Benevento, Davis shoot 64, take 30th Francis X. Hussey Memorial
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. — Matthew Davis remembers watching older brother Michael and Mac Selverian break the Francis X. Hussey Memorial scoring record en route to victory in 2011. Little did the Aronimink Golf Club member know four years later, he would find the winner’s circle, a stroke shy of matching the mark.
| Junior Girls Division scorecards | Junior-Junior Girls Division scorecards | History |
Davis teamed with Greate Bay Country Club’s Mark Benevento, Jr. to capture the tournament’s 30th edition at Rolling Green Golf Club (par 71, 6,324 yards) Monday. The two carded a 7-under-par 64 — two strokes clear of the field. Matthew and Michael are the first brothers to win the Junior Division (ages 14-18) independently. Chris and Drew Yard of Whitford Country Club won back-to-back titles in 1987-88.
The Francis X. Hussey Memorial is a Junior better-ball event.
“I was here when Mike won it that day, so I’ve always liked this tournament. It feels great to win,” Matthew Davis, 16, of Newtown Square, Pa., said.” We both made a great team, and our putting was probably the biggest part of our success. We made a lot of key putts today.”
“It feels awesome, just knowing the history of the tournament,” Benevento, 18, of Somers Point, N.J., added. “Whenever one of us had a bad hole, the other one picked him up.”
The Benevento and Davis team picked up steam early thanks to birdies on two of its first three holes. Benevento stuffed an 8-iron from 175 yards to a foot on No. 2 (par 4, 415 yards). Davis foreshadowed his par 3 proficiency with a birdie on the next hole (155 yards), drawing a 7-iron to 10 feet. Club selection is critical on the demanding par 3, 188-yard 14th hole — a known round-swallower. Davis made a beneficial choice.
“Max [Siegfried, who played in the event Monday] was caddying for us then, and he was saying it played to at least 210 yards — uphill and into the wind,” Davis, a rising sophomore at Malvern Prep, said. “I thought hybrid and hit it to about 15 feet and made a pretty good putt. My putting the past couple weeks wasn’t great, but today it clicked.”
Davis also eyed an eight-footer for birdie on the 16th hole (par 3, 130 yards), but didn’t need to address it; Benevento poured in a 15-footer following a 54-degree wedge shot. Benevento, a rising freshman at the University of Delaware, also spearheaded the team’s flurry finish on the front. He pulverized a 7-iron 205 yards to 15 feet on No. 7 (par 5, 510 yards) and converted the eagle putt. On the uphill, 401-yard No. 8, he hit a pitching wedge 145 yards to five feet for birdie. After catching the left greenside bunker with his second stroke on the par 5, 520-yard No. 9, Benevento splashed out to 10 feet and sunk the ensuing putt. He and Davis turned in 5 under — tied with a pair of clubhouse leaders in Gary McCabe, Jr. of RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve and Erik Reisner of Philadelphia Publinks GA as well as Whitford Country Club’s Nicky Marrollo and Wills Montgomery.
“We knew we were at least tied or winning at that point,” Davis said.
A bogey on the par 4, 375-yard 15th hole brought the Benvento and Davis team back into the 5 under deadlock. Davis saw a heavy 8-iron roll off the false front while Benevento took an unplayable after his drive found tree roots on the left side.
“We knew Nos. 16, 17 and 18 were all birdie holes, so we were still pretty confident we could win,” Davis said.
Hi-fives and smiles personified that confidence. Davis followed Benvento’s birdie on the 16th hole with one of his own. He lifted a 58-degree wedge 80 yards to 12 feet on No. 17 (par 5, 496 yards).
Benevento and Davis met through a friendship between their fathers. However, hangouts on and off the golf course are rare, given the driving distance. Neither Benevento nor Davis had a partner for Monday’s event.
A text message changed that status. And the leaderboard, too.
In the Junior Girls Division, Isabella DiLisio of Talamore Country Club and Jackie Rogowicz of Yardley Country Club prevailed with a scintillating 8-under-par-63. The two Junior golf dynamos typically compete against one another but continue to show how formidable they can be as allies.
DiLisio, 18, of Hatfield, Pa., and Rogowicz, 17, of Yardley, Pa., both represented the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia during its triumph in the Junior Inter-City Team Matches last week. The event pits WGAP against teams from Massachusetts and New York.
“I think we’re a good team whenever we get to play together. We kind of fed off each other today,” DiLisio, a rising freshman at the University of Notre Dame, said.
Did they ever. The DiLisio and Rogowicz team carded seven birdies and an eagle on the day. Rogowicz converted a 15-footer for a 4 on No. 17 (par 5, 410 yards) to reach the 8 under mark. She will attend Penn State University in the fall.
“One of us would play it safe, and the other one would be more aggressive. It paid off,” Hummer, 13, of Glen Mills, Pa., said.
Hummer, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Episcopal Academy, is the reigning GAP Junior-Junior Boys’ Champion. He and Morganti, 13, of Havertown, Pa., share the same golf coach in John Dunigan. They also share the same goal for the summer.
“Practice and get better,” Morganti, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Saint Pius X School, said.
Merion Golf Club’s Lauren Jones and Kathleen Mark of the host club Junior-Junior Girls’ crown with a score of 48.
Francis X. Hussey, the tournament’s namesake, was a junior member at Rolling Green Golf Club. He suffered from congenital heart disease and died in December 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