Jersey boys Hanzel, Murphy take 33rd Francis X. Hussey Memorial
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. — A late partnership, a late arrival and a late surge all led to the latest piece of hardware for Matthew Hanzel and Dan Murphy.
The two carded a 5-under-par 66 to win the 33rd Francis X. Hussey Memorial at a comfortable Rolling Green Golf Club (par 71, 6,251 yards) Monday. It is a Junior better-ball-of-partners event.
Hanzel, in need of a new teammate after a last-minute bailout, recruited Murphy at Valleybrook Country Club last night. Murphy, who works at the facility, took the day off to help a friend.
“I saw him and I was like, ‘Do you want to come play with me in a tournament tomorrow at Rolling Green?’ He was like, ‘Sure. Why not?’” Hanzel, 16, of Washington Township, N.J., said. “[Previous playing partner Colton Murray] had another tournament today that his mom signed him up for and he didn’t know about it. And he just told me two days ago, so I asked Dan.”
“It worked out,” Murphy, 18, of Sicklerville, N.J., added.
It did — and it almost didn’t. Hanzel and Murphy arrived at Rolling Green a scant 12 minutes prior to their tee time. They rolled a few practice putts and rushed to the first tee. A flared drive, a topped shot and a bogey started the day.
But Hanzel and Murphy quickly settled with a birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 410 yards), where the latter spun a 50-degree wedge from 120 yards to three feet. A nearly identical yardage on No. 8 (par 4, 372 yards) yielded a 12-footer for birdie courtesy of Hanzel.
The team made the turn a shot back of clubhouse leaders Chris Benvenuto of the Philadelphia Junior Tour and Greg DeLuca of Makefield Highlands Golf Club. Next came the aforementioned late surge.
Hanzel, a Running Deer Golf Club member, left a 4-iron slightly off the demanding No. 10 (par 3, 211 yards) green. Murphy stopped a 5-iron at four feet — a far more favorable birdie distance. Hanzel, however, proceeded to bury his uphill 35-footer. Murphy picked up his ball marker and smiled.
“The goal after No. 10 was to get to 5 under,” Hanzel said.
Sensational wedge play made it happen. Murphy, a recent Timber Creek Regional High School graduate, knocked a wedge 120 yards to two feet for birdie on No. 13 (par 4, 405 yards). Hanzel skied a 50-degree wedge to four feet on No. 16 (par 3, 129 yards). After coming up short of the No. 17 (par 5, 470 yards) green with a 3-iron, Murphy bumped a wedge into tap-in territory. Hanzel capped the birdie crusade by hitting a 50-degree wedge 124 yards to 20 feet below the hole location on No. 18 (par 5, 516 yards). The ensuing uphill birdie putt sat on the lip for a second before beginning its descent into the jar.
“On the back nine, we were putting a lot of wedges close, making putts and hitting a lot of fairways,” Murphy, who will attend Cabrini University in the fall, said.
“Anytime we were inside 120 yards, it was then to three feet, five feet for birdie,” Hanzel, an incoming junior at Washington Township High School, added.
Hanzel and Murphy met through Hanzel’s brother Zach, who worked on the grounds crew at Pine Valley Golf Club alongside Murphy. The two played in the No. 1 spots on their respective high school teams this past season. Hanzel frequently practices at Valleybrook, where Murphy cleans golf carts and picks the driving range.
Good thing he asked about a Hussey partnership. Better late than never.
On No. 1 (par 4, 350 yards), the first playoff hole, Gross, 11, of Downingtown, Pa., drilled a 5-iron 163 yards to 15 feet and logged two putts for the win. He is an incoming seventh grader at Downingtown Middle School. Stone, 13, of Kennett Square, Pa., is an incoming eight grader at Tower Hill School.
Francis X. Hussey, the tournament’s namesake, was a Junior member at Rolling Green. 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