Big drama this year at the East Falls Open as Pat McCusker took the title in a sudden death playoff.
Pat McCusker won the 97th East Falls Open Golf Championship in dramatic fashion, pulling even with 13-time champion Chris Kallmeyer on the final hole before edging him out on the first hole of the sudden death playoff at Sandy Run Country Club on September 12th.
Kallmeyer was even par with one-stroke lead going into the final hole, but three-putted for bogey, opening the door for McCusker to force a playoff.
The victory marks the 2nd consecutive win for McCusker in the event. Kallmeyer was gracious in defeat, focusing on McCusker’s fine play and the “gem of a tournament” that is affectionately known as the East Falls Open. “It’s such an amazing event and we want to keep it growing as we approach our 100th anniversary. If we can attract new East Falls residents and the next generation of Falls golfers, we’ll be able keep this great tradition alive and well for many years to come.”
Joe Boyle, a 7-time champion himself, loves the way the Open is structured into five flights – allowing players of similar skill levels to compete against each other. But the most important thing for him is the camaraderie of the event. “For a lot of guys, it’s a rare chance to get back together with guys from the neighborhood. Guys they grew up with but haven’t seen in a while. Some of them come from a long way away, like New Jersey and Delaware.”
Standing on the 9th hole fairway with the sun setting behind green hills, Boyle sipped a beer thoughtfully. “There used to be a ton of East Falls tournaments, but there are still a few left with lots of history that are still going strong. There’s the Frank Lally Open, which has been going 21 years, and the Holy Hell Open — which is in memory of my dad, is in its 23rd year — but none have been around as long as the East Falls Open.”
Boyle and Kallmeyer, who’ve been primary forces in organizing the event, are looking forward to the 100th anniversary of the country’s oldest neighborhood golf tournament. “We hope to get it back to the place it all began for our 100th year – the Philadelphia Country Club,” said Kallmeyer.
Congratulations East Falls Open champions!
A flight – Pat McCusker
B flight – Bill Murphy Jr.
C flight – Steve Brogan
D flight – Ken Sowisdral Jr.
E Flight – Bill Samkavitz