselink (281) finished sixth. Wall won $2,500 and Besselink won $900 from a purse of $15,000.
The spring meeting of the Section was held on the last Monday of March at the Sheraton Hotel. The Section President Angelo Paul and the pros honored Philadelphia Mayor James H.J. Tate for promotion of golf and the PGA professional at the city owned courses. The Section contributed $800 to the caddie scholarship fund that they had founded. The Golf Association of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia PGA now managed it jointly and it was called the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Fund. The PGA Tour was still on the schedule at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club but the tournament name had been changed to the Philadelphia Golf Classic. A percentage of the ticket sales through the pro shops would go to the caddie scholarship fund.
On the second week of April Jack Nicklaus won a second Masters Tournament. At the halfway point in the tournament the big three of golf were tied at 138. The next day Nicklaus tied the course record with a 64 and at the same time set a new standard for the first 54 holes with rounds of 67, 71, and 64 for 202. On Sunday he shot 69 for a tournament record 271. The other two members of the big three, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, tied for second with 280s, nine strokes back. Mason Rudolph finished fourth at 283. The purse had been increased to $140,075 and Nicklaus won $20,000. Mike Souchak (295) tied for 35th and won $1.050. Art Wall (299) tied for 45th and won $1,025. Former Masters champion Henry Picard who was back in the Section as the professional at the Blue Mountain Golf Club in Harrisburg missed the cut.
On the Monday after the Masters Tournament the Section’s eighth annual golf show was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia. From 9 AM to 12 Noon there was a trade show that was open only to the golf professionals and the 53 pro golf exhibitors. The show opened to the public at noon and drew 2,000 paying attendees and 120 golf professionals. The featured guest was LPGA professional Marilyn Smith. She put on a clinic and took part in a panel discussion on the game. The moderator for the panel was Gary Nixon. Ed Tabor provided putting instruction and the sand play was demonstrated by Harlan Will.
Four professionals tied for the medal with 145s in the local qualifying for the U.S. Open on the fourth Monday in May. All four played their first round at the Rolling Green Golf Club and finished at the Llanerch Country Club. The four medalists, John Berry (145), Ron Bakich (145), Pete Trenham (145) and George Griffin, Jr. (145) all had lower scores in the afternoon with rounds of par or better. Trenham made the biggest comeback after starting with a six over par 78 in the morning. In the afternoon he holed out a 45 yard wedge shot on the last hole for an eagle two and a five under par 67. The players were competing for ten places in the sectional qualifying rounds. Amateur Bob Toner finished fifth at 146. Bob Shave, Jr., who had left the PGA Tour to be an assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club, and Jimmy Johnson, tied for sixth and seventh with 147s. Bob Ross and Willie Scholl made it safely with 148s. Dick Hendrickson (149) took the last spot by defeating Bill Kittleman (149) in a sudden death playoff with a par on the first hole. Mike Souchak had a full exemption into the U.S. Open as one of the top fifteen money winners on the PGA Tour money list from May 1, 1964 through April 30, 1965. That exemption category had been increased from about twenty to thirty-one players who were now fully exempt from qualifying. The PGA Tour exemptions had been increased from ten to fifteen and the low fifteen from the 1964 U.S. Open were exempt rather than the ten from previous years. Art Wall and Al Besselink were exempt from local qualifying.
Also on the fourth Monday of May the local qualifying for the U.S. Open was at the Blue Ridge Country Club in Harrisburg. Henry Williams, Jr. shot two 72s for a 144 to lead two others who earned the right to move on to the sectional qualifying rounds in June. Amateur Frank Arasin finished second with a 148 and Art Jones won the other place with a 149. Jones, the professional at the Country Club of York, had to survive a sudden death playoff to earn his spot.
Dick Hendrickson topped a talented field of 80 pros and amateurs in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open at Canoe Brook Country Club in northern New Jersey. The qualifying was held on the second Tuesday in June on Canoe Brook’s North and South courses. Hendrickson turned in a three under par 69 in the morning and came back with a par 72 round in the afternoon for 141. Two other Section professionals, John Berry (146) and Willie Scholl (149) were among the 18 successful qualifiers at Canoe Brook. Hendrickson, Berry and Scholl had qualified locally in Philadelphia.
Also on the second Tuesday of June Al Besselink qualified for the U.S. Open in Cleveland with a 144. Besselink shot a 77 in the first round but he came back in the afternoon with a 67 to qualify by one stroke. Charlie Coody was the low qualifier in Cleveland with a 136. There were 38 spots in Cleveland.
Art Wall qualified for the U.S. Open on the second Tuesday of June also. He qualified in Birmingham, Michigan with a 142 but he didn’t play in the U.S. Open. Howie Johnson was low with a 136. There were thirteen spots at that location and a score of 147 won the last spot.
The U.S. Open was played at the six-year-old Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis in mid June. The double round on Saturday had been eliminated and the tournament was played over four days ending on Sunday. Gary Player took the lead at the halfway point with a pair of 70s and added a 71 to keep the lead entering the final round. Player put together a steady round of 71 on Sunday but with one hole to play Kel Nagle caught Player and they finished in a tie at 282. On Monday Player won the playoff with a third straight 71 against a 74 for Nagle. Player had now won all four of the world’s major tournaments. Frank Beard finished third at 284. Julius Boros and Al Geiberger tied for fourth with 287s. Dick Hendrickson was the only player from the Section to make the cut. He finished tied for 40th with a score of 302 and won $455. Player donated his $26,000 winner’s check to charity. $6,000 went to cancer research and $20,000 to the USGA’s junior golf programs. John Berry, Willie Scholl, Mike Souchak and Al Besselink missed the cut.
The Section members qualified for the PGA Championship at the North Hills Country Club the day after the U.S. Open. Ron Bakich led by three with two 68s for a 136. Sam Penecale was next with 139 one stroke ahead of Buzz Garvin (140). The fourth and last spot went to Charley Lepre who shot a 141. After playing in St. Louis the day before Dick Hendrickson didn’t get home until 4:30 that morning and he withdrew. Bob Schoener, Jr. was exempt as the Section champion. Mike Souchak was exempt for his finish at the PGA Championship the year before. Art Wall was exempt off his standing on the PGA Tour money list and Henry Picard was exempt as a former winner of the tournament.
The Whitemarsh Open had a new name. It was now called the Philadelphia Golf Classic but the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and their professional Sam Penecale were still the hosts. The dates had been moved to early August, one week ahead of the PGA Championship. On Monday 129 pros and amateurs competed at Whitemarsh for 34 places in the tournament. Dean Refram led with a 68. Six Philadelphia Section professionals passed the test. Stan Dudas, who was now the head professional at the Atlantic City Country Club, and George Griffin, Jr. led the Philadelphia pros with 71s. Willie Scholl was next with a 72. Bob Shave, Jr., Ron Bakich and Harlan Will qualified with 74s as the players who had shot 75 played off for the last spots. There were 21 professionals from the Philadelphia Section in the starting field on Thursday. Art Wall, Mike Souchak and Bert Yancey were exempt players on the PGA Tour. Batdorff was exempt off having made the cut the previous week on the PGA Tour. Tim DeBaufre, Jimmy Johnson and Al Besselink had sponsor exemptions. Penecale was exempt as the host professional. John Berry, Dick Hendrickson, Bob Schoener, Jr., Don Stough, Bill Kittleman, Jerry Pisano and Pete Trenham were exempt off their standing on the 1964 Section points list. The defending champion Jack Nicklaus arrived after winning the Thunderbird Classic in northern New Jersey the week before. Nicklaus began with a 71 and then he shot a seven under par 65 in the second round to move within one stroke of the lead. Arnold Palmer made the cut but trailed by eleven. With the sponsor’s permission Palmer withdrew and went home to Pittsburgh to rest up for the PGA Championship. Nicklaus followed his 65 with a 73 and with one round to play he was in fourth place, two strokes back. With two holes to play in the last round he was in a four-way tie for the lead. On the downhill 515 yard par 5 seventeenth hole he pull-hooked his drive behind some tall trees but he reached the back fringe of the green from there with a pitching wedge. He then holed his next shot with a putter from 45 feet for an eagle and a one-stroke lead. A par four on the last hole for 68 and a 277 total gave him a one-stroke win over Doug Sanders (278) and Joe Campbell (278). Randy Glover finished fourth with a 280. The purse was still one of the largest on the PGA Tour at $121,500 and first prize was $24,300. Nicklaus had now won $44,300 in two weeks and said that he hadn’t known that one could get so much money that quickly. Besselink and Souchak led the Philadelphia pros tying for 20th with 286 totals. They each won $1,000. Wall (292) finished in the money but near the bottom in a tie for 52nd, winning $254. Shave (293), Stough (296), who was now the head professional at the Gettysburg Country Club, and DeBaufre (299) made the cut but missed the money. Penecale, Batdorff, Scholl, Dudas, Berry, Schoener, Jr., Yancey, Pisano, Kittleman, Bakich, Johnson, Griffin, Will, Trenham and Hendrickson missed the cut.
The Philadelphia Open was played in August on the Monday after the Philadelphia Golf Classic but there wasn’t a winner until early September. The host clubs were the Woodcrest Country Club and Tavistock Country Club. Jerry Pisano who had already won two Philadelphia Opens and Ted McKenzie, an assistant at the Aronimink Golf Club, each brought in one under par 142s. Pisano started at Tavistock with a one under par 71 and toured Woodcrest in the afternoon in par 71. McKenzie shot 70 at Woodcrest in the morning and 72 at Tavistock in the afternoon. On the last green McKenzie had a putt for a birdie to tie but the ball rimmed the cup and stayed out. Bob Shave, Jr. finished third alone at 144. There was a three-way tie for fourth between Ron Bakich, Pete Trenham and John Berry at 145. Green Valley Country Club teaching professional Jim McCoy, and amateur Billy Care tied for seventh with 146s.
The PGA Championship was at the Laurel Valley Golf Club near Pittsburgh in Arnold Palmer’s hometown in the middle of August. His fans were at full strength but Palmer wasn’t. On the first hole of the tournament Palmer’s second shot was in a water hazard but the ball was playable except for a bridge railing that was in the way. Two marshals tore down the railing and Palmer played the shot. Palmer could have gotten relief with a free drop but when he played the shot after the railing had been removed he was penalized two strokes. In the second round Palmer was penalized two strokes for grounding his club with a practice swing in a hazard. That day the host pro and green superintendent Paul Erath vowed to resign on Monday because of changes that had been made to the course at the request of Palmer. One of the changes was the planting of a 60-foot fir tree on one hole to prevent shortcuts. In middle of all this was Dave Marr the chairman of the PGA Tour’s tournament committee. It didn’t seem to bother him as he put together four steady rounds of 70, 69, 70 and 71 to win his only major championship. On the last hole Marr drove into a fairway bunker, pitched out short of a pond fronting the green, played a nine iron to three-feet and got his par to win by two strokes. Marr’s win earned him $25,000 from the $149,700 purse. Jack Nicklaus (282) and Billy Casper (282) tied for second. Bo Wininger finished fourth at 283. Mike Souchak tied for 15th and won $2,425. He was the only Philadelphia pro that made the cut. Sam Penecale, Bob Schoener, Jr., Ron Bakich, Henry Picard, Charley Lepre, Buzz Garvin, and Art Wall missed the cut.
The Pennsylvania Open was at the Hershey Country Club again and it was played in late August. Bob Shave, Jr., who putted between his legs croquet style, started with a three under par 70 and added a 73 the second day for 143. Bob Schoener, Jr. put together a 72 and a 71 to also finish at 143 also. Shave didn’t make a bogey until he failed to par the 14th and 15th holes the second day. That left Shave a stroke behind but Schoener made a bogey on the par three 18th hole and they ended up all tied. A sudden death playoff was held that day. On the first hole Shave teed off with his driver cutting the corner of the dogleg and Schoener played conservatively with a fairway wood. Shave put his second shot two feet from the cup with a nine-iron and then holed the putt, winning the title and $750. Schoener picked up $400. Ted McKenzie (144) finished third one stroke out of the tie for first and three strokes ahead of Pittsburgh’s Eli Marovich (147). The entry fee was $15 and the pros played for $2,700.
Because of scheduling conflicts the Philadelphia Open playoff was’t held until the Tuesday after Labor Day and the scores weren’t low. The playoff was at Tavistock and Jerry Pisano never trailed winning by one stroke with a 75 against a 76 for Ted McKenzie. Pisano won $750 and McKenzie picked up a check for $425. The entry fee was $15.
Buzz Garvin won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship for a second straight year, on the second Wednesday of September. Playing on his home course, the Philmont Country Club, Garvin pulled off a late rally to win. He finished his round with four straight birdies and a par for a one under par 69, that won by one stroke. John Berry (70) was second and Willie Scholl (71) was third. Joe Lewis, Jr. (72), assistant to his father Bud Lewis at the Manufacturers Golf & Country Club, finished fourth.
The Philadelphia Section Senior Championship was played on the third Monday of September. George Fazio picked up another title as he toured the Meadowlands Country Club in 69 strokes. Terl Johnson put together a 72 to finish second. Mike Rooney and Rod Munday tied for third with 73s. As the Section Senior champion Fazio received his travel and living expenses for the Senior PGA Championship.
Art Wall won the Section Championship and had his name engraved on the Bulletin Cup for the fourth time. Marty Lyons and the Llanerch Country Club were hosting the tournament for the ninth time. The tournament was played in the first week of October and plagued by wet, cool and windy weather. The only one it didn’t seem to bother was Wall. In the first round he shot a two under par 70 and the second day he was standing on the 15th tee even par when the round was canceled due to casual water on the greens. In a windswept second round he posted a 71 to take a four-stroke lead into the final round. His last round of 70, 16 pars and two birdies gave him a 211 total and a seven-stroke margin of victory, plus $1,000. The defending champion Bob Schoener, Jr. finished second at 217 and picked up $700. Stan Dudas and Sam Penecale tied for third at 218. Dick Hendrickson finished alone in fifth place with a 220 total. The entry fee was $15 and the purse totaled $4,700.
In mid October the Section pros played for the biggest purse of the year in the Prior Pro-Pro tournament, $10,000. Prior was the premium beer of C. Schmidt and Sons and this was the beginning of Schmidt’s sponsorship of Section tournaments in a big way. The entry fee was $40 per team. The pros played the first round at the North Hills Country Club and the second round was at the Sandy Run Country Club. At the conclusion of the two rounds there was a tie at 130 for the first place money of $2,000. Bob Shave, Jr. and John Berry had shot better-ball rounds of 64 and 66. Buzz Garvin and New York professional Jerry Pitman had the same scores, except their scores were 66 and 64. A sudden death playoff was held and all four had birdie putts on the first hole but Shave’s was the shortest at four feet and he made it for the win. Garvin and Pitman split $1,700. Bob Ross and Henry Williams, Jr. finished third one stroke out of the first place tie at 131. Ted McKenzie and Pete Trenham tied for fourth with two Maryland pros, Al Kelley and David Jimenez at 134. Pitman was later the head professional at the Saucon Valley CC.
The Section’s fall meeting and election of officers was held at the Atlantic City Country Club on the last Monday of October. There was a pro-pro tournament in the afternoon and a dinner with the meeting and election of officers in the evening. Each of the officers was new in his position. Joe Aneda was elected president. Harlan Will and Jerry Pisano were elected first and second vice president. John Hayes was elected secretary and Bob Kidd, the professional at the White Manor Country Club, was the new treasurer. Aneda announced that one of his goals was to find an office for the Section and to hire a full time secretary. Philadelphia was the third largest Section in the country with 344 members and the paperwork had become more than the officers and their part time secretary could handle. The Section nominated Marty Lyons to be their national vice president representing District II for the next three years. John Berry won the DeBaufre Trophy for leading the Section’s pros in scoring for the year. His scoring average was 72.40 for the designated tournaments.
After one year as the treasurer of the PGA Leo Fraser was elected secretary. Max Elbin was elected president and the new treasurer was Warren Orlick. The national meeting was in Palm Beach, Florida at the Palm Beach Towers Hotel in the second week of November. The “PGA Player-of-the-Year” was Dave Marr. For the second time Marty Lyons was beginning a three-year term as a vice president of the PGA representing District II. The Philadelphia Section’s delegates to the national meeting were Joe Aneda and John Hayes. Vic Ghezzi was voted into the PGA Hall of Fame. Several rule changes were put in place for the 1966 PGA Tour season. Instead of a player being penalized for striking the flagstick with a shot from off the green within 20 yards of the hole, there would be no penalty for those shots played from off the green. In order to speed up play a player would be able to clean his golf ball on the green one time, an that would be before his first stroke. Also, a player would have to putt continuously until holing out, unless it interfered with a fellow competitor.
In early November the PGA held its first players’ school for the PGA Tour at the new home of the PGA in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The school was for golf professionals who were not PGA members and wished to play on the PGA Tour. It consisted of 144 holes of tournament play and classroom work. There were 46 applicants and to enter the school they had to be recommended by their local PGA Section. The plans were to conduct the school twice each year. In the classroom Jack Burke, Dave Marr, Joe Dey, executive director of the USGA and Jack Tuthill, the PGA tournament supervisor counseled the players. They instructed the players on the subjects of public relations, rules, press relations and other things that confront the touring pros. Seventeen players graduated and John Schlee was the valedictorian with a score of seven over par 583. A future Section Stan Brion earned his playing privileges there with a 601 total. All eight rounds were played on the East Course of the PGA National Golf Club. The medalist was given the Ed Dudley Award.
Al Besselink picked up his third Caracas Open title in late November. That was his second Caracas Open title that year. He started slowly with a 73 but then he tacked on two 68s and finished with a birdie on the next to last hole for a 66, which gave him a total of 275 and a one-stroke victory over Art Wall at the Valle Arriba Club. Wall (276) almost caught Besselink with a last round 63 that tied his own course record. First prize was $2,500 and second was $1,800 from the $15,000. Spain’s Angel Miguel, Canadian Wilf Homeniuk and Jack Rule tied for third at 279.
The purses were increasing but the PGA Tour was still a difficult place to make a living. In 1959 only the purse at the Masters Tournament was larger than $52,000 and in 1965 the PGA Tour had played for 3.6 million dollars and fifteen tournaments had paid out $100,000 or more. It cost a player between $15,000 and $20,000 to play the tour for a year and only about 50 professionals were able to win more than that. Another 200 won some money and about 400 didn’t cash a check. Many of those only played when the tour was near where they lived. For most on the PGA members a head pro position at a good club was more profitable.
Jack Nicklaus won the PGA’s money race by nearly $39,000 over Tony Lema. Nicklaus won a record $140,752.14. Billy Casper won the Vardon Trophy with a 70.58 stroke average. Bert Yancey won $22,285.84 which was 44th on the money list. Mike Souchak was 51st on the list with earnings of $17,016.74. Al Besselink won $10,983. Art Wall won $$9,832.02 to end up 77th on the money list. Even though Wall wasn’t in the top 60 for a full exemption, as a winner of a major tournament along with 9 other victories on the PGA Tour, he would be able to play in most of the tournaments he wanted to.
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The Senior PGA Championship was played in late February on the PGA’s East and West courses at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The new champion was Fred Haas, Jr. who had just turned 50. He was the only entrant who didn’t go over par in any round as he posted 72, 71, 71 and 72 for a 286. This brought Haas in two strokes in front of Dutch Harrison (288) and John Barnum (288). First prize was $3,000. Skee Riegel was also making his first start in the tournament even though he had been eligible the year before. He started well by shooting a five under par 67, which was the low round of the tournament, for a one-stroke lead. Riegel followed that up with 77, 75 and 77 for a tie for 12th place, which earned him a check for $450. The Philadelphia Section senior champion, George Fazio tied for 15th with a total of 298 and won $400. John Long (301) tied for 22nd, winning $325. Terl Johnson (304) tied for 34th and picked up a check for $193.50. Jack Helms (309), the professional at the Carlisle Country Club, also finished in the money with a tie for 53rd and he won $100. The purse was $35,000 again that year.
Art Wall defended his title by winning the Maracaibo Open in Maracaibo, Venezuela on the first Sunday of March. Once again Wall finished first on what had proven to be a difficult course. A three under par 69 in the last round brought him home six strokes in front of the field. His first three rounds of 69, 64 and 74 gave him a 276 total. Al Besselink finished second at 282 and Wes Ellis was third at 283. Manuel de la Torre and Ramon Sota tied for fourth with 285 scores. First prize was $3,000. Besselink won $2,000. Bob Ross finished 16th at 291 and won $250.
On the third Monday of March the Section held its spring meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia. The new President Joe Aneda announced that there would be a summer meeting at his club, the Newark Country Club. It was reported that the Section’s school for assistants, in its seventh year, was growing in attendance and scope of material covered. The tournament chairman, Harlan Will presented the tournament schedule to the professionals. Will announced that Schmidt’s Beer was putting up $5,000 for a season-long point system competition. The past president Angelo Paul was honored by the Section and given a plaque in thanks for his years of service to the PGA. The Golf Association of Philadelphia, Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia and the J. Wood Platt Scholarship Trust were guests at the meeting and they each spoke briefly.
On the last Tuesday of March the Section held its annual golf show at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia. The show ran from noon to 9 PM. The guest celebrity of the show was an old friend of the Section, Paul Runyan. In 1938 at the Shawnee Country Club he had won the first PGA Championship that the Section had hosted. The winner of many tournaments Runyan was a master of the short game. That day he demonstrated his new putting technique. He had lengthened his putter four inches and held it against his stomach with his left hand and placed his right hand several inches lower on the grip. He put on two clinics, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The co-chairmen of the show were John Vasco and Ronnie Ward the professional at the Wildwood Golf & Country Club. They had arranged something new for the public, closed circuit TV with instant replay. While the golfers were hitting into the driving nets and receiving instruction their swings were being filmed. The tape could be stopped at any point in the swing and the golf professionals who were working the nets could point out mistakes. Tiny Pedone was awarded with a sterling silver plate for his work with blind golfers. For a number of years he had been teaching the blinded golfers. He was now holding tournaments for them at his new golf course, Edgmont Golf Club where he was the professional and part owner. There were 54 pro golf exhibitors and nearly 2,000 paid to see the show.
The defending championship at the Masters Tournament in early April was Jack Nicklaus. When it was all over he had become the first one to defend his title at the Masters and he had won his third green jacket. It looked like it was going to be easy when he shot a four under par 68 on Thursday to lead by three strokes. In the second round he took 76 strokes to get around and he followed that up with two even par rounds of 72 for a 288. Gay Brewer and Tommy Jacobs also finished at 288 and an 18-hole playoff was held on Monday. In the playoff Nicklaus shot a solid 70 to beat Jacobs (74) by two strokes and Brewer (78) was never in contention. Arnold Palmer and Doug Sanders tied for fourth with 290s. First prize was $20,000. Mike Souchak (300) made the cut and finished 33rd, winning $1,175. Art Wall and Henry Picard missed the cut.
The week after the Masters Bert Yancey broke through at the Azalea Open with his first win on the PGA Tour. A win didn’t seem to be in the cards for him when he shot a two over par 74 in the first round at the Cape Fear Country Club. The next three days he shot 69, 67 and 68 for a 278 and a one shot victory. Bob Johnson (279), Dave Marad (281) and Tom Weiskopf (282) finished second, third and fourth. Al Besselink tied for fifth with a 283. Yancey’s first place check was for $3,200 and he picked up another $417 in bonus money for sharing the lead after three rounds and tying for the low round the third day. The purse was $22,800.
The Section members qualified for the PGA Championship at the new Sunny Jim Golf Club on the second Thursday of May. Seventy-one professionals were playing for three places in the championship. The entry fee was $10. The course measured 7,345 yards but all of the back tees weren’t used that day. A steady 76-75 for 151 gave Bob Shave, Jr. the medal one stroke in front of Stan Dudas (152). Skee Riegel picked up the next and last spot with a 153. No one broke the par of 72 as Dudas and Riegel posted two of the day’s three par rounds. Art Wall was exempt as the Section champion and Henry Picard was exempt as a former winner of the tournament but he didn’t start at Firestone. A new Section member Ed Rubis, the teaching professional at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club, was exempt as the Connecticut Section champion where he had been employed the year before. Mike Souchak received an exemption for having finished 15th in the PGA Championship the year before. Bert Yancey was exempt off his position on the 1966 PGA Tour money list through the U.S. Open.
On the fourth Monday on May local qualifying was held at the Green Valley Country Club for the U.S. Open. The entry fee was $20. A reinstated amateur, Jim King, led the competition for thirteen places in the sectional qualifying with a one over par 143. Jerry Pisano was next at 144. Stan Dudas and Bob Gleeson tied for third with 145s. A surprise entry was 54-year-old George Fazio who had lost the Open in a playoff at Merion Golf Club sixteen years before. He was safely under the 149 cut number with a 146. Fazio said that he hadn’t played in a 36-hole one-day competition in thirteen years. Also in with 146s were Bob Shave, Jr. and amateur Bob Toner. Skee Riegel and George Griffin, Jr. posted 147s. Jack Ehresman, who was the assistant of his father Clarence at the Ashbourne Country Club, finished alone in tenth place. Dick Smith, Sr., the assistant at the Indian Spring Golf Club, Bobby Mayes, who played out of an off-course club called Fairview Golf Club, and amateur Grant Morrow tied for the last three spots with 149s. There were no ties to play off. Mike Souchak was exempt from local qualifying off his position on the PGA Tour money list.
Also on the fourth Monday in May local qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at the Colonial Country Club in Harrisburg. Phil Bankert, the assistant at the Hershey Country Club, and 17-year-old amateur Bob Huber shot 145s and led the qualifying for three places. The third spot went to Charlie Gilbert, who was the head professional at the Huntingdon Country Club, turned in a 146.
Al Besselink had to get through local qualifying for the U.S. Open, and made it at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where there were 104 players for 38 spots. Howie Johnson was low with a 137.
At the Memphis Open in early June Bert Yancey captured his second tour title in two months but he came within three minutes of missing his starting time for the last round. On Thursday he had tied the course record at the Colonial Country Club with a seven under par 63. The 63 gave him a three-stroke lead and he tacked on a 69 in the second round to keep a share of the lead. In the third round he posted a 67 but he trailed by one. On Sunday the starting times had been moved up for TV but Yancey had forgotten about the change. He slept until 10:30 and then when he woke up he started watching astronaut Eugene Cernan walk in space. One of the tour caddies noticed that he wasn’t at the course and telephoned him. His starting time was 11:20 and he was on the other side of Memphis. He rushed to the course and without breakfast or a practice shot he proceeded to shoot a 66 and win the $20,000 first prize. His 265 total won the tournament by five strokes. The total purse was $100,000. Gene Littler (270) finished second one stroke in front of Johnny Pott (271). Jack Nicklaus (272) and Bruce Devlin (272) tied for fourth.
On the first Tuesday in June John Berry and Bob Shave, Jr. qualified for the U.S. Open at Darien, Connecticut. The Wee Burn Country Club and Woodway Country Club hosted the qualifying. Berry was only one stroke above the medalists with a 143 and Shave posted 146. Bob Watson and Billy Farrell earned medalist honors with 142s. Berry and Shave had qualified locally in Philadelphia. There 87 players competing for 19 spots in Connecticut.
Al Besselink qualified for the U.S. Open in Detroit with a 144 on the first Tuesday of June also. He tied for sixth. Also qualifying at Detroit was Mike Souchak who posted a 145, tying for 10th. Jacky Cupit was the medalist at 140 and a score of 150 qualified via a sudden death playoff. There were 24 spots in Detroit. The host clubs were the Country Club of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Farms.
Also on the first Tuesday of June at another Section qualifier for the U.S. Open Phil Bankert made the grade in Washington. He put together rounds of 74 and 75 for a 149. There were four players at 149 and they won the last of the eight places without a playoff. Bankert had qualified in Harrisburg. The medalist was Dick Whetzle with a 145. The Washingtonian Country Club in Gaithersburg, Maryland hosted the qualifying.
The U.S. Open was at the Olympic Club near San Francisco in mid June. After shooting 71, 66 and 70 Arnold Palmer took a three-stroke lead and appeared to be on the way to his second win in our Open. After a front nine 32 on Sunday he had a seven stroke lead on his playing partner Billy Casper and was on the way to a new record score for the tournament. On the back nine Casper got hot and Palmer slipped but with five holes to go Palmer still had a five-stroke lead. By the time they reached the 18th green Palmer had to make a six-foot par putt to tie, which he did. Casper and Palmer were in with 278s, two over Hogan’s record 276 at Riviera in 1948. Jack Nicklaus finished third, seven strokes back. In the playoff on Monday Palmer led by two after nine holes with a 33 but Casper caught him on #11 and finished with a 69 to Palmer’s 73. First prize was $25,000 from the purse of $144,490. Bob Shave, Jr. posted a 296 and with a tie for 26th he won $997.50. Mike Souchak, John Berry, Phil Bankert and Al Besselink missed the cut.
At the PGA Championship in Akron, Ohio Al Geiberger won his only major tournament but 54-year-old Sam Snead was the story. Snead and Geiberger were tied for the lead the first day with 68s and Snead held the lead by himself after two rounds as the only one under par at 139. After that Snead slipped back with a 75 and a 73 while Geiberger (280) continued to play steady golf. He finished four strokes in front of Dudley Wysong (284) with rounds of 68, 72, 68 and 72. Gary Player, Billy Casper and Gene Littler tied for third with 286s. Snead (287) ended up in five-way tie for sixth. Bob Shave, Jr. (298) and Bert Yancey (298) tied for 49th at 298 and each won $436.11. Art Wall (299) tied for 58th and won $340. Ed Rubis (302) also made the cut and finished near the end of the money list as he tied for 67th and won $300. Mike Souchak, Stan Dudas and Skee Riegel missed the cut. The purse was $149,360 and Geiberger won $25,000.
Richie Bassett, an assistant pro at the Philadelphia Country Club, won the Pennsylvania Open in early August at the Hershey Country Club. On Monday he put together a five under par 68 and was tied at the top of the field. A second round 74 left him in a three-way tie for first at 142 with Roland Stafford the head pro at the Longue Vue Club and his assistant Gene Ferrell. In a sudden death playoff all three made pars on the first hole and Farrell was eliminated on the second hole when he made a bogey. On the third hole Bassett made another par and wrapped up the title. Chuck Scally and reinstated amateur Jim King tied for fourth with 145s. First prize was $1,000 and the purse was $3,500.
The next Monday in August Al Besselink won his second Philadelphia Open. The host clubs were Sandy Run Country Club and the Cedarbrook Country Club. As the last man to finish at Sandy Run Besselink put his wedge shot 18 inches from the cup on the last hole and stroked the putt in to win by one stroke with a score of 140. Besselink posted a three under par 69 at Cedarbrook in the morning and a one under 71 in the afternoon. Buzz Garvin, now the head professional at the Philmont Country Club, and amateur John Guenther tied for second with 141s. Amateur Jim King (142) finished fourth and Charley Lepre (143) was fifth. First prize was $750.
As a part time participant on the PGA Tour, Art Wall won the $100,000 Insurance City Open at Hartford in the third week of August. Wall had withdrawn from the Westchester Classic with a sore back the week before. His first win in two years produced a check for $20,000, the largest payday of his seventeen-year professional career. Wall went wire to wire either holding the lead or being tied for the lead at the end of each round. His rounds of 65, 64, 69 and 68, for an eighteen under par 266 at the Wethersfield Country Club, was a tournament record. Wes Ellis finished two strokes back with a 268 and Billy Casper and George Archer tied for third at 269.
The next week the tour was in town for the Philadelphia Golf Classic. Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and Sam Penecale were the hosts again. A grounds only spectator ticket for the seven days cost $18 and for $30 a person could have a ticket for the week along with reserved parking, clubhouse pass and a souvenir program. The purse was a little less than the first three years, $110,000 and the entry fee was $50. As usual the Whitemarsh Valley course drew a strong field. Qualifying was held at Whitemarsh on Monday with 136 players competing for 41 places to complete the 144-player field. Roger Ginsberg won the medal with a 70. Eleven Section members passed the test with 76s or better. Bob Schoener, Jr. and Buzz Garvin led the Section pros with 72s. Ike Turner, Henry Williams, Jr., Jerry Pisano and Bill DeAngelis qualified with 74s. Dick Smith, Sr. made it with a stroke to spare at 75. There were 15 players tied at 76 for the last nine spots in the starting field so they went into a sudden-death playoff, which began on hole #1. Pete Trenham, now the head professional at the St. Davids Golf Club, Harlan Will, Dick Hendrickson and Joe Lewis, Jr., the head pro at the Rydal Country Club, survived the playoff. Trenham was the first one in with a birdie three on the first hole. Bob Ross, who was now the professional at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, was the last one eliminated and as the first alternate he got in the tournament. Art Wall, Mike Souchak, Bert Yancey and Al Besselink were exempt members of the PGA Tour. Skee Riegel, George Fazio and Bob Batdorff had sponsor exemptions. Skee Riegel, Stan Dudas, Tim DeBaufre, Henry McQuiston, Bob Shave, Jr. and Charley Lepre were exempt off their standing in the Philadelphia PGA. Penecale was exempt as the host professional. There was a pro-am on Wednesday made up of 171 amateurs and 57 pros. The amateurs paid $200 each to enter the pro-am. On Thursday there were 25 Section members in the starting field but two of its strongest entries didn’t tee off. Wall had to withdraw with a back problem and Besselink got his starting time mixed up and was at home in Merchantville when his group teed off. With one round to go Arnold Palmer and Don January were tied for the lead and Jack Nicklaus was five strokes back. On Sunday Palmer fell back but Nicklaus (279) made a charge, holing an eight iron on #2 and a nine iron on #8 for eagles, to turn in 31. January now trailed Nicklaus by one but he steadied on the back nine with a 34 and Nicklaus cooled off shooting 36. On the last hole January (278) holed an uphill 8-foot par putt to edge out Nicklaus by one stroke. January’s rounds were 69, 69, 69 and 71. Palmer, Gene Littler and Bob Goalby tied for third at 281. First place paid $21,000. Yancey (295) tied for 58th, Ross (300) finished 62nd and Riegel (302) tied for 63rd but only the top fifty and ties finished in the money. Souchak made the cut right on the number at 147 but later withdrew due to illness. Schoener, Penecale, Hendrickson, Fazio, DeBaufre, Batdorff, Dudas, Lepre, McQuiston, Will, Trenham, Williams, Lewis, Pisano, Turner, Shave, Garvin, Smith, and DeAngelis missed the cut. Attendance for the seven days was 67,000.
In mid September Bert Yancey won his third tournament of the year at the $50,000 Portland Open. Steady golf got the job done. With three straight 68s he moved into a tie for first place with one round to go. He began the last round by making a 60-foot putt for an eagle three and he cruised in from there for a five under par 67. Yancey’s 271 score on the Columbia-Edgewater Country Club put the field away by three strokes. On the way to picking up a check for $6,800 he set a putting record on the PGA Tour for that year. For the 72-holes Yancey used only 102 putts, which was ten less than the best up to that time. Billy Casper (274) and Pete Brown (26) finished second and third. Bruce Crampton and Wright Garrett tied for fourth with 277s.
The Section Championship was played at the Laurel Oak Country Club at the beginning of October. The entry fee was $15 and the course measured 6,842 yards. The host professional was Dick Hendrickson. The defending champion Art Wall wasn’t entered and the tournament had bad weather like the year before. The first day was rained out and the second day was windy. The field was cut to the low 60 scores and the plan was to play 36 holes on Saturday. The second round was played that morning in wind and rain and the weather was too bad to play the afternoon round so they finished on Sunday. In the first round Bob Shave, Jr. had posted a one over par 72 and was in a three-way tie for the top spot. A second round 73 gave him a two-stroke lead. On Sunday the weather cleared up and the scores were better. Hendrickson and Al Besselink posted 69s and broke the course record but Shave (215) rolled in a 17-foot birdie putt on the last green with his croquet style putter for a 70 and a one-stroke victory. Hendrickson (216) finished second one stroke ahead of Besselink (217). John Berry and Buzz Garvin tied for fourth with 222s. The purse was $5,000 with a first prize of $1,000 and possession of the Bulletin Cup for one year.
On the first Thursday of October, four days after the Section Championship ended, the Section held its annual meeting at the Atlantic City Country Club. That fall the schedule was filled with Monday tournaments so the meeting had to be on another day. The President Joe Aneda and all of the other officers were reelected. The first and second vice presidents were Harlan Will and Jerry Pisano. John Hayes and Bob Kidd were reelected secretary and treasurer. The officers were still looking for office space to rent. The Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” award went to Hayes. Hayes had been a golf professional in the Section for over 35 years. He had been a member of the Board of Control for 20 years and an officer for four years. For the second year in a row John Berry won the DeBaufre Trophy with a 72.8 average for his ten rounds. He edged out Skee Riegel by one-tenth of a stroke.
In mid October John Berry and Bob Shave, Jr. won the Prior Pro-Pro for the second straight year. The venue was the Plymouth Country Club and the Sandy Run Country Club, and the format had a new twist. The better-ball competition was the main event but there was prize money for the individual scores as well. The purse was $5,000 instead of $10,000 since C. Schmidt & Sons was sponsoring other Section competitions like a yearlong point race. Berry and Shave shot the same score as the year before but they didn’t need a playoff to win this time. Their (62-69) 131 score finished four strokes in front of John Abernethy, the professional at the Lancaster Country Club, and Richie Bassett (136). There was a three-way tie for third at 137 among the teams of Ted McKenzie-Pete Trenham, Ron Bakich-Stan Dudas and Skee Riegel-Bob Batdorff. Riegel (142) picked up the $270 individual prize with a three under par 69 at Plymouth on Monday and a one over par 73 at Sandy Run on Tuesday. Berry, Shave, Charley Lepre and Ed Rubis tied for second at 144. Berry and Shave divided the $1,000 top prize in the pro-pro and they each picked up $120 for their individual scores.
Skee Riegel won the Section Senior Championship on the fourth Tuesday of October. Riegel toured the back nine of the West Shore Country Club in 32 strokes to post a two under par 70. George Fazio and Rod Munday tied for second with 73s. The low man also received expense money for the Senior PGA Championship. Riegel declared that he would be heading to California for the PGA Winter Tour, and unavailable for the Senior PGA. Because of that a playoff was held between Fazio and Monday, which Fazio won with a par four on the first hole. Angelo Paul was fourth with a 74.
On the Wednesday of November the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Laurel Oak Country Club in a light rain. The tournament ended in a tie between Dick Smith, Sr. and Ted McKenzie, after McKenzie took three putts on the 18th green. The two assistants had both turned in one under par 70s. There was a sudden death playoff to decide a winner, which Smith won with a birdie two on the third extra hole. Bob Shave, Jr. and Wildwood Country Club assistant Skip Juris tied for third with 72s. First prize was $200.
That year the Section had created a point race for the season’s tournaments. The designated point tournaments were the events where the professionals were paired with other professionals competing for individual prize money. The brewing company C. Schmidt and Sons put up the prize money and they were called Schmidt points. The season was divided into two halves and the top ten professionals in the designated events were awarded points. Bob Shave, Jr. won the first half and Skee Riegel had won the second half. On the first Saturday in November they played off at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club for the yearlong title. Shave birdied the last hole for a one under par 71 to beat Riegel by one stroke. The top ten professionals earned money in each half of the season for their standing in the point competition and the total payout for the year came to $10,000.
The PGA held its second annual PGA Tour Qualifying School for non-PGA members at the end of October. The PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, hosted the qualifying. Jerry McGee, who had been an assistant at the Frosty Valley Country Club for the past three years qualified as he posted rounds of 71-78-73-73-73-72-77-72. His 589 gave him a tie for seventh among the 32 players who earned playing privileges on the PGA Tour for the next year. Don Headings, an assistant at the Skytop Club a few years before, also passed the test as his 601 total made it by two strokes. The medalist was Harry Toscano with a score of 572 for the eight rounds.
It was the 50th anniversary of the PGA of America and there were now 34 Sections and 5,837 members. Leo Fraser, the other PGA officers and officials were in Palm Beach, Florida for the national meeting in early November. To celebrate the occasion there was a banquet at the Palm Beach Towers hotel in Palm Beach. Henry Poe was the master of ceremonies.
The national meeting was held in the first week of November at the Palm Beach Towers in Palm Beach, Florida. Max Elbin, Leo Fraser and Warren Orlick, were all reelected. The PGA had a new executive director, Robert Creasey, a former secretary of labor under Harry Truman. The relationship between the touring pros and the PGA officials had been stormy for many years and in the last year things had become even more heated. The touring pros wanted more control of the PGA Tour and the PGA wanted to continue to manage the tour. Creasey had lured Billy Booe away from the Northampton Country Club to assist the PGA tournament supervisor Jack Tuthill on the tour as his administrative assistant. At the national meeting it was announced by the players and the officers that everything had been settled and the storm was over. The combined section and national dues for head professionals “Class A” was $67.50. Billy Burke was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame. The Philadelphia Section was represented by their delegates John Hayes and Joe Aneda along with their national vice president from District II, Marty Lyons.
Bob Ross finished fourth in the Mexican Open in first week of November. The tournament was played at the Monterey Country Club in Monterey, Mexico. At the end of 36 holes Ross the leader with rounds of 71 and 69. On the weekend he posted rounds of 71 and 72 to finish at five under par 283. Bob McAllister (278) won the tournament and a check for $3,000. Dudley Wysong (279) was second and Moe Norman (280) was third. Ross and Sam Carmichael (283) tied for fourth. Ross won $1,100. Al Besselink (292) tied for 20th, winning $34.
In the second week of November Art Wall won the $15,000 Caracas Open at the Valle Arriba Club in Venezuela. He had also won the tournament in 1963. Between Al Besselink and Wall they had won the tournament five times. With a 68 and a 67 Wall was tied for the lead at the halfway point. Friday’s round had been rained out so two rounds were played on Sunday. A 69 and a 72 for 276 brought him in one stroke in front of Wes Ellis (277) and Dean Refram (277). Jerry Pitman finished fourth at 288. First prize was $3,000.
In the second week of December the PGA staged the richest event in the history of tournament golf. It was the $275,000 PGA National Team Championship played at the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens. The team first prize of $50,000 was enough to bring Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus back to the tour from their year-end vacations. Palmer and Nicklaus won the first place checks with better-ball rounds of 63, 66, 63 and 64. Their 256 total was 32 under par. Al Besselink and Doug Sanders finished second three strokes back at 259 and won $13,500 each.
The unofficial leading money winner for the year was Arnold Palmer. Palmer’s $25,000 check in the Four-Ball Championship at the PGA National had pushed his season’s earnings to $154,692. This was $345 more than Jack Nicklaus’s had won the previous year, which had been a record also. Casper led in official money with $121,945. Billy Casper was the “PGA Player-of-the-Year” and he also won the Vardon Trophy with an average of 70.27 strokes per round. Bert Yancey won &42,938 in 23 events. Art Wall only played in six tournaments, but managed to win $20,929. Al Besselink won $13,508. Mike Souchak played in 15 tournaments, winning $8,977.
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Sam Snead, putting the short putts croquet style, won the Senior PGA Championship for the third time in four years. He putted the longer putts with a conventional stroke and he putted the short putts from between his feet with the same putter. Bob Shave, Jr. had taught him the method two years before and Snead began to see the need for it at the 1966 PGA Championship. The tournament was played on the PGA National Golf Club’s East and West courses at Palm Beach Gardens in late January. After rounds of 71, 69 and 73 Snead held a three-stroke lead. A last round 66 on the East Course that included eight birdies brought him home with a 279, which was nine strokes better than Bob Hamilton (288), who finished second. The purse was now $40,000 and first prize was $4,000. Fred Haas, Jr. (290) and Joe Lopez, Sr. (291) finished third and fourth. Henry Williams, Jr. and Ralph Hutchison tied for 27th with 304s. They each won $193.33. George Fazio (306), who was now designing golf courses, tied for 41st and won $100. Terl Johnson (307) also won $100 for finishing in 44th place. Philadelphia Section senior champion, Skee Riegel, finished out of the money.
The Section’s spring meeting was held on the last Monday of March. There were more than 200 in attendance at the Sheraton Hotel including members, apprentices, sales reps and guests. Secretary John Hayes announced that the Section now had 301 members. The Section had hired Bob Jones as a tournament coordinator to promote and supervise the Section’s tournament schedule. Jones had been a golf professional and a Section member since 1935. For the past 20 years he had been a pro golf salesman and for ten years he had been promoting his golf sales company by putting on tournaments for the Section’s professionals. President Joe Aneda presented a plaque to former Section President Henry Poe for his inspired leadership and guidance. Poe was leaving Reading Country Club to oversee the construction and management of two company golf courses for the Vanity Fair Corporation in Alabama.
The Masters Tournament ended on the second Sunday of April with Gay Brewer putting on the green jacket. The tournament began with Bert Yancey posting a 67 to lead by three strokes. On the second day Yancey shot 73 to lead by one and the defending champion Jack Nicklaus missed the cut. In the third round fifty-five year old Ben Hogan found some of his old magic, shooting a course record 30 on the back nine for a 66, which moved him into a tie for fourth, two strokes off the lead. At the same time Yancey was putting together a 71 that left him in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. On Sunday Brewer posted a 67 to go with his earlier rounds of 73, 68 and 72 to win the $20,000 first place check. His 280 score beat out his playing partner Bobby Nichols (281) by one stroke. Yancey shot a 73 and finished alone in third place at 284 and Arnold Palmer was next with a 285. Hogan (290) fell back with a 77 and tied for tenth. Art Wall (302) made the cut and finished near the bottom of the money list in a tie for 49th. He won $1,250.
Leo Fraser was honored at the Section’s tenth annual golf show for his help in originating the first show in 1958. Section President Joe Aneda presented the award. The chairman of the show was John Vasco who also directed the PGA National Golf Merchandise Show. The show was held at the Sheraton Hotel on the third Monday of April. Many of golf’s luminaries were present to promote the game. The PGA’s “Golf Professional of the Year” Bill Strausbaugh, former PGA champion Chick Harbert, trick shot artist Tony Longo and Chico Miartuz, conducted clinics. Miartuz played the tour, designed clubs for the Northwestern Golf Company and worked as a golf instructor in Miami. Former women’s amateur champion Dot Porter and LPGA members Peggy Kirk Bell and Patty Berg represented the ladies. The celebrities spent the afternoon and evening conducting clinics on the golf swing. Forty-six golf companies displayed the latest golf equipment.
In the third week of April Bert Yancey won the$100,000 Dallas Open at the Oak Cliff Country Club. Once again steady golf earned him the title. A 68 and a 69 left him three strokes behind the leader at the halfway point and a third round 66 put him in front by one. With the help of an improbable birdie on the last hole Yancey (274) nursed a 71 into the clubhouse for a one-stroke victory on Monday. On the 72nd hole his tee shot was well off line. He hooked his second shot over trees, a television camera, the gallery and a bunker to within 15-feet of the hole and he holed the putt. Once again Yancey’s putting was very good as he only used 26 putts in the last round. The first round on Thursday had been canceled due to rain. Yancey’s check for the victory was a nice round number, $20,000. Roberto De Vicenzo and Kermit Zarley tied for second with 275s. Doug Sanders and Bob Goalby tied for fourth at 276.
Tim DeBaufre, now the head professional at the Cedarbrook Country Club, led the local qualifying in Philadelphia for the U.S. Open with a two over par 143. Play was over the par 70 Aronimink Golf Club and the par 71 Rolling Green Golf Club on the fourth Monday of May. DeBaufre put together a 69 at Aronimink in the morning and a 74 in the afternoon at Rolling Green. It rained right up to 8 a.m. so both courses played longer than usual. Eighty-nine pros and amateurs were competing for the opportunity to move on to sectional qualifying. The players had sixteen places to shoot for. Dick Hendrickson was next with a 144. Stan Dudas, along with amateurs Billy Hyndman and George Haines tied for third with 147s. The next three places went to Ted McKenzie, who was now the head professional at the one-year-old Waynesborough Country Club, Buzz Garvin and reinstated amateur Bucky Erhardt at 148. Bob Schoener, Jr., Bob Ross and amateur Michael De Van posted 149s. Jack Kiefer, who was now the assistant at the Green Valley Country Club, was alone at 150. The last four spots were won by Skee Riegel, Dick Smith, Sr., Jerry Pisano and Norm Hammer, the professional at the Melrose Country Club, who finished at 151 and survived a sudden death playoff. Art Wall and Bob Shave, Jr., who was back on the PGA Tour, were two of the 61 who were exempt from local qualifying only. Bert Yancey was one of 27 players who were fully exempt off the PGA Tour’s 1966 money list. There were 2,680 entries, which was a record.
Also on the fourth Monday in May local qualifying for the U.S. Open in central Pennsylvania was also held on the fourth Monday of May at the West Shore Country Club for five places in the sectional qualifying. Bob Huber (73-77) and Sherm Keeney (75-75), two amateurs who would be professionals and Section members in the future, led the scoring with 150s. The other three places were won by Don Stough (151), Buster Reed (154) and Jack Helms (155). There were 24 players at West Shore.
On the first Monday in June Skee Riegel passed the sectional qualifying test for the U.S. Open with rounds of 76 and 72 for 148. Riegel qualified at the Meadow Brook Club and Wheatley Hills Golf Club on Long Island. There were 21 spots at the Long Island qualifier and Riegel tied for 14th. Riegel had qualified locally in Philadelphia. Jerry Pitman and Bill Ezinicki led the qualifying with 142s and the players with 149s played off.
That same first Monday of June Art Wall earned a spot in the U.S. Open at Memphis, Tennessee posting rounds of 66 and 70 for a 136. The PGA Tour had been in Memphis so there were 23 qualifying spots there. The low score was a 133 by Bob Verwey and it took a 142 score to qualify. Wall had been exempt from local qualifying.
One day later on the first Tuesday of June Stan Dudas made it into the U.S. Open at the Prince Georges Country Club near Washington D.C. He posted rounds of 70 and 71 for a 141. Dudas had qualified locally in Philadelphia. Dick Whetzle led in Washington with a 140. There were seven spots and a score of 146 made it.
Bob Shave, Jr. qualified in Detroit for the U.S. Open at the Tam O’Shanter Country Club with a score of (73-72) 145. Because the PGA Tour was in Detroit there were 24 spots and it took a score of 146 to make it. Jim Colbert led with a 135.
The U.S. Open was at the Baltusrol Golf Club in mid June. Art Wall shot a one under par 69 in the first round that landed him in a tie with Arnold Palmer and four others at the top of the leaderboard. When it was all over on Sunday evening it had come down to Palmer and Jack Nicklaus who were in the next to last pairing. Nicklaus finished with a 65 and left Palmer and the rest of the field behind. Along with his earlier rounds of 71, 67 and 72 Nicklaus finished at 275 and broke Ben Hogan’s record set at Riviera in 1948. Palmer finished second with a 279 and Don January was next at 281. The defending champion, Billy Casper, shot 282 and ended up fourth alone. Wall (285) qualified for the 1968 U.S. Open as he tied for ninth with a 285. He won $2,566.67. Bert Yancey (295) tied for 42nd and won $$785. Stan Dudas, Skee Riegel and Bob Shave, Jr. missed the cut.
Skee Riegel shot a 74 and a 71 for a five over par 145 at the Philmont Country Club to win the qualifying medal for the PGA Championship. The qualifying was held on Philmont’s par 70 North Course on the third Monday in June. There were 42 Section members vying for four spots in the championship. The other three places went to Al Besselink, Bob Ross and Buzz Garvin who all shot 146. Bert Yancey was exempt for being among the top 10 money winners on the PGA Tour in 1967 through the Masters Tournament. Bob Shave, Jr. was exempt as the Section champion but somehow he failed to enter the tournament. There were 1,377 PGA members competing in the 34 PGA Sections for 85 places in their championship. The touring pros qualified for five spots at a site on the PGA Tour and they had 63 exemptions. Due to a sick child Garvin wasn’t able to make the trip back to his hometown of Denver. The child was Tim Garvin who later became a PGA member. No one filled his spot in the starting field.
The PGA Championship was played at the Columbine Country Club in Denver during the third week of July. The starting field had been reduced from 177 the previous year to 150. The tournament ended in a tie for the second time since it had been changed to stroke play ten years before. On both occasions Don January was in the playoff and this time he came out on top. He posted rounds of 71, 72, 70 and 68 to finish in a tie with Don Massengale at 281. In the playoff on Monday a solid three under par 69 versus a 71 for Massengale gave January the victory. Jack Nicklaus and Dan Sikes tied for third with 282s. The low Philadelphia pro was Skee Riegel (297) who tied for 51st and won $430. Bert Yancey made the cut with a (74-76) 150 but then withdrew. Bob Ross and Al Besselink missed the cut. First prize was $25,000 and the purse was $148,200.
A few days later in July a tournament with the largest purse in the forty-five year history of the Philadelphia Section kicked off on at the Green Valley Country Club. It was the four-day Schmidt Golf Festival, which offered a purse of $14,680 with a first prize of $3,028. The tournament began on a Friday and was played on four different courses over four consecutive days. The Section’s professionals were paired in fours, two pros and two amateurs. Each day they competed in a two-best-ball-of-four competition but the big money was in the individual purse, which encompassed the four rounds. On Saturday the tournament moved to the Squires Golf Club and the host on Sunday was the North Hills Country Club. For the final round they moved across the Delaware River to the Riverton Country Club on Monday. The first day Bob Ross put up a four under par 67 and led the field by four strokes. Dick Hendrickson trailed by six strokes with a 73 but the second day he posted a five under par 65 at Squires to lead Ross by one. The next day Hendrickson broke par again shooting a one under par 70 at North Hills and took a three-stroke lead into the last round. He wrapped up the first place check with a final round of one over par 72 at Riverton for a 280 total. Al Besselink made a last round charge with a 66, but fell three strokes short tying for second with Bob Schoener, Jr. at 283. They each collected $1,684. Ross finished fourth with a one over par 284 and picked up $1,255.
The Philadelphia Open was won by John Kennedy, who was now an assistant at the Edgmont Country Club. The tournament was played on the first Monday in August and the venue was the Atlantic City Country Club and the Linwood Country Club. Kennedy started in the morning at Linwood with a two under par 69 and in the afternoon he birdied the last hole at Atlantic City for a one over par 71. He pitched up close and holed a three-foot putt on the last green for a 140 to avoid a logjam at 141. Buzz Garvin, Jerry Port and amateur George Griffin III tied for second with 141s. Griffin was a student at Florida State University and his father, George Jr. and grandfather, George Sr. were former winners of the Philadelphia Open. Kennedy, a former Pennsylvania Junior champion earned $750 for his victory and the two second place professionals each took home $312.
Charlie Sifford, who had developed his game in the early 1950s playing the Cobbs Creek Golf Club, won the $100,000 Insurance City Open at Hartford in mid August. A last round of 64 at the Wethersfield Country Club gave him a one-stroke win over Steve Opperman (273). His twelve under par (69-70-69-64) 272 earned him a check for $20,000. Gary Player, Dan Sikes, Doug Ford and Ray Floyd tied for third with 274s.
The Section Championship was back at the Laurel Oak Country Club in the third week of August. Laurel Oak and Dick Hendrickson were the hosts for a second straight year. The defending champion Bob Shave, Jr. was on the PGA Tour and didn’t defend his title. The purse had been increased by $1,000 to $6,000 and there was another $600 for the seniors. In the first round Bill Kittleman and Bob Ross, driving with a new aluminum shaft driver, broke the course record as Kittleman led Ross by one stroke with a 67. The second day Ross posted another sub-par round of 69 to go with his opening 68. That gave him a one-stroke lead over Kittleman. A steady par 71 in the final round gave Ross (208) the Section title and possession of the Bulletin Cup by five strokes over Kittleman (213). Hendrickson finished third with a 214. John Abernethy and Al Besselink tied for fourth at 215. Ross won $1,300 and Kittleman picked up $800.
The Pennsylvania Open was played in the western part of the state for the first time in sixteen years but the title stayed in the east. After having been played at the Hershey Country Club for fourteen straight years it was now being moved around. The entry of Arnold Palmer who hadn’t played in the tournament since 1953 when he was an amateur attracted the attention of the press. Palmer entered because the tournament was being played at the Laurel Valley Country Club where he was a member. The tournament drew a record entry of 192 pros and amateurs. Palmer shot a 75 in the first round on Monday but there were only six players in front of him. The tournament committee let Palmer tee off first on Tuesday so he could keep a social commitment in New York where he was entered in the Westchester Open. When Palmer posted a 69 for a 144 on the 7,078 yard course he appeared to be a winner even though he bogied the last hole. Like Palmer Bob Ross had opened with a four over par 75 on Monday. Having won the Philadelphia PGA on Saturday Ross was on a hot streak and it continued on Tuesday. He birdied five of the first seven holes and made two more birdies on the back nine for a, 34-34, 68 and a total of 143 that edged out Palmer by one stroke. Pittsburgh’s Willie Beljan finished third with a 147 and Barry Masick, an unattached pro from Berwick who had led the first day with a 71, was alone in fourth place at 149. Ross won $800 and Palmer donated his $500 check to the Pennsylvania State Golf Association, the sponsor of the tournament.
Once again the Philadelphia Golf Classic had new dates. The tournament was now in mid September when many of the elite touring pros were ready to take some time off from the tournament grind. Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and their professional Sam Penecale were the hosts again and the purse was still $110,000. On Monday Dick Hendrickson, Joe Carr and Steve Reid led the qualifying for 22 open spots in the tournament with one under par 71s. Bill Kittleman was the only other Section professional that qualified as he posted a 75. Bert Yancey and Art Wall were in the field as exempt players on the PGA Tour. Bob Shave, Jr. was in, by having made the cut in Atlanta the week before. Bob Ross, Al Besselink, Skee Riegel, Ted McKenzie, Buzz Garvin and Stan Dudas were exempt off their standing on the Philadelphia Section 1966 points list. Penecale was exempt as the host professional. On Thursday twelve Section members in a field of 144 teed off in the first round. On Sunday with one round to go Dan Sikes was in second place four strokes behind the leader George Archer. Sikes picked up six strokes on Archer with a 68 and left the 18th green a winner by two. His rounds were 71, 68, 69 and 68 for a 276 total. Billy Casper, Mason Rudolph and Bob Charles tied for third with 280 totals, two strokes behind Archer (278). First prize was 22,000. The low Section member was Wall who tied for 27th at 286 and won $825. Hendrickson (290) tied for 45th and won the last money of $216. Ross (292) also made the cut finishing one stroke behind Hendrickson and out of the money. Penecale, Riegel, Garvin, Shave, Kittleman, McKenzie, Besselink, Yancey and Dudas missed the cut. The tournament sponsors announced that the tournament had lost money. The dates and a rainy Saturday were factors. It had made a small profit the year before. A spectator ticket for the seven days was $20 plus another $10.50 for parking and clubhouse privileges.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Rolling Green Golf Club on the second Friday of October. There were 55 entries. Dennis Milne, the assistant to his father George at the Trenton Country Club, was the winner with a one over par 72. Bob Schoener, Jr. finished second with a 73 and John Markel was third with a 74. Hercules Country Club assistant Herman Schneider and St. Davids Golf Club assistant Jim Parker tied for fourth with 75s.
The Schmidt’s money created another new event. A team of professionals, made up of the season’s top ten point winners, would play a challenge match against ten professionals from the Middle Atlantic Section. The match was played at the Turf Valley Country Club near Baltimore on the first weekend of October. The first day two-man teams played matches under the selective drive-alternate shot format. The Philadelphia team, which on paper seemed very strong, only won one match and trailed 1 to 4 at the end of day one. The lone winning team was Al Besselink & Stan Dudas even though they brought along a television set on the golf cart. The TV was tuned into the World Series baseball game while they played the match. On Sunday there were ten singles matches and things didn’t go much better as the visiting team only won three matches and halved two. Philadelphia’s winners were Dudas, Bob Schoener, Jr. and Tim DeBaufre. Dick Hendrickson and Besselink got the halves. This made the professionals from the Middle Atlantic Section winners 10 matches to 5. The other Philadelphia team members were Bob Ross, Skee Riegel, Bill Kittleman, Buzz Garvin and Ted McKenzie. The winning team members each received $200 and the losers $100.
Skee Riegel won the Philadelphia PGA Senior Championship for a second straight year at the West Shore Country Club. He had won the tournament on the same course the year before. Riegel posted an even par 72 to edge out Terl Johnson (73) by one stroke. Jack Helms, who was now retired and Al Keeping tied for third with 74s. The winner was still receiving expense money for participation in the PGA Senior Championship from Teacher & Son Scotch, but it would be the last year for that. Instead of playing in the PGA Senior Riegel headed to the west coast to join the PGA Winter Tour, so Johnson played in the Senior Championship as the Philadelphia Section’s representative, receiving the expense money.
The fall meeting was hosted by the Atlantic City Country Club on the fourth Thursday in October. After ten years as a Section officer John Hayes moved up from secretary to president. Joe Aneda had declined to run for a third term because the PGA of America had asked him to run their new business school in the spring. The school for apprentice pros would include a test for the first time. Harlan Will moved over to the secretary position and Bob Kidd was reelected treasurer. Dick Hendrickson was elected first vice president and Jerry Pisano was reelected second vice president. Ed Tabor, Ron Bakich, Charley Lepre and Henry Williams, Jr. were vice presidents at-large. They represented the out-lying regions of the Section such as Harrisburg, Poconos, South Jersey and Central Counties. The “Golf Professional of the Year” award went to Tiny Pedone for his work with the blinded golfers. Along with that he had built a golf course for him and his partner that hosted many events for the Philadelphia Section. Bob Ross won possession of the DeBaufre Trophy for one year as the leader in the scoring averages with 71.9 strokes per round. In the Schmidt Point competition Stan Dudas finished on top in the first half of the year and Bob Ross won the second half.
On the next Monday the pros in the Section had another large pro-pro purse to play for. The $10,000 Mushroom Open was sponsored by the mushroom industry of Pennsylvania and played at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club. Al Besselink and Stan Dudas ran away from the field the first day with a thirteen under par better-ball 57. Besselink had an unofficial 61 and Dudas a 62 for their own scores. They led the host professional Ike Turner and Bob Ross by five strokes. A second round 66 gave them a 123 total and the top money of $3,000 by four strokes. Turner and Ross (127) finished second and divided up $1,500. Vince Sullivan and Rob Faber (129) were third. The teams of Dick Smith, Sr.-Roben Sutton, John Carson-Joe Lewis, Jr., Pat Schwab-Ron Howell and Willie Scholl-Paul Kern all finished tied for fourth with totals of 130. The tournament was open to pros from other Sections and there were entries from seven states.
On the first Monday in November the Edgmont Open at the Edgmont Golf Club offered a $4,500 purse with a $1,000 first place check. It was a benefit tournament that Tiny Pedone had put together for the blinded golfers. Bob Ross added that check to his bank account with a three under par 67. The closest players were four strokes back. Bob Schoener, Jr., Pat Schwab and touring professional Doug Ford all shot 71s.
The national meeting was at Palm Beach, Florida in mid November. The President Max Elbin and the other officers Leo Fraser and Warren Orlick were reelected for a third term. The delegates enthusiastically endorsed a change in the qualifications for membership in the PGA. Up to then a golf professional attained PGA membership by working five years, with a minimum of six months each year, or through participation on the PGA Tour for five years. A one-year credit had been given for attending a one-week non-testing school conducted by the PGA. The apprentices would now receive one credit for each month worked or one-half credit for each tournament a professional played in on the PGA Tour. The apprentice would need to accumulate 40 credits and the touring pro would need 32 credits. They would then need to pass a written test at the PGA business school and no one would be eligible for membership in less than 40 months. One of those schools was going to be in Philadelphia under the direction of Joe Aneda. There were some changes to the USGA rules that concerned the touring pros. One was the ban on croquet style putting and the other was mandatory continuous putting that included cleaning of the ball only before the first putt on a green. A new tournament that was the idea of Fraser was announced. It was called the PGA Club Professional Championship. The tournament was for club professionals, pros who had played in fewer than twelve PGA Tour events in the past twelve months, excluding the majors and the Caribbean Tour. The pros would qualify in their local Sections and the tournament was scheduled for the latter part of the year. It would replace qualifying for the PGA Championship. The low 25 professionals in the tournament and the Section champions would qualify for the PGA Championship. $25,000 of the $50,000 purse would come from the PGA Championship income and the other half would come from the tournament committee fund. Bobby Cruickshank was voted into the PGA Hall of Fame. There were now 35 Sections. The delegates from the Philadelphia Section were John Hayes and Bob Kidd. Marty Lyons was at the meeting as the vice president representing District II.
The PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, hosted qualifying for the PGA Tour. A future Section member, Jimmy Hiskey earned his card with rounds of 71, 77, 78, 71, 74, 70, 76, and 76 for 593. Hiskey tied for 24th as 29 won their playing cards. Bobby Cole led the scoring with a score of 572 for the eight rounds
When the year came to a close the PGA Tour accepted the ban on croquet putting and players like Sam Snead and Bob Shave, Jr. were forced to find another method. Shave was never the same player again while Snead converted to a method he called sidesaddle putting.
Jack Nicklaus shattered the official money winnings number by $48,236 and Palmer won only $4,923 less. The new record take added up to $188,998. Nicklaus was the “PGA Player-of-the-Year”. The Vardon Trophy went to Palmer for the fourth time with a 70.18 stroke average. Bert Yancey won $65,163 in 25 tournaments. Art Wall won $52,804 in 16 events.J Al Besselink won $2,060.
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The Senior PGA Championship was won by Chandler Harper in late January. It was Harper who had defeated Henry Williams, Jr. for the PGA Championship in 1950. There were ten former winners of the tournament in the field. Again the tournament was held on the PGA National Golf Club’s East and West courses. A course record 64 by Harper on the East Course in the third round sent him on the way to the victory. The 64 along with rounds of 70, 73 and 72 left Harper (279) four strokes in front of Sam Snead (283) who was trying out his new sidesaddle putting method. Bob Hamilton (285) and Fred Haas, Jr. (289) finished third and fourth. Harper won $4,000, which was $500 more than he had received for winning the PGA Championship eighteen years before. Marty Furgol, who was coming to the Section as the teaching pro at the Wildwood Golf & Country Club, tied for seventh at 294 and won $850. Williams (302) tied for 26th and won $290. Ralph Hutchison (307) tied for 41st and won $100. Terl Johnson, the Section’s representative who had received his tournament expenses from Teacher & Son Scotch, sponsor of the tournament, missed the money. The total purse, provided by Teacher & Son Scotch, was $40,000. After 15 years of sponsorship, it would be the last for Teacher Scotch.
In the first week of March the Section hosted one of the five new PGA Business Schools that were held throughout the country. The six day school, held at the Sheraton Hotel, consisted of 45 hours of classroom work and the passing of a written exam for the first time. The school was coordinated and directed by Joe Aneda. Leo Fraser and John Hayes assisted him along with thirteen other Section members. The pros were not paid for their services. The $50,000 that it cost to operate the schools came from monies received by the PGA from the sale of PGA Golf Equipment through the Victor Golf Company. The price of the school was $25 plus room and board for each student.
The Section’s spring meeting was at the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia on the third Monday in March. John Hayes presented special awards to George Izett and Bill Bailey of the Bailey & Izett golf club company for their long-standing contributions and dedication to the Section’s pros. Dick Hendrickson and the Section’s tournament coordinator Bob Jones reviewed the upcoming golf schedule, which featured $100,000 in tournaments. The chairman of the Philadelphia golf Classic announced that the Section was receiving six exemptions into the tournament, one going to the Section champion Bob Ross. As the national vice president representing District II Marty Lyons gave his report on the national association’s affairs. After returning to the head table Lyons suffered a heart attack and died before he reached the hospital. One of the last things Lyons said was, “With the boys coming back from Vietnam, we need to get the golf course at Valley Forge General Hospital going again.” He had been a Section member for over forty-years and president of the Section for six years. The meeting was promptly adjourned.
A few days after the Section’s spring meeting Joe Aneda was appointed to complete Marty Lyons term as the national vice president for District II, which would end at the national meeting in November.
The Section’s 11th annual golf show scheduled for the second Monday in April was canceled due to the death of Martin Luther King.
The Masters Tournament finished on the second weekend of April. It will always be remembered as the year that Roberto De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard on Sunday and Bob Goalby won by one stroke. De Vicenzo was first to finish with what appeared to be a 65 for 277 and Bob Goalby sank a five-foot putt on the last green for a 66 to finish with 277 also. De Vicenzo signed his scorecard but the total came to 66. His playing partner Tommy Aaron had put him down for a 4 on the seventeenth hole when he had made a birdie 3. Several thousand spectators plus a national TV audience had witnessed the 3 but the 4 stood since that is what he had signed for. There was a great deal of delay as it was debated in the Butler Cabin but the rules of golf were clear. A golfer is responsible for the hole-by-hole scores that he signs for. Goalby was the winner with rounds of 70, 70, 71 and the final 66 and De Vicenzo second at 278. Bert Yancey came up from behind with a seven under par 65 the last round and finished third alone at 279, two strokes out of a playoff. Bruce Devlin finished fourth at 280. Art Wall (288) tied for 22nd at 288 and won $1,760. First prize was $20,000 from a purse of $172,475. Yancey won $10,000.
Phil Bankert, the host professional, survived chilly temperatures and a brisk wind to lead the local qualifying for the U.S. Open with rounds of 73 and 74 for a five over par 147. Qualifying was held at the Colonial Country Club on the third Monday of May. Jack Kiefer, who was playing the PGA Tour, came home to pick up the next spot with a 148. The third and fourth spots went to Bob Batdorff, the professional at the Green Hills Golf Club and Bill Bowland, the assistant at the Lancaster Country Club, who each posted 153s. Don Stough picked up the fifth and last place with a 154.
On a windy spring day Jerry Pisano set the pace with a 141 in the local U.S. Open qualifying trials. Pisano turned in a 71 in the morning at Green Valley Country Club and he came back with a 71 at Plymouth Country Club in the afternoon. Both rounds were one under par. His scores were even more impressive since he was a pro without a golf course. Due to construction of the Blue Route Radnor Valley Country Club had been shut down for more than one year and some new holes were being built. The Blue Route didn’t actually open until 1992, more than twenty years later. Qualifying was on the third Monday in May. The pros and amateurs were competing for seventeen spots that would send them on to the sectional qualifying. Al Besselink and amateur Billy Hyndman just missed tying for the medal as they turned in 142s. Next were Bill Kittleman and Skee Riegel with 146 totals. George Griffin, Jr., Dick Hendrickson, now the professional at the Little Mill Country Club, Ted McKenzie and John Trullinger, a non-PGA pro from the Center Square Golf Club, tied for sixth with 149s. Tim DeBaufre and amateurs Billy Hyndman and George Haines tied for tenth at 150. Sam Penecale and Ron Bakich made it through with 151s. The last three places went to Dennis Milne, Bob Schoener, Jr. and another amateur Trip O’Donnell who all turned in 153s. Art Wall was exempt as a result of tying for ninth in the Open the year before. Bert Yancey had earned an exemption for having been in the top 15 on the 1967 PGA Tour money list. There was a record 3,007 entries for the Open that year.
On the first Tuesday in June Don Stough led five qualifiers at Rockville, Maryland into the U.S. Open. Stough (143) put together rounds of 74 and 69 at the Woodmont Country Club to win the medal by one stroke. There were five spots at Woodmont and it took a 148 to qualify.
On the first Tuesday of June Dick Hendrickson shot 145 and Ted McKenzie posted a 146 to pass the U.S. Open qualifying test at Montclair, New Jersey. They were part of a group of 19 who won out over 119 pros and amateurs. Pat Schwab earned the medalist honors and $300 with a one over par 141. Eight players played off at 147 for the last seven openings. Hendrickson and McKenzie had qualified locally in Philadelphia. McKenzie didn’t get to tee off in the Open. Due to not checking the entry blank for the registration requirements he had been replaced in the tournament by the time he checked in on Tuesday. He had missed the deadline to either register or notify the committee concerning the time he would arrive.
In mid June at the U.S. Open at Oak Hill Country Club Lee Trevino came from relative obscurity to win. Bert Yancey took a two-stroke lead in the first round with a three under par 67. The second day he added on a 68 to stay two strokes up on Trevino and at the same time he tied the Open record for the first 36 holes. On Saturday he posted a 70 that set an Open record for 54 holes and kept him in the lead one in front of Trevino. On Sunday the two leaders were together in the final pairing. Yancey faded early finishing with a 76 for 281 and third place while Trevino continued with his sub-seventy scoring. Nicklaus (279) put together a last round 67 to move into second place four behind Trevino. Trevino tied the Open record of 275 and became the first player to break 70 in all four rounds with scores of 69, 68, 69 and 69. Trevino earned $30,000, second prize was $15,000 and Yancey picked up $10,000 for third. Bobby Nicholls finished fourth at 282. Art Wall tied for 50th with a 287 and won $795. Don Stough and Dick Hendrickson missed the cut.
Something that had been a part of the PGA since it was formed in 1916 came to an end. The last Section qualifying rounds for the PGA Championship were played. In the future a club professional’s access to their championship would be through the PGA Club Professional Championship or by winning the Section Championship. The Philadelphia Section members qualified at the Rolling Green Golf Club on the third Friday of June. Bob Ross was exempt as the Section champion and the others had two openings to compete for. The low man was Bob Schoener, Jr. with a pair of steady one over par 72s for 144. Tim DeBaufre picked up the second spot with a 145 but he had to go three extra holes in a sudden death playoff to eliminate Bill Kittleman (145). No one broke par in any round and DeBaufre was the only one to equal par. Bert Yancey had an exemption off the PGA Tour money list.
The Pennsylvania Open was in the western part of the state for a second straight year in early July. This time the title didn’t come back east. The winner was Roland Stafford and you could see the Green Oaks Country Club where the tournament was played from the Longue Vue Club where he was the professional. A two under par 69 the first day gave him a share of the lead and with a second 69 on Tuesday he coasted in with a 138 for a four-stroke win. It had been seventeen years since a player from western Pennsylvania had won the tournament. Sam Penecale, Skee Riegel and amateur Trip O’Donnell tied for second. Henry McQuiston, Willie Maples, an assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club, Gene Ferrell and amateur Paul Young tied for fifth with 144s. First prize was $750.
In the third week of July the PGA Championship was held at the Pecan Valley Country Club in San Antonio, Texas. Julius Boros survived the heat to become the oldest winner, at 48, in what was the fiftieth running of the PGA Championship. His rounds were 71, 71, 70 and 69 for 281. He nipped Arnold Palmer (282), who would never win the PGA and Bob Charles (282) by one stroke. George Archer and Marty Fleckman tied for fourth with 283s. First prize was $25,000 from a purse of $150,000. Bert Yancey won $1,400 tying for 23rd at 288 and Tim DeBaufre (293) tied for 41st and won $586.50. Bob Schoener, Jr. (306) also made the cut and picked up the last money of $365 for his tie for 70th. Bob Ross missed the cut.
In late July Tim DeBaufre came from seventh place and six strokes back in the last round of the Schmidt Golf Festival to win the $3,000 to prize. A three under par 69 at the Host Farm Golf Course in the last round enabled DeBaufre (285) to finish one stroke in front of Stan Dudas (286), Dick Hendrickson (286) and Jim Parker (286). They each took away $1,583. Al Besselink and Jerry Port tied for fifth with 287s. DeBaufre started slowly with a four over par 75 at the Berkshire Country Club and followed it up with a one under par 71 at the Whitford Country Club. He then put together a two under par 70 at the Radley Run Country Club. The purse had been increased slightly from the year before to $15,100.
For only the second time in the sixty five-year history of the Philadelphia Open an amateur won. For over thirty plus years Bill Hyndman had come close many times. He had finished second in the tournament three times but this time he was able to grab the title. He started fast with a four under par 67 in the morning at the Whitford Country Club and came back in the afternoon with a three over par 75 at the Waynesborough Country Club for a one under par 142. The only threat to Hyndman was Tim DeBaufre (144) who posted a pair of 72s. Dennis Milne finished third at 146. Henry McQuiston and Mike Beacham, an assistant at the Media Heights Golf Club, tied for fourth with 147s. Only Hyndman shot lower than 71. DeBaufre received the $750 top prize from the $2,030 purse. Fourteen pros won a check. The tournament was held on the first Monday of August.
On the third Friday of August the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Philadelphia Country Club. Bob Schoener, Jr. was the winner with a one over par 72. Willie Maples and Dick Smith, Sr. tied for second with 73s. Tony Perla was fourth with a 75. Maples and Perla were both assistants at the host club. First prize was $260.
The sixth Philadelphia Golf Classic was back at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in the third week of August. The purse now down to $100,000 had gone from the largest on the PGA Tour to below average. Due to the purse some of the exempt players took a week off. On Monday there were 232 players competing for 40 places in the starting field. In order to handle the large number of players they were sent off in groups of four at 7:30. Al Besselink, Dean Beman and Bill Blanton led the qualifying with three under par 69s. Ron Bakich and Bob Schoener, Jr. qualified with 71s. Dick Smith, Sr., the professional at the Wedgwood Country Club, and Skee Riegel made it with 73s. John Carson, the professional at the Cedarbrook Hill Country Club, was next with a 74. Bill Kittleman got under the wire with 75 but it required another day to secure the spot. Monday’s qualifying took twelve hours and finished in a drizzle. There wasn’t enough daylight for playoffs so the next morning nineteen players who had posted 75s returned for a sudden death playoff to determine the last six starters in the field. Sam Penecale was exempt as the host professional. Bert Yancey and Art Wall were exempt players on the PGA Tour. Dick Hendrickson, Jerry Port, Bob Ross, Stan Dudas and Tim DeBaufre were exempt off their position on the Section points list. When the tournament got under way Bob Murphy put together rounds of 69, 71 and 66 to lead by one stroke entering the last round. On Sunday he shot a steady 70 but Labron Harris had finished earlier with a 68 and they were tied at 276. They went back out for a sudden death playoff that started on #15 for the TV audience. They both made pars on #15 and #16 and when Murphy holed a 12-foot putt for a birdie on #17 he had his first win on the PGA Tour. First prize was $20,000. That year the winner received the Marty Lyons Memorial Trophy in memory of Lyons, who had died that spring at the Philadelphia Section’s spring meeting. Dudley Wysong (277) finished third one stroke back. Jack Nicklaus, Frank Beard and Charlie Coody tied for fourth with 278s. It appeared that the tournament made money that year. By late March $50,000 in spectator tickets had been sold. 168 amateurs paid $300 to play in the pro-am on Wednesday and 16,650 people were at Whitemarsh for the final round on Sunday. The low pro from the Section was Yancey (282) who tied for 13th and won $1,750. Wall (285) finished tied for 30th and won $625. Schoener, Jr. and Port each shot 287. They tied for 48th and the each received the last money of $63. Hendrickson (288), Ross (289), DeBaufre (291), Kittleman (299) and Carson (300) all made the cut but finished out of the money. Only the first 50 and ties won money. Penecale (72-74-78) made the cut but withdrew after the third round. Smith, Riegel, Dudas, Bakich and Besselink missed the cut.
While the tour was at Whitemarsh Valley the old dispute between the touring pros and the PGA of America flared up again. The players wanted complete control of the $5.6 million tour. They had put together a 13 man organizing committee and hired a lawyer. They called themselves the “American Professional Golfers Inc.”. The new organization announced that they had begun negotiating for tournaments and television contracts. On Wednesday evening at Whitemarsh they elected their first officers. Gardner Dickinson was elected president, Jack Nicklaus was the vice president and Billy Casper was made treasurer. Four other touring pros were elected to the board and four business people were to be appointed to the board. Within a few weeks Arnold Palmer had committed to the new group. Jack Tuthill and Billy Booe, who supervised the tour, along with Marty Carmichael who negotiated the TV contracts, had resigned as employees of the PGA They were now employed by the new players’ organization.
The Section Championship was at the Brookside Country Club near Allentown in mid September. The eighty-eight Section members who were entered played the course for three days and no one shot a round in the 60s. One of the par five holes had been shortened for the tournament and par had been reduced from 71 to 70. At the end of the three scheduled days there were three players were tied at the top with 217s. On Sunday Stan Dudas, Dick Hendrickson and Henry McQuiston returned for an 18-hole playoff for the title and the $1,500 first prize. The purse was $7,000. Dudas came through with a great round of 66 to win the championship for a third time. He needed a low score because Hendrickson posted a 69 and McQuiston shot 73. Dudas’ three tournament rounds were 74, 70 and 73. Jerry Pisano and Henry Williams, Jr. tied for fourth with 218s. The host professional was Frank Burns who had worked for Dudas as his assistant at the North Hills Country Club.
At the end of September qualifying was held for the newly created PGA Club Professional Championship on Merion Golf Club’s East Course. To be eligible for the tournament a professional must have played in less than 12 tournaments on the PGA Tour in the past 12 months. The Section had five qualifying spots along with an exemption for the Section Champion, Stan Dudas. The first place went to Tim DeBaufre (143) who returned scores of 71 and 72 for the day on the par 70 course. Sam Penecale was next at 144. Skee Riegel and Henry McQuiston posted 148s and George Griffin, Jr. grabbed the last opening with a 149.
Charley Lepre won the Section Senior Championship at the Sunny Jim Golf Club on the first Friday of October. On what was a long and difficult course Lepre was out in 39 and back in 34 for a three over par 74. John Long made a triple bogey 8 on the 16th hole finished second with a 75. Pete DeAngelis was third at 78. Camp Hill Golf Club professional Clint Kennedy and retired Hercules Country Club professional Ed Ginther turned in 80s to tie for fourth. First prize was $250.
In the second week of October the $10,000 Mushroom Pro-Pro tournament was played again at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club. On Monday Dick Hendrickson and Bill Kittleman teamed up for a nine under par better-ball 61 but it only got them a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. A second round 64 for a total of 125 by the Hendrickson-Kittleman team, eked out a one-stroke win over northern New Jersey’s Eddie Famula and Ken Burnette (126). Buzz Garvin and Jerry Pitman finished third at 127. The defending champions Al Besselink and Stan Dudas tied for fourth with Willie Scholl and Paul Kern with 128 totals. There was a first prize of $2,400 for Hendrickson and Kittleman to split up. Hendrickson also won $850 in Sunday’s pro-am, which preceded the tournament by one day.
It was the Philadelphia Section’s turn to host the Schmidt Challenge Cup matches. Atlantic City Country Club hosted the matches on a weekend in the latter part of October. The players had decided that Skee Riegel would be the captain and he decided that if he were going to be the captain he would be a non-playing captain. The year before Philadelphia had lost to the Middle Atlantic Section by a wide margin in Baltimore and the team didn’t want this to happen again. The first day the teams played five better-ball matches and it ended with each team winning two matches and halving the other. The Philadelphia teams that won were Dick Hendrickson-Tim DeBaufre and Henry Williams, Jr.-Dennis Milne. The Sam Penecale-Henry McQuiston team got a half. On the second day things went Philadelphia’s way as they won six of the ten singles matches and halved two. Stan Dudas, Bob Ross, Charlie Lepre, Penecale, McQuiston and Milne won their matches. Jerry Port and Williams halved with their opponents. They had almost reversed the score from the previous year as they won by nine and one-half points to five and one-half for the Middle Atlantic Section.
The next day the Section held its annual meeting and election of officers at the Riverton Country Club. The President John Hayes, Dick Hendrickson the first vice president and the Treasurer Bob Kidd were reelected. There were two new officers. Joe Cannon, the professional at the Wilmington Country Club, was elected secretary and Bob Ross was elected second vice president. The “Golf Professional of the Year” award went to John Vasco who had been the guiding force behind the success of the Section’s golf show and the chairman of the national PGA Merchandise Show. The winner of the DeBaufre Trophy was Stan Dudas for his 73.0 per round average for the year. Under the guidance of Hayes an organization for the assistant golf professionals had been initiated that year. The president of the assistants group was Hayes’ assistant at the Riverton Country Club, Fred Philipps. The Section seniors elected Vasco as their president.
The big news was that the Section now had an office. Office space had been rented at 354 West Lancaster Avenue in Haverford, Pennsylvania. The telephone number was 215 649 5443. The Section had 320 members plus 50 apprentices making the paper work more than Anne Scott and the officers could handle. Bob Jones had been hired as the executive director and he had a secretary. For thirty years Anne Scott had been the executive secretary for the Section and handled the paperwork for the Section’s officers. She worked as the secretary to the regional sales manager of the Spalding Sporting Goods Company. During most of that time the office had been in Philadelphia so Spalding’s address, 401 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia 8, Pennsylvania, had also been the official address of the Philadelphia Section PGA. In recent years Spalding had moved to an industrial park in Ft. Washington and that had been the Section’s address. Jones had been working as the Section’s tournament coordinator for the past two years. Because of this he knew all of the golf professionals and understood what they wanted. The Section office was located in Haverford because it was near where Jones lived.
In the yearlong Schmidt Points competition Pete Trenham won the first half and Dick Hendrickson took the second half. A playoff was held on the fifth Wednesday of October between the two winners at the Llanerch Country Club, which Hendrickson won with a 75 against a 77 for Trenham. Hendrickson and Trenham each picked up $600 for finishing on top and Hendrickson received another $250 for winning the playoff. A total of $2,375 was paid out in each half with ten professionals receiving checks for each half of the year.
The PGA of America held a tour qualifying school at the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and the new American Professional Golfers association held its own qualifying tournament at the Doral Country Club near Miami. At PGA National a future Section member, Vernon Novak, earned a player’s card with an eight round 598 score. Thirty cards were awarded at PGA National and 21 were given out at Doral. There had also been a school in the spring of that year where 15 more cards had been given out. There were many questions as to who was going to be playing on what tour.
Leo Fraser was elected president of the PGA of America at the national meeting. The meeting was held in Palm Beach in mid November. Fraser had been in the golf business for more than 40 years and his father had been a golf professional. Fraser had been a club professional, tournament player and the owner of a country club. During World War II he had risen from private to major. He had been the president of the Philadelphia Section for seven years and the innovator of many programs for the Section. After the election Fraser announced that he would “take every step to find an honorable peace with the “American Professional Golfers”. Warren Orlick moved up from treasurer to secretary. There were seven candidates for the office of treasurer. On the fifth ballot Bill Clarke of the Middle Atlantic Section was elected. The delegates were told that a pension plan was almost finalized. The required documents were in the hands of the IRS and it was expected that the members could start signing up right after the first of the year. The delegates were also informed that the wage and hour laws applied to the club professional. The Department of Labor had ruled against the golf professionals stating that they were deemed to be a part of the total golf facility. Therefore they were not considered a small business, which exempted some employers from the law. For the eighth straight year former Philadelphia Section president and Reading Country Club professional Henry Poe was the chairman of the meeting. At the meeting Joe Aneda stepped down as a national vice president having completed Marty Lyon’s term. Chick Harbert was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame. John Hayes and Bob Kidd were the delegates to the national meeting. The PGA did not select a PGA Player of the Year.
In early December the PGA of America and the touring professionals reached a settlement through the efforts of the new President Leo Fraser. The settlement kept the PGA Tour under the umbrella of the PGA of America. A “Tournament Division” was created, which was managed by a ten man Tournament Policy Board. The board was made up of the three PGA officers, four professionals from the PGA Tour and three independent businessmen. A tournament director was to be hired to manage the tour under the direction of the board. The PGA managed to hold on to lucrative assets like the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, Senior PGA Championship and the PGA Merchandise Show. Due to that the financial future of the club professional’s part of the association was assured.
The first PGA Club Professional Championship, the “brain child” of Leo Fraser, was played in Scottsdale, Arizona in early December. Two courses were used, the par 72 Century Country Club and the par 71 Roadrunner Country Club. The purse was $50,000 and the winner’s name was engraved on the Walter Hagen Cup. Howell Fraser, an assistant pro from northern New Jersey, was the winner by four strokes with rounds of 72, 66, 65 and 69. His 272 score was still the tournament record more than thirty years later. Tim DeBaufre posted a 289, which gave him a tie for 49th and a check for $101.36. Skee Riegel (290) tied for 60th and Stan Dudas (296) tied for 85th. They each won the last money of $88.89. Henry McQuiston, George Griffin, Jr., and Sam Penecale missed the cut.
In 1968 the Spalding Golf Company came out with a solid golf ball named the Executive. Since 1902 when the Haskell wound rubber ball replaced the solid gutta percha the golfers of the world had been playing with wound golf balls. It would be quite a while before there was a solid ball that the world-class players would play but it was an immediate help to the average player. They could now purchase a quality golf ball that wouldn’t cut and kept its original shape for many rounds instead of less than one round. Soon the driving ranges had a golf ball for their customers that performed like the balls they used on the golf course.
It seemed like new money winning records were being set each year on the PGA Tour and 1968 was no exception. Billy Casper became the first man over $200,000 with $205,169, $49,883 more than Jack Nicklaus. Casper won the Vardon Trophy for a record fifth time with an average of 69.82 strokes per round. Bert Yancey won $65,603 in 23 tournaments. Art Wall won $29,254 in 10 starts. Al Besselink won $285.
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Charlie Sifford earned his second PGA Tour victory at the Los Angeles Open in mid January. Sifford and Harold Henning tied at 276 and Sifford won the $20,000 first prize with a birdie 3 on the first extra hole. When the tournament began Sifford opened up with a 63 at the Rancho Park Golf Club. He blistered the back nine shooting a seven under par 28. He followed that up with three straight 71s. Billy Casper and Bruce Devlin tied for third one stroke back with 277s. The purse was $100,000 and first prize was $20,000. The $50,000 Alameda Open was played at the same time. Even though the PGA Tour dispute had been settled the PGA had booked Alameda previous to that and fulfilled the contract.
Tommy Bolt won the Senior PGA Championship in late January at the home of the PGA in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Bolt had four solid rounds of 70, 70, 71 and 67 for a 278 that beat Pete Fleming (279) by one stroke. Sam Snead finished third with a 280 and Bob Hamilton was next at 281. Henry Williams, Jr. (294) finished in a tie for 18th and won $475. Clint Kennedy (296) tied for 23rd and won $350.
The Section’s spring meeting was on the fourth Monday of March at the George Washington Motor Lodge in King-of-Prussia. More than 125 Section members were in attendance. The Section had a revised constitution, which included new employment guidelines and tournament regulations. Joe Cannon and Bill Smith, the professional at the Concord Country Club, had written a model employment agreement for the benefit of the professionals and their employers. The agreement gave suggested minimums for salaries, club storage, lessons, golf car income, lessons, etc. Bill Kittleman and Pete Trenham had written the new “Tournament Regulations”, which consisted of 48 pages of guidelines. The guidelines covered every event from the open tournaments to pro-ams including the prize money breakdowns. Tournament chairman Dick Hendrickson announced that all pro-member tournaments would have to guarantee certain minimums in order to be on the Section’s schedule. The minimum would be a $25 appearance fee and $50 in prize money for each invited professional. There had been 28 pro-members, most of them on Sundays, and there would certainly be fewer that year. There were 12 events on the schedule excluding the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Opens that offered $1,000 or more in added money. Leo Fraser, new president of the PGA of America, reported on the Club Professional Championship and other national affairs. Ken Stear was honored for raising the most money, $576, at his club for National Golf Day in 1968. The Section members were told that they would receive five exemptions for the Philadelphia Golf Classic.
After eleven years in Philadelphia the Section’s annual golf show had a new home. The show, under the direction of John Vasco, was held in King of Prussia on the Monday after the spring meeting. The show was open to the pros from 9 AM to noon and then the public was welcomed in. The pro golf salesmen were pleased. Many of them drove their cars into the showroom at the George Washington Motor Lodge on Sunday night and unloaded at their booths. The guest celebrity was Sharron Moran from the LPGA Tour. In 1966 she had been voted America’s most beautiful golfer by one of the major golf magazines. Relays of golf professionals gave free instruction in the driving nets along with putting and sand play tips. A fourteen man All-Philadelphia professional team was announced for driving, putting, sand shots, etc. The show was deemed a success as the attendance was equal to the Philadelphia shows and more sales reps had rented space.
The Masters Tournament was won by George Archer in the second week of April. After a 67 the first day Archer (281) played three steady rounds of 73, 69 and 72 to win his one and only major by one shot. Three others had chances but in the end the all tied for second. Billy Casper, George Knudson and Tom Weiskopf all posted 282s. First prize was $20,000, which it had been since 1961. Bert Yancey shot par, 288, tied for 13th and won $2,700. Art Wall (297) also made the cut. He tied for 40th and won $1,400.
Dick Hendrickson (143) outscored 98 pros and amateurs to grab the medal in the local qualifying for the U.S. Open on the third Monday in May. There were showers in the morning and an intermittent drizzle in the afternoon. Hendrickson had a one over par 73 at the Llanerch Country Club in the morning and a one under par 70 in the afternoon at the Rolling Green Golf Club. They were competing for eighteen places that would advance them to the sectional level. George Griffin, Jr. finished second with a 144 and Skee Riegel won the third spot with a 145. Willie Scholl, the new professional at the Gulph Mills Golf Club and Henry McQuiston tied for fourth with 146s. Amateurs Billy Hyndman and Paul Beallard were next with 148s. Dick Mullen ended up alone in eighth place at 149. Jerry Pisano and amateur Frank Guise tied for ninth with 150s. Bill Bishop, the professional at the Freeway Golf Club, Bob Schoener, Jr., and amateurs Dave Brookerson and James Monkman turned in 151s to tie for eleventh. Al Besselink, Pete Trenham, Buzz Garvin and amateur Allan Sussel posted 152s and survived a five-way playoff for the last four places, which eliminated Willie Maples. Bert Yancey’s third place finish at Oak Hill the year before earned him a full exemption.
Also on the third Monday of May Charlie Gilbert, the professional at the Silver Spring Golf Club, won the U.S. Open local qualifying medal at the Country Club of Harrisburg. Gilbert (147) put together rounds of 73 and 74 on the par 71 course. Six other players qualified there as well. Buster Reed (148) and Howard Kramer (148), the professional at the Host Farm Resort & Golf Club were one stroke off the medal pace. Amateur and future Section member Sherm Keeney tied with Western Pennsylvania pro Frank Kiraly for the fourth spot with 149s. Dave Collingwood, the assistant at the Lancaster Country Club, and amateur Wayne Jacobs posted 151s and survived a three-man sudden death playoff in order to move on to the sectional qualifying rounds.
Bert Yancey won the $115,000 Atlanta Golf Classic in late May. Yancey birdied the 72nd hole at the Atlanta Country Club to match Bruce Devlin, who also birdied the last hole, with 277 totals. Yancey and Devlin returned to the 15th hole for a sudden death playoff. They both birdied that hole and when Yancey birdied the next hole he had won the $$23,000 first prize. Yancey’s four tournament rounds were 71, 68, 69 and 69. Gary Player also birdied the last hole and finished one stroke out of the playoff with a 278. Bruce Crampton finished fourth at 279. First prize was $23,000.
On the first Tuesday in June Skee Riegel qualified for the U.S. Open at Purchase, New York. Riegel (147) put together rounds of 75 and 72 at Century Country Club and Brae Burn Country Club. Riegel had qualified locally in Philadelphia. Terry Wilcox was low with a 143. Four players with 148 totals survived a sudden death playoff to qualify.
Also on the first Tuesday of June Al Besselink made it back to the U.S. Open with ease as he posted the second lowest score at the Bethesda Country Club in Maryland. Besselink, who had qualified locally in Philadelphia, put together rounds of 70 and 72 for a 142 to trail Dean Beman (141) by one stroke. There were six spots in Washington and a score of 149 made the grade exactly on the number.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Plymouth Country Club on the second Monday of June. Dave Collingwood finished his round with an eagle three on the 17th holes and a birdie 4 on the 18th hole, for a three under par 69 that won by four strokes. Northampton Country Club assistant Roger Stern was second with a 73. Bala Golf Club assistant Gary Honeysett and Overbrook Golf Club assistant Dale Belville tied for third with 74s. First prize was $270.
The U.S. Open was at Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret’s Champions Golf Club near Houston in mid June. A real long shot, Orville Moody was the winner, picking up his only major and his only win on the PGA Tour. After 14 years as a career soldier he had joined the tour two years before. Moody was a solid player and if he had left the army as a young man he probably would have won several times on the tour. His cross-handed putting stroke held up that week and he put together rounds of 71, 70, 68 and 72 for a 281. Bob Rosburg, Al Geiberger and Dean Beman tied for second one stroke back with 282s. First prize was $30,000. Bert Yancey won $1,500 tying for 22nd at 288. Skee Riegel and Al Besselink missed the cut.
In the second week of July Bert Yancey finished 16th in the British Open. For the first time in 18 years an Englishman won their Open as Tony Jacklin won at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s Golf Club with a 280. Bob Charles (282) finished second one stroke in front of Peter Thomson (283) and Roberto de Vicenzo (282). Yancey had rounds of 72, 71, 71 and 77 for 291.
The week after the British Open Whitemarsh Valley Country Club hosted the Philadelphia Golf Classic for a seventh straight year. Because of the tournament being the week after the British Open there were only twelve spots to qualify for on Monday. That gave the non-exempt players on the PGA Tour a chance to make the cut, which qualified them for Whitemarsh. Larry Mowry and Bert Weaver led the qualifying with 69s. The Section’s lone qualifier was Dave Collingwood who turned in a 72 to make it right on the number without a playoff. Sam Penecale was exempt as the host professional. Bert Yancey and Art Wall were exempt off the 1968 PGA Tour money list. Dick Smith, Sr., Stan Dudas, Dick Hendrickson, Bob Ross and Jerry Port had exemptions off the Section’s point list. It was mid July and the weather was hot. Orville Moody had to be taken off the course in an ambulance in the first round. Penecale had to stop in the middle of the second round and six others withdrew during the tournament with heat related problems. The defending champion Bob Murphy had his clubs stolen from his car on Friday night and he played the last two rounds with a set that belonged to his father. It may have been the heat but only four players broke 280. Dave Hill, Gay Brewer, Tommy Jacobs and R.H. Sikes who was not related to the 1967 winner Dan Sikes all posted nine under par 279s. On the first hole of a sudden death playoff Hill made a birdie and won for the third time that year. His rounds were 71, 71, 68 and 69. With the help of the Industrial Valley Bank the purse had been raised to $150,000 and the tournament made a profit. After starting out with a purse of $125,000 in 1963 the purse had been lowered several times until it reached $100,000 in 1968. First prize was now $30,000 and everyone who made the cut received a check. Yancey (293) who never seemed to play well at Whitemarsh, tied for 60th, Dudas (297), now leasing the Mays Landing Golf Club finished 71st and Wall (302) finished 73rd. They each picked up the $230 last money checks. Smith, Port, Ross, Hendrickson and Collingwood missed the cut.
The Schmidt Golf Festival had been renamed the Prior Golf Festival to promote Schmidt’s premium beer. There were 72 professionals entered and in the first three rounds the pros were paired up with 72 amateurs. The purse was now $15,500 with $500 going to the low seniors. The tournament began at the Edgmont Golf Club on a Thursday in late July and moved to the Radley Run Country Club on Friday. Saturday was a day off so the pros could be at their clubs and the third round was played at the Manufacturers Golf & Country Club on Sunday. The final round was set for the next day at the Little Mill Country Club but due to heavy rains that closed the course and scheduling conflicts it wasn’t played until the second Monday in August. When the tournament was finally completed Al Besselink took the top prize of $2,700 with a 287. He began with a two over par 72 at Edgmont, posted a one under par 71 at Radley Run and then took over the lead in the tournament with a three under par 69 at Manufacturers. When they finally got to Little Mill he finished with a four over par 75 for a one-stroke win. Dick Smith, Sr. and Stan Dudas tied for second with 288s. Bob Schoener, Jr. shot 289 and finished one stroke ahead of Ted McKenzie (290).
On the first Monday of August the Philadelphia Open was won by the defending champion, amateur Bill Hyndman. The host club was the Merion Golf Club. Hyndman turned in a four under par 66 on the West Course in the morning and came back in the afternoon with a par round of 70 on the East Course. His 136 won by eight strokes and it was the largest margin of victory since the tournament had gone from 72 holes to 36 in 1940. The top three checks went to Tim DeBaufre, who was now back on the PGA Tour, Pete Dever, the professional at the Brookside Country Club in Pottstown, and Bob Pfister, the professional at the Llanerch Country Club. They tied for second with 144s. They each earned $483.33. There was a four-way tie for fifth as Don Stough, Henry McQuiston, Bill Bowland and Stan Brion, the assistant at the Green Valley Country Club, all posted 145s. Hyndman was a member of the Walker Cup team that year. He had planned to play in the Canadian Open that next week but decided to withdraw and rest up for the Walker Cup matches later that month. The purse totaled $3,450.
The PGA Championship was being played in Dayton, Ohio and the Chicago Tribune was running a story concerning a possible blockage of Leo Fraser’s reelection to president of the PGA of America. Some PGA members were unhappy that Fraser had made peace with the touring professionals. It stated that several PGA Sections were thinking about running someone in opposition to Fraser. He said that he did not know anything about a movement to replace him, but there would not be a PGA Championship being played right now, if it were not for him.
The PGA Championship was held under the new qualifying arrangement that year. The top fifty from the 1968 PGA Tour money list, the Ryder Cup team, the last five U.S. Open winners, all past PGA champions, the Section champions and the top 25 from the PGA Club Professional Championship plus five additional players were invited. The Section champion Stan Dudas was in the field. Art Wall and Bert Yancey who were exempt off the 1968 PGA Tour money list also represented the Philadelphia Section. The tournament was in Dayton, Ohio in mid August. Ray Floyd went wire to wire to win. He began with a two under par 69 that put him in a nine-way tie at the top and followed it up with a 66 and a 67 to lead by five strokes with a round to go. A shaky 74 on Sunday brought him in one stroke in front of Gary Player (277) with a total of 276. Bert Greene finished third at 278. Floyd won $35,000. Dudas (297) tied for 69th and won the last money of $241.38. Wall and Yancey missed the cut.
The Pennsylvania Open was played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club on the Monday and Tuesday after the PGA. The fairways and greens didn’t have much grass and the rough was so deep the players couldn’t find their golf balls. There were 142 starters and 52 didn’t turn in a score in the first round. The players were paired in fours and on several occasions the four players and the four caddies couldn’t find the ball even when they thought they knew exactly where it was. After the first round the field was cut to the low sixty and a score of 83, which was twelve over par made it. Tony Perla brought in the winning score of 149, 76 on Monday and a 73 on Tuesday. Chuck Scally finished second with a 150 and Bob Schoener, Jr. was third at 151. Bob Ross, Willie Scholl and Willie Beljan tied for fourth with 152s. The total purse was $3,200 and Perla won $850. A score of 159 finished in the money.
Jimmy Johnson won the Philadelphia Section Senior Championship on the second Friday of September. In winning Johnson set a course record which he needed. He put together a bogey free, five under par 66. Skee Riegel was one stroke back at 67. The old course record of 67 had been held by former Section champion Bob Shave, Jr. Charley Lepre finished third with a 71.
On the last Monday in September the Section members qualified for five spots in the PGA Club Professional Championship at the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club. The low qualifier was Dick Hendrickson with a 75 and a 67 for a two over par 142. Ted McKenzie and Charlie Gilbert were next at 144 and Bob Ross made it safely with a 145. Pete Trenham, Stan Dudas, Buster Reed and Willie Maples all posted 146s. Trenham won the last spot by making a two-foot putt for a birdie 3 on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.
The first round of the Section Championship was played the next day near Scranton. The host club was the par 72 Glen Oak Country Club. Al Besselink picked up his second Section Championship but it wasn’t wrapped up until the final green. Besselink held a two-stroke lead going into the last round with a 70 and a 69. In the last round Besselink, Tim DeBaufre and the host professional Jerry Port were paired together. Teeing off on the 18th hole Besselink had a one-stroke lead on Port and two on DeBaufre. Besselink made a par 5 for a 72 and 211. DeBaufre just missed an eagle putt and Port missed a four-foot birdie putt. They tied for second with 212s. Ted McKenzie and Dick Hendrickson tied for fourth at 214. Besselink won $900 from the $5,000 purse and possession of the Bulletin Cup for one year. Besselink wasn’t eligible for the Club Professional Championship as the Section champion since he had played in more than twelve PGA Tour events in the past twelve months. He was leaving for the Caribbean Tour in early November.
In late October the Schmidt Cup matches were played near Washington D.C. at the Washingtonian Golf Club’s National Course. In the four-ball matches the first day the Philadelphia Section’s Dick Hendrickson-Dick Smith, Sr. and Ted McKenzie-Tim DeBaufre teams were the only winners and the visiting team trailed 2 points to 3. The second day there were the ten singles matches. Philadelphia won five of the first nine matches and with only the DeBaufre-Mike McGinnis match left on the course the two teams were tied 7-7. The last match was tied going to the 18th hole and when McGinnis missed a very short putt for a win, the match was even. Before the two-day match began the team captains had agreed that in case of a tie the last pair off the course would play off the tie. That meant DeBaufre and McGinnis had to go back out for sudden death and settle the tie. On the first playoff hole McGinnis holed a 60-foot putt for a birdie and when DeBaufre missed from 35-feet the Middle Atlantic had won 8 to 7. The Philadelphia winners of the singles matches were Jerry Port, Stan Dudas, McKenzie, Smith and Hendrickson. Al Besselink, Bob Ross, Henry McQuiston and Bob Schoener, Jr. were the other members of the team. Skee Riegel finished eighth on the point list but withdrew from the matches to continue as the non-playing captain. In order to fill the tenth place on the team McKenzie had beaten out Bob Pfister in a playoff.
The fall meeting and election of officers was on the first Wednesday in November at the George Washington Motor Lodge in King of Prussia. The nominating committee had proposed a slate for election and four other Section members were nominated from the floor opposing four of the nominees. The opposition slate had a nine-point campaign platform. One was to form a chapter in Central Pennsylvania giving those members an opportunity to have their own tournament schedule. Another point was to give the members outside the metropolitan Philadelphia area more voice in the Section’s affairs. The nominees were Bob Ross- president, Henry Williams, Jr.–first vice president, Stan Dudas–second vice president, Jerry Pisano–secretary and Bob Thatcher–treasurer. The nominees from the floor were John Vasco–president, Dick Hendrickson–first vice president, Henry McQuiston–second vice president and Pete Trenham–treasurer. Vasco defeated Ross in a very close race and Williams declined to run against Hendrickson who had been the first vice president and tournament chairman for two years. Stan Dudas declined to run against McQuiston and the nominating committee put up Joe Cannon who held the office the year before. McQuiston defeated Cannon and Trenham defeated Thatcher, the professional at the Aronimink Golf Club. There were now 389 Section members and 122 members voted in the election. Vasco was president of the national PGA Senior association and had been directing the Section’s golf show for four years. The award for the Section’s “Golf Professional of the Year” went to Pete DeAngelis who had been associated with the Plymouth Country Club for 35 years as caddie master, assistant pro and head professional. DeAngelis was known for his education of assistants. When the PGA of America started having schools for assistants DeAngelis and some other pros had started holding schools for assistants in Section. Hendrickson won the DeBaufre Trophy with an average of 72.4 strokes per round.
The national meeting was in Scottsdale, Arizona in early November. The President Leo Fraser and the other officers were reelected for a second term. The PGA had decided to drop the letter designation of membership classes and use names like head professional. The apprentice concept and classification for those working toward membership was restored. The delegates voted to grant eight credits toward membership for graduates from a four-year accredited college, which would make them eligible to apply for membership after completing 32 months of employment as a golf professional. Also a new elite classification called Master Professional was created. To be eligible for that one had to be a head professional for ten years. He also had to complete several educational courses and write a thesis on golf. The USGA eliminated the rule that had required cleaning of the golf ball on the green only before the first putt and continuous putting. The PGA Tour had refused to go by that rule on the tour. The only tournaments they played under those rules were the U.S. Open and the Masters Tournament, which were not run by the PGA. Chandler Harper was voted into the PGA Hall of Fame. The delegates from the Section were John Vasco and Jerry Pisano.
The PGA Club Professional Championship was played in Arizona in mid November. The Road Runner Golf Resort, par 71, and the San Marcos Country Club, par 72, hosted the tournament. The 1959 PGA champion Bob Rosburg, won with rounds of 71, 66, 66 and 72. Jimmy Wright finished second one stroke back. Wright missed a 30-inch putt on the last green for a tie when a spectator sneezed in the middle of his stroke. Dick Hendrickson finished 13th with a 284. That qualified Hendrickson for the 1970 PGA Championship as the top 25 and tied made it. First prize was $8,000 and Hendrickson won $850. Charlie Gilbert (293) tied for 63rd, winning $90.90, which was the last money. Ted McKenzie, Bob Ross and Pete Trenham missed the cut.
For the first time in the decade the professional at the top of the year-end money list on the PGA Tour wasn’t Palmer, Nicklaus, Player or Casper. Frank Beard grabbed the top spot with $175,223. Bert Yancey was eighteenth on the list with $83,111.29. Dave Hill won the Vardon Trophy with a 70.34 stroke average. The “PGA Player-of-the-Year” was Orville Moody. Art Wall played in nine tournaments winning $5,910. Al Besselink won $3,806.
In December an antitrust lawsuit was filed against the PGA and a dozen golf equipment manufacturers by Golf City, a New Orleans off-course retail store. The store claimed that there was an agreement between the PGA and the manufacturers who produced “pro only” equipment which was then sold only through the golf professional shops. It was the manufacturers, not the PGA, who had the idea to have equipment that was sold only through the pro shops and another line of equipment for the department stores. The first to do that was Wilson Sporting Goods Company, in 1930. The “pro only” equipment was not only sold to PGA golf professionals, but any golf facility that had grass, like driving ranges.
The decade saw many changes for the PGA. In ten years membership in the association had grown from 4,500 members to 6,451, an increase of 43 percent. The PGA had moved across Florida to Palm Beach Gardens and a 36-hole course designed for them by Dick Wilson. A third course was nearing completion in 1969. Though still PGA members, the touring pros were now in total control of the tour events and managing the PGA Tour. The tour purses had risen from a total of $1,187,340 in 1959 to $5,465,875 in 1969 and the average purse had gone from $27,613 to $116,295. PGA members could still play in the tour events by qualifying on Mondays. Golf professionals who were not PGA members and wanted to play on the tour had to compete in a “players school” for a designated number of player’s cards. The “player’s card” gave the professional the privilege of entering the Monday qualifying rounds. The Sections were hiring executive directors to run their affairs and the apprentice professionals were attending PGA business schools that included a test they had to pass to become a PGA member.