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.

The Traveling Golfer

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

10 Jun
2019

Thompson claims LPGA ShopRite

Written by Bob Oliver

It wasn't as if Lexi Thompson had never faced the shot before. Had never felt the pressure of needing a birdie to tie the lead on the final hole of an LPGA event. Had never felt the eyes of thousands of fans looking on.

Playing the par-5, 500-yard 18th hole of the Bay Course at the Dolce Seaview Resort, Thompson belted a wind aided drive that traveled in the 300-yard range but skipped through the fairway and first cut of rough into the second higher cut. She faced a 190-yard shot out of that rough, but knew she had the club to get to the green if struck to perfection. 

"The ball had been running up (to the green) well all week, so I figured I could hit my pitching wedge, get a little flier and bounces, and with the wind get to the green," said the LPGA star, who made her pro debut at Seaview at age 15. "Everything had to work, but I had the confidence to hit the shot."

Thompson took a mighty swing, and the ball flew high into the air, as as planned, hit well short of the green but bounced several times before settling about 20 feet from the hole. 

Striding to the green she knew her 10-under-par would not win anything. She knew a two-putt birdie would be good, but an eagle would be much better as the US Women's Open winner, Jeongeun Lee6, was two holes back and at 10-under. 

After surveying the putt from several angles, she carefully struck the ball and watched as it meandered across the green before dropping into the cup for an eagle. That boosted her to 12-under-par and gave her the outright lead as Lee6 was putting out on the 16h hole. 

Thompson signed her scorecard and strode to the practice putting green, expecting a playoff. 

Lee6 parred 16 and 17 and needed an eagle of her own to tie Thompson, but it wasn't to be. She birdied the 18th and finished runner-up.

Thompson won, and has claimed an LPGA tournament win for the seventh straight season. Her closing 67 and 54-hole total of 201 was superb given the elements. 

"This is a relatively short course, but it's oh so difficult," explained Thompson. "Tantalizing greens, and with the wind (gusting to 25 miles-per-hour) there are more than enough difficulties. I knew the course would play difficult, and you saw me stumble a couple times."

Lee6 stumbled as well at times, finishing at 11-under-par 202.

CHIP SHOTS: It was Thompson's 11th LPGA Tour victory...Two-time champion Anna Nordquvist finshed at 7-under-par...Thompson had missed four cuts in six prior visits to Seaview. 

02 Jun
2019

Lee claims Valley Forge Invitational

Written by Bob Oliver
 
It took a sudden death playoff, but Min Lee outlasted Esther Lee to claim the Symetra Tour's Valley Forge Invitational at Raven's Claw in Pottstown. 
Min Lee won with a par on the first hole of the playoff. 
The winner carded rounds of 64-68-66 for a 15-under-par 54 hole total in claiming her second Symetra Tour championship. The Symetra Tour is the LPGA's top development tour. 

It was a bittersweet week for Langhorne native Brittany Benvenuto. The Neshaminy graduate, who had part-time LPGA status last year, is attempting to work her way back to the big tour with a top-10 finish in the LPGA Race for the Card, a season long competition on the Symetra Tour. She currently stands 19th on the list. 

 

Benvenuto carded rounds of 69-70-74 to total 214 and made her ninth consecutive Symetra Tour cut, But, she's only had one top-10 finish and will need a couple more to get that needed top-10 on the Race money list. 

 

 

20 May
2019

McCullough's a shore must play

Written by Bob Oliver

 

Bucks County has a wealth of fine golf challenges, but every once in a while we take to the road to sample other venues. 

Last month was one of those months. A time when circumstances meant being on the road, and that means playing other golf courses.

It had been years since sampling McCullough's Emerald Links in Egg Harbor, N.J.  Maybe as long as 10 years. It won't be that long to visit again. 

The Stephen Kay design has matured into a fine municipal course, one that has the feel of, well, the Emerald Isle. While not a replica course, many of the holes are pattered after great courses of Ireland, England and Scotland. 

Built on a landfill, McCullough's is a fun, challenging layout. Tees range from nearly 6,600 yards from the tips down to 5,244 from the sporty senior tees. The women's tees are at 4,462. Yet the undulating greens, fescue lined fairways, and strategis Kay style bunkering present a challenge from all tee boxes and for all levels of player.

A favorite is the 17th hole, pattered after number 11 at the Waterville Golf Links in Ireland, brought back memories of a trip over the pond. A short par five, it requires thought and positioning to ensure one evades mounds and bunkers. 

One of the challenges of the course - which other than two holes is basically treeless, is the dastardly winds which blanket the layout. Those winds can, on a "calm" day, still require a one club change in expected distance. Beware!

McCullough's Emerald Links is a true fun, challenging test, and worth the drive.

It's a must play course when you are down the shore...

 

18 May
2019

Benvenuto posts best Symetra finish

Written by Bob Oliver

 

The road back to the LPGA Tour is anything but easy, but Bucks County's Brittany Benvenuto is doing her best to return to the place she feels she belongs. 

She took a large step at the Symetra Classic in Davidson, N.C., where she finished second and earned the largest check of her professional career --- $14,501. 

The Neshaminy graduate, who played the LPGA Tour in 2018 but failed to retain playing privileges, opened the Classic with a 75, then turned on the afterjets. Her second round 70 was strong, but her final round of 66 propelled her up the leaderboard with a 5-under-par 211 total to finish second to Leona Maguire. 

"This (runner-up finish and 6-under final round) gives me a boost of confidence. I did not play well in the first round, then went to the range and found out some things. (Today) was awesome, so much fun," said the southpaw swinging Benvenuto. 

Benvenuto currently stands 14th on the Symetra Tour money list. She has made the cut in all seven Symetra events entered this year. 

CHIP SHOTS: THe top-10 players on the Volvik Race for the Card standings from the Symetra Tour earn LPGA playing privileges for 2020...