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.

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15 Aug
2017

Crawford a w/d at US Am

Written by Bob Oliver

Golf, it has been said, is a gentleman's game, a gentlewoman's game, a game of honor.

Sometimes wild cards are thrown into the equation. Cards that don't make sense, but deep down, force a player to make the ultimate decision.

Playing in his fourth United States Amateur Championship, Holy Ghost Prep and Drexel University graduate Chis Crawford, was faced with the decision.

After an opening round 73 - two birdies against five bogeys - in the first 18 of 36 holes of stroke play qualifying for 64 spots in the match play component of the event, Crawford was sitting pretty. Another decent round at historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palasades, CA, and the Drexel assistant golf coach would be playing for the first time in match play. 

About five holes into his second round - one which saw him two-under-par for the day - he was at odds with his caddie on yardage from the green. Crawford had reviewed his notes and yardage book, his local caddie used a range finder to determine the yardage. While range finders are permitted in amateur events (but not professional tour events), the USGA does not allow range finders that also include information on the slope of terrain. 

After completing the hole Crawford and his caddie had an unpleasant exchange, where the player realized his caddie had an illegal range finder. Whether by design or by accident, the result was clear on Crawford's analysis. 

He must disqualify himself.

That happened, but Crawford kept his head held high. He followed the rules, and the violation cost him dearly.

Still, the two-time US Open qualifier, who will compete in a Web.com qualifying event this fall, did the right thing. 

07 Jul
2017

Benvenuto shelved, Makefield soars

Written by Bob Oliver

 

Sometimes the best laid plans have to be torn up and thrown out the window.

Langhorne's Brittany Benvenuto entered 2017 on a high note, qualifying for the LPGA Tour after a 29th place finish in qualifying school. And while she knew that qualifying position would get her into about 10 events, she knew that if she played a couple strong events she'd move up the priority ladder and receive more chances.

Early in the year she played a second tier event in Australia - and won! Her first professional victory. That gave her a big boost of confidence. Back in the states the LPGA played events in January, February and March and Benvenuto didn't make the final field in any.

Her first chance on Tour was the Lotte Championship, and first round jitters led to an opening 81. She rebounded to a second round 73 but missed the cut. Still, it was an uneventful, decent, opening tournament. 

Two things happened after that. First, she wasn't getting into tournaments. Second, she tweaked her back while practicing. And the more she practiced the worse her health got.

"I ended up with a problem with a disk," said Benvenuto, who saw various doctors and therapists in an effort to relieve the pain. "It just wasn't getting better."

In the end, rest followed by therapy was prescribed, and Benvenuto's rookie season was ended with just one event completed. 

It was heartbreaking, but the life of a professional athlete isn't all fun and games.

"I have a positive attitude, I will get through this," said the University of Arizona grad. "I'm taking a medical leave from the Tour."

She will be working on getting better the rest of the year, and will re-join the LPGA for the 2018 season, health permitting.

Benvenuto had been working with noted instructor Susie Meyers, who has guided several PGA Tour players who've won this year, and believed that relationship will pay dividends when she's back in the swing of things.

A former Pennsylvania Women's Amateur Champion, Benvenuto had a stellar season on the Symetra Tour last year making 19 of 21 cuts. 

Elsewhere,  the Makefield Highlands club championship is highly competitive. 

Former champion Mike Minter advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2 and 1 win over Ray Pyontek. Also seeking quarterfinal berths are Andy Strock, who is playing John Cyb, Steve Mroozian, who is battling Pat Welsh, and Steve Budenz, who's playing Dan Charen. 

A recent visit to the Lower Makefield layout found a course in excellent shape.

Area Aces: Solomon Brenner added name to the list of golfers who've scored a precious hole-in-one by acing the 5th hole at Northampton Valley, a 185-yard test...Also scoring aces, at Makefield Highlands, were David Ross (driver), Matt Riley (5 wood) and Sean Peltz (5 wood) on the fifth hole and Nick Smith (8 iron) and Jim Gambino (8 iron) on the 132-yard 17th hole.