A Chronicle of the
Philadelphia Section PGA and its Members
by Peter C. Trenham
Not long after 2020 got under way, golf in the Philadelphia Section came to a standstill due to the arrival of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the United States. In many states, all nonessential businesses were told to close down. The state of Washington was the first to be hit hard. Then the virus jumped across the country to the densely populated New York city region.
Gatherings of people for business or social reasons were curtailed. The NBA and NHL seasons were put on hold along with spring training for major league baseball. The NCAA put the basketball tournaments on hold and all spring sports were postponed. After playing the first round of its TPD Championship in mid March the PGA Tour, had planned to play the remainder of the tournament without spectators, but then canceled the tournament.
With the number of virus cases spiking in many states, the hope was that by limiting contact the spread was be decreased. Otherwise the hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients. Grade schools, along with colleges were closed with the students being taught online.
A dinner to honor the Philadelphia Section award winners that was scheduled for Aronimink Golf Club on the third Sunday of March was postponed until further notice. The Section’s Spring Meeting scheduled for Green Valley Country Club on the fifth Monday of March was postponed and then canceled.
With the cancellation of its spring meeting the Section missed out on its usual opportunity to recognize the Section members who had been honored with awards for 2019. The “Golf Professional of the Year” was John S. “Johnny C” Carpineta, a late comer to the world of professional golf. Born in Philadelphia in 1941, he saw golf for the first time in 1964. Stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia while serving in the US Army, his commanding officer took him to the Masters Tournament. In 1968 he played golf for the first time at Holmesburg Country Club. With some golf instruction from Holmesburg’s professional Ed Metro and Al MacDonald, a past president of the Philadelphia Section, his golf game began to improve. Though he had spent his working career with Sears and as a musician Johnny decided he wanted to be a golf professional and a PGA member. While still an amateur he took the PGA’s playing ability test a total of 9 times, missing by one or two strokes at times. However in 1998, at age 57, he passed the test, turned pro and went to work as an assistant to Jim Bogan at the Bensalem Township Country Club. In 2003 he became a PGA member. One day at Bensalem he met a wounded veteran who was interested in learning how to teach golf to people with impairments. That introduced him to a new passion, golf for wounded veterans. Johnny spent the next decade promoting golf instruction for wounded veterans along with collecting golf clubs for them. In 2015 he received the Section’s Player Development award and three times, 2017, 2018 and 2020, he was the Section’s Patriot Award recipient. White Manor Country Club’s Jon Dunigan was the teacher of the year.
Later in March the Masters was postponed and the PGA Tour put its schedule on hold until further notice. The USGA began canceling tournaments, which included local qualifying rounds for the US Open, which were to be played in May.
In late March, Matt Frey, the Section’s new director of communications, began a series of e-pub articles chronicling the history of the Philadelphia PGA, leading into its 100th birthday in 2021. The articles were presented decade by decade relating the highlights from each ten-year period. Information for each decade was provided by Section historian Peter C. Trenham.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, on April 7 the PGA, USGA, R&A, Masters Committee and the LPGA made a joint announcement on a new schedule for the remainder of 2020. The PGA Championship was moved to early August as there was an open week due to the postponement of the Olympics to 2021. The British Open was canceled. The US Open was now going to be played in the third week of September, with the Ryder Cup one week later on its original dates. The Masters was now scheduled for mid November. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club was still in late June, its scheduled time. Later it was moved to October. The Senior PGA Championship and the US Senior Open were canceled.
With the US Open rescheduled it was decided to cancel all local and sectional qualifying rounds. Instead, the field would be filled by using the world rankings for professionals and amateurs.
On May 1 the golf courses in Pennsylvania were allowed to reopen with many restrictions. On May 2, the golf courses in New Jersey were reopened with similar restrictions. The golf courses in Delaware had remained open, but only to residents of Delaware, and with restrictions. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey clubhouses remained closed. Face masks had to be worn by the golfers in the vicinity of the check in areas. Golf carts were restricted to single riders unless two golfers were residing together. Flagsticks were not to be removed. Objects like foam or small sections of PVC pipe were placed in the cups to keep the golf ball from falling to the bottom of the hole. There were no bunker rakes, ball washers or benches on the golf courses. Starting times were expanded to assist in social distancing.
The Philadelphia Section held its first tournament of the year. The Connelly Cup Head Professional Championship was played at North Hills Country Club. Hugo Mazzalupi, the professional at the Patriots Glen National Golf Club, was the winner by four strokes with a four under par 67.
On Thursday June 11 the PGA Tour resumed its season with the playing of the Charles Schwab Challenge. The tournament was at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. It was the first round of golf on the PGA Tour since March 12, when the Players Championship was canceled after one round had been played.
Due to the virus, the PGA Professional Championship, which had been scheduled for April in Austin, Texas, was moved to June and then canceled. At that tournament the top 20 qualified for the PGA Championship. To select those 20 club professionals for the PGA Championship, the top 20 from the PGA’s 2019 Player of the Year list were invited. As number eleven on the list, Alex Knoll, the teaching professional at the Glen Brook Golf Club, was in the PGA Championship.
The Philadelphia PGA’s Assistant Championship was played at the St. Davids Golf Club on the first Monday of August. The tournament had been scheduled to be played in New Jersey, but due to the COVID 19 virus, the state of New Jersey would not allow out of state residents to participant in a tournament in its state. Due to a water problem caused by springs that had opened up, the 5th hole at St. Davids was played as a par 3, making par 69. Deerfield Country Club assistant Michael Tobiason posted a 68 in his morning round and came back in the afternoon with a torrid 62. His eight under par 130 won by four strokes. Trevor Bensel (Overbrook Golf Club), Steve Swartz (West Shore Country Club), Brett Walker (Sunnybrook Golf Club) and Ashley Grier (Overbrook Golf Club) tied for second at 134. This was also qualifying for the Assistant PGA Professional Championship. The Section had five spots to qualify for. Grier was exempt as a member of the 2019 Women’s PGA Cup team. The fifth spot went to Manufacturers Golf & Country Club assistant Ross Seaman (135). Jordan Shuey (West Shore Country Club) 137, got into the national championship as an alternate. The purse was $17,133 and first prize was $2,495.
The PGA Championship was played in the first full week of August at the 7,169 yard TPC Harding Park golf course in San Francisco. As usual for San Francisco the temperatures were in the low 60s each day. At one point during the last nine holes on Sunday seven players were tied for the lead at nine under par. On the 14th hole California born Collin Morikawa chipped in for a birdie to take the lead. Two holes later he drove the 297-yard par four 16th hole and then holed a seven foot putt for an eagle. From there he made pars on the next two holes to win by two strokes. His rounds were 69, 69, 65 and 64 for a thirteen under par 267. Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey tied for second at 269. There was a four way tie for fourth. Jason Day, Matthew Wolff. Tony Finau and Bryson DeChambeau posted 270s. Jim Furyk and Alex Knoll missed the cut. First prize was $1,900,000 from a purse of $11,000,000.
In the second week of August the Pennsylvania Open was held at the Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh. Due to the number of entries qualifying was held at six locations around the state. Amateurs dominated the top spots. Western Pennsylvania amateur Jimmy Ellis won the tournament with rounds of 71, 71 and 71 for an even par 213. Amateurs Troy Vannucci and William Davenport tied for second at 214. Lancaster’s J.D. Dornes who was playing the minitours tied with two more amateurs; Connor Schmidt and Mark Goetz tied for fourth at 215. Dornes took home the top money of $8,000.
Trevor Bensel won the Delaware Valley Open on the third Monday of August at the Concord Country Club with a nine under par 61. His 61, which was composed of seven birdies, an eagle and ten pars, was one stroke off the course record. Five strokes back, there was a three-way tie for second. Dave McNabb, (Applebrook Country Club professional), Rich Steinmetz (Spring Ford Country Club professional) and Country Club of York assistant Parks Price all turned in 66s. First prize from a prize pool of $12,490 was $1,660.
The two-day Philadelphia Section Senior Championship was played at the Concord Country Club during the third week of August. The first day Dave McNabb led by two strokes with a four under par 66. On Tuesday, Country Club at Woodloch Springs professional John Pillar, posted a 66 to go with his first round 68 while McNabb was turning in a 68. That left them in a tie for the title. A sudden death playoff was held on the par five 18th hole, which Pillar won with a par. First prize was $1,080 and the total prize money was $6,175. This was also qualifying for the 2021 Senior PGA Championship and the Section had 6 spots. Deerwood Country Club professional Greg Farrow finished third at 138. Laurel Creek Country Club teaching professional David Quinn and Huntingdon Valley Country Club teaching professional John Allen tied for the fourth and fifth spots with 138s. Radnor Valley Country Club professional George Forster, Sr. and the host professional Mike Moses tied for sixth and the last spot, which Forster won in a sudden death playoff. Bucknell Golf Club professional Brian Kelly (140) was exempt off his tie for 22nd at the 2019 Senior PGA Professional Championship.
Due to COVID-19 the US Open was held during the third week of September instead of June like it had been for many years. The last time it was played in September was 1913 when Francis Quimet won. The tournament was hosted by the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. As usual the course was long and difficult but some low rounds were posted. When it was all over Bryson DeChambeau was the winner. His game plan was to drive the ball as far as possible, and rough or fairway take his chances from there. Of the 56 holes that were not par threes his tee shots were in the fairway only 23 times. He led in driving distance with an average of 325.6 yards. Matthew Wolff led DeChambeau by two strokes after 54 holes at five under par 205, but there was one more round to play. On Sunday only one played broke the par of 70 and that was DeChambeau, with a 67. DeChambeau’s rounds were 69, 68, 68 and 67 for six under par 274. Wolff finished second at 280. Louis Oosthuizen was third at 282 and Harris English was fourth at 283. First prize from the $12,500,000 purse was $2,250,000.
The 99th Philadelphia Section Championship was played during the third week of September in the central counties, The first two rounds were at the par 71 Bent Creek Country Club and the par 72 Country Club of York. For the first two days half of the field of 147 Section members played at each of the courses. With the field cut to the low 60 and ties, the third and final round was played at Bent Creek, This was also qualifying for the 2021 PGA Professional Championship. The defending champion, Alex Knoll, began like he left off in 2019, by taking the lead. He made two eagles on the way to posting a 65 at Bent Creek, which gave him a one stroke lead on the field. The next day he turned in a 69 at York and was now in the lead by two strokes. Back at Bent Creek for the final round on Wednesday Knoll put together a steady round of 70. On the eleventh tee he held a five stroke lead. His 54-hole total of 204 won by three strokes. Pine Valley Golf Club assistant Tom Cooper finished second at 207. Philadelphia Cricket Club teaching assistant Rusty Harbold and French Creek Golf Club assistant Andrew Turner tied for third with 210 totals. With 11 spots at the 2021 PGA Professional Championship to qualify for there was plenty to play for. Lookaway Golf Club professional Michael Little, Bidermann Golf Club assistant Zac Oakley and Brett Walker tied for 5th, 6th and 7th at 212. Rich Steinmetz, Hugo Mazzalupi and Parks Price tied for 8th, 9th and 10th at 213. Mark Sheftic and Terry Hertzog who were both teaching professionals at Merion Golf Club tied for the last spot at 214. A sudden death playoff was held on the 10th hole which Sheftic won with a par four. The total prize money was $75,000 with a first prize of $9,500. The host professionals were James Haus (Bent Creek) and Kevin Bales (CC of York).
The Philadelphia Open, which had been scheduled for July at Galloway National Golf Club was played at the Doylestown Country Club in the second week of October. Due to the Covid-19 virus the state of New Jersey had placed restrictions on sporting events with participants from outside the state. Due to the virus there was no qualifying for the tournament. The GAP filled the field off the performance ranking from the Philadelphia PGA and their list of amateurs. Michael Little came to the last hole, a par five, tied for the lead with Alex Knoll, who was in the clubhouse at five under par 139. On finding what he thought had been a perfect tee shot, he found his golf ball in the front end of a divot. After checking with an official to make sure how he stood, Little played a 5-wood shot to the green, which was fronted by a pond, to within 10 feet of the hole. From there he two putted for the win. His rounds were 68 and 70 for a six under par 138. Amateurs Jeff Osberg and Andrew Mason tied for third one stroke behind Knoll with 140 totals. Due to the pandemic and no income from qualifying rounds the purse was greatly reduced. The total prize money was $10,000 and first prize was $2,000.
Aronimink Golf Club and its professional Jeff Kiddie hosted the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship during the first full week of October. Due to COVID-19 the tournament had been postponed from June to October. South Korea’s Sei Young Kim won with what was a record score for the LPGA’s championship. Kim began the final round with a three stroke lead over Inbee Park. Park shot a 65 but Kim won by five strokes. Twice Park got within two strokes, but Kim birdied four of the last six holes for a 63, the low round of the week. Kim’s rounds were 71, 65, 67 and 63 for 266. Park was second alone at 271. Nasa Hataoka made an eagle 2 on the first hole of the day on the way to a 64 and a tie for third with Carlota Ciganda with 273s. First prize was $645,000 from a total purse of $4,300,000.
Trevor Bensel won the Section Match Play Championship for a second time in the third week of October at the Waynesborough Country Club. He also won the tournament in 2017. In the 18-hole final he defeated the defending champion Zac Oakley 6 & 5. To reach the final Oakley defeated Andrew Turner 4 & 2 and Bensel defeated Chester Valley assistant Nicholas Iaccoca 2 & 1. The match play ladder was made up of 59 head professionals and assistants along with five byes. The prize money totaled $11,400 and first prize was $2,000.
In his first start on the Champions PGA Tour Jim Furyk won the Ally Challenge at the Warwick Hills Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan in early August. He posted rounds of 68, 66 and 68 for a 14 under par 202 to win by two strokes. Retief Goosen and Brett Quigley tied for second at 204. Chris DiMarco, Rod Pampling and Wes Short, Jr. tied for fourth with 205 totals. Prize money was $2,000,000 and first prize was $300,000.
In his second start on the Champions PGA Tour Jim Furyk won the Pure Insurance Championship at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California during the third week of September. He joined Arnold Palmer and Bruce Fleisher as the only ones to win their fist two starts on that tour. With rounds of 64, 73 and 67 he finished in a tie with Jerry Kelly at 12 under par 204. In a sudden death playoff Furyk won with a birdie four on the first extra hole. Ernie Els finished third at 205. Mike Weir and Retief Goosen tied for fourth with 207 scores. First prize was $315,000 from the $2,100.000 purse.
The Senior PGA Professional Championship was won by Omar Uresti in the third week of October as he won by six strokes and set a tournament record. The tournament was played in Port St. Lucie, Florida at the PGA of America Golf Club’s Wanamaker (par 72) and Ryder (par 71) courses. Uresti’s turned in rounds of 68, 66, 66 and 69 for an 18 under par 269. Scott Hebert finished second at 275 while Paul Stankowski and Bob Sowards tied for third at 276. First prize was $26,000 from a prize pool of $318,000. David Quinn and Dave McNabb led the Philadelphia contingent as they tied for 16th with one under par 286s. They each won $4,100. John Pillar tied for 24th at 288, winning $3,487.50. George Forster, Sr. finished tied for 71st and won $1,180. This was also qualifying for the 2021 Senior PGA Championship. With 35 spots to qualify for, Quinn, McNabb and Pillar all made it with ease. Brian Kelly, Hugo Mazzalupi and John Allen missed the cut. Mazzalupi got in as the fourth alternate from the Philadelphia Section.
Due to COVID-19 the PGA of America’s annual meeting was held virtually. The meeting was held in late October. Suzy Whaley stepped down as president after completing her two year term. Vice president Jim Richerson was elected president and secretary John Lindert was elected vice president Both were elected without opposition. Don Rea was elected secretary on the second ballot, over three other candidates. Four candidates were on the first ballot and three made it to the second ballot. Rea received 62 of the 118 votes against 51 for Dave Schneider. The delegates from the Philadelphia Section were Jeff Kiddie and Patrick Shine. The Section was also represented by past Dick Smith, Sr. an Jack Connelly. The two delegates from each of the 41 PGA Sections, the district directors and past presidents all had a vote. With it being the Philadelphia PGA’s turn to be represented in District II by a director for a three year term, Philadelphia’s John Pillar was sworn in. For the past year Pillar had been sitting in on the meetings in order to have a smooth transition into office. There were no resolutions voted on.
The Assistant PGA Professional Championship was played at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida during the second week of November. The winner was Gunner Wiebe with rounds of 70, 67, 69 and 72. His 278 total won by two strokes. First prize was $12,000. Jin Chung finished second at 280. Greg Koch and Aaron Purviance tied for third at 282. Ashley Grier tied for 34th at 293. Her rounds were 70, 76, 77 and 70. Steve Swartz and Michael Tobiason both missed the cut by one stroke with 151s. Ross Seaman and Jordan Shuey also missed the cut. Shuey got in as an alternate. Trevor Bensel and Brett Walker had qualified but did not play in the tournament. Prize money totaled $150,000.
After being postponed in April due to COVID-19, the Masters Tournament was played in the middle of November. The Augusta National course measured 7,475 yards. An early morning thunderstorm and heavy rain stopped play for nearly three hours on Thursday morning, but that only made the course play easier, with greens that held every shot. Dustin Johnson picked up his second major title with a wire to wire victory while putting together a 72-hole tournament record of 268. His rounds were 65, 70, 65 and 68. Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth had shared the record of 270. Johnson teed off in the final round with a four stroke lead and won by five. First prize was $2,070,000. Australia’s Cameron Smith and South Korea’s Sungjae Im tied for second at 273. Justin Thomas finished fourth at 276. Total prize money was $11,500,000.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Section’s annual meeting was held virtual at 8:30 on Tuesday November 17. 184 Section members and associates viewed the meeting via YouTube. President Jeff Kiddie conducted the meeting as the officers and committee chairmen gave their reports through prerecorded videos. Clark Luis kicked off the meeting singing the national anthem from the patio at Valley Country Club, where he was the golf professional. John Carpineta gave the invocation and gave thanks for the golf professionals being in the golf business, which had prospered during the 2020 pandemic. Due to golf courses being closed for several weeks in the spring, $140,000 had been borrowed from the Section’s restricted fund in order to keep all of the Section’s staff members on the payroll. As of September there was now $423,445 in the fund, a decrease of $99,091. The education committee reported that during the spring lull, while golf courses were closed, the Section provided 34 electronic seminars called webinars. John Pillar, who was now the PGA Director for District II, gave a report on national affairs. Many Section tournaments were postponed or canceled but before the year was over all of the Section’s major tournaments had been played. Michael Little was the Player of the Year and he led the DeBaufre trophy scoring with an average of 70.17 in the designated tournaments. Dave McNabb was the Skee Riegel Senior Player of the Year . Two Section members, Bob Barnett posthumously, and Michael Mack, were elected to the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame.
Robert T. “Bob” Barnett was the first president of the Philadelphia Section PGA, elected in December 1921. He was born in Philadelphia in 1896 and began his professional career as an assistant at Bala Golf Club in 1914. In 1922 he hosted the first Philadelphia PGA Championship at Tredyffrin Country Club in Paoli, Pennsylvania, where he was the professional. The evening of the Section Championship, the professionals held their annual meeting. Barnett was reelected, but in March he left the Section to become the professional at the Chevy Chase Club in Maryland. Due to his popularity he was invited to play in the Section Championship even though he was no longer a Section member. As a non-member he won the Section Championship twice. As the professional at Chevy Chase he was a founder of the Middle Atlantic PGA and its second president along with winning that Section Championship. For nearly 20 years Barnett was the professional at the Indian Creek Country Club in Miami, Florida during the winter months. At Indian Creek he trained two young professionals who would go on to be leaders in the PGA’s national affairs, Max Elbin and Bill Strausbaugh. Elbin was president of the PGA from 1966 to 1968 and the national award for work in Club Relations was named after Strausbaugh in 1979. One of Barnett’s proteges and assistants at Chevy Chase and Indian Creek was Lew Worsham who would go on to win the 1947 U.S. Open. In 1941 he was on the PGA of America’s teaching committee. During World War II he spearheaded a program for the rehabilitation of the wounded veterans and served on the PGA Wounded Veterans Rehabilitation Committee. He served a term as a PGA of America Vice President (later renamed District Director). Barnett is also a member of the Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame.
Michael T. “Mike” Mack was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1956 and began playing golf at the age of 16. He turned pro in 1977. As an assistant he worked for John Poole, at West Chester Golf & Country Club and Pete Dever at Brookside Country Club. In 1982 he became the head professional at the Burlington Country Club and was still the professional there in 2020. In 1989 Mack went on the Section board of directors as a director from South Jersey. Five years later he was elected first vice president and began a progression through the Section’s chairs. He served two years as secretary and two years as vice president, which due to a change in the Section’s by-laws had been called treasurer before that. In 2000 he was elected president and became the Section’s 33rd president. Since becoming the professional at Burlington he devoted his time to the promotion of junior golf. After growing junior golf at his club he promoted team matches for juniors among the golf clubs in southwestern New Jersey. He introduced golf to the Special Olympics in his region while serving as the golf instructor and he was honored for his work with the inter-city youth of Camden. Mack was one of the leading tournament players in the Section who was nearly always in contention at the Section tournaments. In an effort to improve his golf game and learn more about the golf swing he traveled numerous miles to take golf lessons from the country’s most famous instructors. Mack finished second in the Section championship in 1994 and third in 2000. He qualified for the PGA Professional National Championship twice along with qualifying for the Senior PGA Professional National Championship once and he played on six Section challenge cup teams. In 1986 Mack began hosting the two-day Burlington Classic which quickly became one of the most important tournaments on the Section’s calendar. The tournament was still being played more thirty years later. He hosted the Section championship twice at Burlington County. In 1999 Mack was the Section’s “PGA Golf Professional of the Year”.
In the third week of December Brandon Matthews won on the PGA Tour’s Latinoamerica Tour for a second time by winning the Puerto Plata Open in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. He won by five strokes with rounds of 65, 65, 63 and 65 for a 26 under par 258. Jacob Bergeron was second at 263. Connor Godsey and Brendon Doyle tied for third with 264s. First prize was $31,500 from the $175,000 purse.
Justin Thomas was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour for the 2019-2020 season with $7,344,040 and he was the PGA of America Player of the Year. Jim Furyk played in 13 tournaments and won 224,450. Bernhard Langer led the Senior PGA Tour money list with $1,493,737 in 15 starts. Will Zalatoris was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour’s developmental tour with earnings of $403,978 in 16 events.
Due to the COVID-19 virus and restrictions on social gatherings many businesses struggled or closed, but even though the number of virus cases continued and even increased dramatically, golf prospered. With limitations on what people could do safely, golf was an option. It was not safe for people to travel or even go to the beach, so there was money and time to be spent elsewhere. Until the various governments figured out what to do, the golf courses were closed for nearly six weeks in the spring. Once the golf courses were reopened at the beginning of May, they were filled every day. To keep the golfers safe, starting times were spread out and golfers rode in single carts. Even though many golf courses were closed for nearly six weeks, by the end of 2020 most golf facilities had hosted 30 or 40 percent more rounds than the year before.