Waynesboroughâ€™s Cook, SRCCâ€™s Olseski take Hussey MemorialSPRINGFIELD, Pa.â€“High school teammates and friends Michael Cook of Waynesborough Country Club and Robert Olseski of Sandy Run Country Club had eyes on the Francis X. Hussey Memorial since the Golf Association of Philadelphia schedule was announced in March.
The 18 year olds from Conestoga High School know each otherâ€™s game well and figured that familiarity, combined with the lessened stress of a team event, would be a perfect combination. They were correct.
The duo carded a 6-under-par 65 Monday at Rolling Green Golf Club (par 71, 6,324 yards) to edge all comers by a stroke in the Junior Division (ages 14-18) of the 29th annual better-ball event. The two played in the third group out, an advantage considering a strong and persistent afternoon wind.
â€śHe plays the accuracy game. He hits it a little shorter than me. I tried to bomb it out there and make birdies,â€ť said Cook of Berwyn, Pa. â€śWeâ€™ve played a lot of friendly matches against each other and know how to play off of each otherâ€™s strengths.â€ť
Added Olseski, â€śItâ€™s a little bit more relaxed and not as much pressure as an individual event. You get a few more free runs at birdies. Thatâ€™s a nice feeling.â€ť
It was the first Golf Association of Philadelphia title for both players.
The two stated their intentions immediately on Monday, beginning with No. 1 (par 4, 386 yards).
Olseski, who graduated from Conestoga a few months ago and is heading to St. Josephâ€™s University, knocked a 150-yard, low-punch 7-iron from the left trees of the first hole to 15 feet and made the birdie. Cook rolled in a 25-footer for 2 on No. 3 (par 3, 163 yards) and then both players made birdie on the gettable seventh (par 5, 510 yards). Cook followed that up on No. 8 (par 4, 400 yards) with an uphill 8-iron from 140 yards to five feet for a fourth front-nine red figure. The duo turned in 4 under.
â€śI thought we needed to match that on the back side but then the wind picked up,â€ť said Cook, a rising Conestoga senior.
That low stress round continued until No. 14 (par 3, 190 yards) when Cook made a fantastic, and unexpected, par save to keep the momentum going. Both he and Olseski missed the green to the right. Cook then lofted a wedge from 40 yards to 15 feet above the hole and drained the saver. The round then continued with no bumps before a flurry of a finish.
On No. 17 (par 5, 473 yards), Cook knocked a 4-iron from 195 yards into the left rough near the greenside bunker before chipping it to three feet for a 4. On No. 18 (par 5, 511 yards), Olseski did the trick for his team with a 3-wood from 225 yards for his second shot to 20 feet. His eagle try stopped a couple revolutions short but gave the duo the decisive birdie.
â€śItâ€™s special to win it in my last year as a Junior golfer,â€ť said Cook, who recently captured the Waynesborough menâ€™s club champion. â€śItâ€™s a pretty nice way to finish off.â€ť
Three teams finished in a tie for second at 66. A total of 15 teams finished at even or better.
In the Girls Division, Meghan Fahey of Overbrook Golf Club and Maddie Keane of Philadelphia Country Club posted a 79 to win the title (par 71, 5,509 yards). Both are 15 year olds at the Academy of Notre Dame. Fahey, of Villanova, Pa., is a rising sophomore and Keane, of Newtown Square, Pa., is a rising junior.
The blemishes came in the first two holes with a Wallace three putt from 40 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 349 yards) and team bunker troubles on No. 2 (par 4, 377 yards). Wallace avenged that balky putter from the first hole in style on No. 9 (par 5, 507 yards), the Junior-Juniorâ€™s last hole, when he ripped a driver off the deck from 200 yards to 10 feet before making the par save for the win.
â€śMy heart was beating a little fast,â€ť said Wallace, 12, of Narberth, Pa. â€śI didnâ€™t want to go into a playoff. The [Civitellas] told us what we needed.â€ť
Said Colman, â€śI was very excited when it went it. Itâ€™s an awesome win.â€ť
NOTESâ€“The tournament namesake is Francis X. Hussey. Hussey suffered with congenital heart disease and passed away in December of 1983 while undergoing major heart surgery. He was 13 years old when he died. Francis was a student in the Haverford Township School system, an avid sports fan and an active junior member at Rolling Green. His courage in the face of his illness was a great inspiration to all who knew him.
Golf Association of Philadelphia