Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

The Traveling Golfer

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

LPGA Tour

LPGA's Park nearly "Retired" at 23

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 
 GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ --- Golf is a wonderful, testing, invigorating game. Oh, it’s anything but easy. If anything, it’s perplexing. It’s a game with a myriad of twists and turns which send some players to a championship while others to golf’s funny farm.
“It’s a game that can be hard to figure out, one where you think you have and all is well one day and the next comes unexpected adversity,” commented none other than Phil Mickelson several years ago.
One can have all the credentials, yet still not become a star. Mental challenges can outweigh physical ones. As Dennis Milne, the late Trenton Country Club pro, once told me, “I had a perfect shot on a par-3 hit the flagstick and bounce out of bounds.”
And this is fun?
You bet.
For years Annie Park build an impressive resume winning at the junior, collegiate and professional level, claiming top honors on the Symetra Tour. She graduated to the LPGA Tour in 2016 with high expectations but little to show for it. Park and the Tour just didn’t click.
What was supposed to be an easy transition didn’t happen, and so so efforts were interspersed with missed cuts and confusion.
Putting was a problem, and admittedly she went through eight different putting techniques.
At the depths of 2017 she seriously considered “retiring” from professional golf and dusting off her game for a job in journalism or marketing.
It wasn’t until her older sister Bo sat her down and gave a motivational kick butt talk that screwed Park’s head back on straight. “In a nutshell, she said I had talent, I was doing good things, but was overanalyzing things, letting things get inside my head,” said Park in the Stockton Seaview clubhouse this week. “Yes, I was struggling, but I also had a lot going for me. Everyone has a goal of playing the Tour, and here I was with my ticket. I had the game to make it work.
“I got a great talking to from Bo, that I needed to give it a shot, by best shot. Nothing less. She didn’t want me looking back with regrets. It struck home to me.”
Something Bo said struck a responsive chord, and Park began slicing and dicing the building blocks required to make it happen. With practice and dedication the long putter began working, and pitfalls became opportunities.
At the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer Park entered the event closest to her native Long Island with optimism. Seaview’s Bay Course was, as usual, windy, difficult but fair, and Park was up to the challenge. She had confidence from a sixth place finish there the prior year, and was dedicating game toward optimism rather than worries.
Park completed three trips around the Donald Ross designed Bay Course in 16-under-par 197 that earned her a winning check of $262,500. That was slightly more than she had earned in her prior 47 LPGA events. Her closing 63 was sparkling effort.
The LPGA’s best, such as Juli Inkster, Betsy King, Stacy Lewis, Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez had already won here, so Park’s name is in Hall of Fame company.
“Last year here was magical,” said Park, holding her young puppy Lexi. “It was a major weight off my back. I have confidence and believe other good things are coming.
LPGA NOTES --- The tournament has generated more than $34M in charitable donations over the year, and each season’s event generates more than $19M in economic development for the greater Atlantic City area…The event recently signed on to host the tournament through 2023.

Sam Snead won LPGA event

Written by Bob Oliver on .

There has been a lot of talk about Sam Snead's 82 victories which were considered PGA Tour wins.  Decades ago there was controversy about what was an official PGA Tour victory, as some events were regional and didn't have specific fields as there are today. 

The 82 wins Snead had were in addition to the scores of other victories, such as West Virginia Opens where he dominated for years. Those are in the "also won" category.

So you know, Snead was also an LPGA trailblazer. He actually won an LPGA event, the 1961 Royal Poinciana Invitational. Seriously.

The event, over 72 holes at the Palm Beach, Fl., Golf Club, was an official LPGA contest. Snead entered and claimed the championship by five shots over future Hall of Fame member Mickey Wright.

"It was a fun event, and I played well," said Snead with a sneaky smile at the PGA Merchandise Show a little more than two decades ago. "It was no big deal at the time. But a win is a win!" 

Snead's 82 victories on the PGA Tour is the latest goal of Tiger Woods, who has 80 trophies, the latest being the 2018 Tour Championship. 

Benvenuto fighting the fight

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

Brittany Benvenuto is fighting the fight on ladies professional golf, playing on the Symetra Tour after a short season on the LPGA Tour.

 

The Symetra Tour - the top developmental circuit for the LPGA - offers outstanding competition and a place to hone one's game. Last year, playing on a medical exemption, made a couple cuts while getting into a few LPGA events. This season she's working hard on her game on the Symetra Tour, which visits Montgomery County May 31-June 2 at the Raven's Claw Golf Club in Pottstown.

 

Benvenuto, a native of Langhorne where she attended Neshaminy High School, has been consistent this year in three Symetra Tour events, making the cut in each. 

 

She was 31st in the Skyigolf Championship (77-69-67--286), 37th at the IOA Championship (71-76-77--224) and 48th at the Florida Natural Charity Classic (71-72-73--216).  She stands 40th on the money list.

 

A year ago at Seaview playing in the Shop-Rite LPGA Championship, Benvenuto spoke about the highs and lows of her career. "I've built my game so that I'm giving myself a shot, but there is a whole lot of work to be done," said Benvenuto, who was 38th in the season ending Symetra Tour Championship. "The injuries have set me back, but I'm optimistic."

 

She played in nine LPGA events and loved the taste of play at the highest level of women's golf. And she's hoping her game continues to improve in 2019 to get back to the LPGA next season. 

Davies deserves LPGA Hall of Fame

Written by Bob Oliver on .

There are some things that make no sense, no matter how you slice and dice the information.

I was thinking about that statement the other day. A simple nonsensical fact.

Dame Laura Davies is not in the LPGA Hall of Fame. 

Seriously?

What a disgrace.

Laura Davies is one of the finest women golfers ever, one who bedazzled LPGA fans for decades. 

Since arriving on US soil in 1987, when she captured the Women's United States Open at Plainfield Country Club, she's been a fan favorite. Thirty one years later on the Bay Course at Seaview, Davies drew a large number of fans. 

Over the years she has accumulated 20 LPGA victories including four major championship, all while supporting the Ladies European Tour where she's claimed 45 championships. With 85 career professional wins, her credentials are impecable. 

This has been a fine year for Davies, who still competes a limited LPGA schedule. Included was a second place finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. 

She also claimed two Senior Major CHampionships, the Senior Women's Open and the Senior LPGA Championship. Not to shabby.

Okay, the LPGA uses a point system to earn a Hall of Fame berth, and Davies is shy of the 27 points required for entry. But the Senior Championships don't county, nor 65 of her 85 career victories. 

The time is now to right this wrong. Laura Davies has outstanding credentials and should be in the LPGA Hall of Fame. 

Period. 

Benvenuto advances

Written by Bob Oliver on .

Neshaminy grad Brittany Benvenuto is a step closer to regaining her LPGA Tour playing privileges.

Benvenuto, who played on the LPGA Tour this season on a medical exemption, making just one cut, also played on the Symetra Tour. She played in 12 Symetra Tour events, earning a shade more than $22,000. 

This week she tied for 34th in Stage II qualifying in Florida on rounds of 71-73-72-72--288. That earns her a berth in the next round of qualifying and a shot at one of 45 Tour Cards up for grabs.