Huntingdon Valley’s Gregors grab Father & Son (Younger) title
EXTON, Pa. — Perennial participants Douglas and Wade Gregor finally struck gold in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Father & Son (Younger). The Phoenixville, Pa. residents carded a 1-over-par 73 to take the tournament’s 60th edition at a pleasant Whitford Country Club (par 72, 6,240 yards) Thursday.
“Spending four hours with him on a golf course, nothing could be better,” Douglas, 47, said. “It’s great to see his maturity. We started playing in this years ago. It’s nice that our scores have gotten better. We have adult conversations in the cart now. It’s a fun four hours.”
“It’s a nice time being out with my dad. Being able to play with my cousin and uncle (Frankie and Frank Gregor) is always fun,” Wade, 16, added.
The event’s format is selective drive/alternate shot. Given their experience, the Gregor team knew a key to success: establish a strategy early, execute and execute frequently. Wade’s knack for fairways and fiery putter gave the Huntingdon Valley Country Club members a victorious game plan.
“I was just trying to let him hit as many approach shots as he could,” Wade, a soon-to-be junior at La Salle College High School, said.
“And I got a few of those within that 10-foot range. We turned those into birdies,” Douglas, an attorney, added.
On No. 3 (par 4, 400 yards), Douglas, who serves as president of the Pennsylvania Golf Association, knocked a wedge 120 yards to 10 feet. Wade clean up the birdie putt. He also made a 10-footer on the par 3, 116-yard No. 5 after another well-struck wedge by dad. The Gregor team also used Wade’s tee position to perfection on No. 10 (par 4, 336 yards). With a favorable lie and angle to the flagstick, Douglas smacked a sand wedge 80 yards to 10 feet for another red figure.
Conversely, a pair of heavy wedges courtesy of Wade resulted in bogeys on Nos. 7 (par 4, 360 yards) and 18 (par 4, 364 yards). The Gregor team also stumbled a bit on the par 3, 163-yard 17th hole, where a three-putt from 40 feet made for another bogey. The downhill, dogleg right No. 9 (par 5, 480 yards) shows a 6 on the scorecard, but it also offers a glimpse into the Gregor’s go-getter mindset — one that afforded hardware in the end.
“I hit a good drive. Wade wanted to go for the green in two so we let him,” Douglas said. “He hit a good shot. It just one-bounced into the pond. We didn’t want to play conservative. He wanted to go for it, and dad let him go for it.”
As mentioned, Wade, who caddies at Huntingdon Valley, felt in control on Whitford’s undulating complexes.
“The putter was clicking today,” he said. “It’s kind of been off-and-on so far this summer. Somedays I feel good with it. Others not so much. Today I felt good.”
“He’s hitting the ball much farther and straighter. His putting is better,” Douglas added. “He’s really improved a lot. His game has gotten a lot better this summer, which is nice to see.”
Golf continues to strengthen the Gregors’ bond. Television shows such as “Family Guy” and “American Dad” contribute to the closeness these days, too.
“He’s gotten me into watching cartoons now. We spend quality time that way,” Douglas said with a smile.
The event’s Junior-Junior Division (par 72, 5,809 yards) crowned co-champions. Whitford’s own Owen and Keller Mulhern and Wilmington Country Club’s Jeffrey and Anthony Ciconte carded respective even-par 72s to share the top spot.
The Mulhern team, hailing from Exton, Pa., fired four birdies and an eagle on the day, but it’s a moment on the par 5, 503-yard 16th hole that will resonate.
“We’re going to remember No. 16 for the rest of our lives. That one’s going to leave a mark,” Owen, 40, a financial advisor, said. “We were lying two in a [left] fairway bunker, maybe 60 yards short of the green. I bladed a wedge that unfortunately hit the cart path and went out-of-bounds. That forced the 13-year-old to hit the exact same shot.”
“Which he stuffed to six feet,” Keller, 13, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Lionville Middle School, interjected.
Bogeys in between spoiled — score-wise — an otherwise spectacular round. The Mulhern team, playing in the day’s first group, posted back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 (par 5, 467 yards) and 5 (par 3, 106 yards). On the first, Owen threw a sand wedge from 65 yards to 10 feet. Keller cleaned up the birdie putt. His crisp wedge gave dad a 12-footer on the next hole. A flip-wedge by Keller on No. 7 (par 4, 33 yards) provided an eight-foot birdie opportunity, which Owen poured in the heart. Keller boomed a 5-iron from 165 yards to three feet for eagle on the par 5, 444-yard 12th hole. Owen returned the favor with a pitching wedge to seven feet on the next hole (par 3, 132 yards). Keller drained the downhiller.
“With Keller now being 13, playing as much as he’s playing, we felt like this was our chance to get in the mix. We’ve been chomping at the bit for today,” Owen said. “It was a good day. We’ll get some chicken wings. It will make up for the two doubles.”
Like the Mulhern team, Jeffrey Ciconte also competed in the morning, but alongside 10-year-old son Joe.
“I was very fortunate to play with both of my sons. Joe and I had a great morning. It helped in terms of getting a sense of the green speeds. Obviously seeing the pin placements was an advantage,” Jeffrey, 40, who works in the banking industry, said. “Anthony and I played really well this afternoon. He was rock solid.”
“We had three birdies. He led me to them,” Anthony, 13, a soon-to-be eighth grader at The Tatnall School, said. “It was fun.”
On No. 5, Jeffrey stopped a wedge at four feet for a team birdie. He knocked a sand wedge 90 yards to 15 feet on No. 9 (par 5, 468 yards). Jeffrey’s drive on No. 10 (par 4, 332 yards) left Anthony with a 20-yard bum-and-run shot, which he put to 10 feet. His dad cleaned up the birdie putt.
The Wilmington, Del. residents traverse the course together on a regular basis during the summers. What does Anthony enjoy most about teeing it up with dad?
“He hits good shots,” Anthony said.
Golf Association of Philadelphia