In accepting the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 2012 Super-Senior Play- er of the Year Award, Talamore Country Club’s Michael Rose foreshadowed the Division’s future. “When I turned 65 in March, I knew I had a short window
of opportunity, with my good friends Don Donatoni and David Brookreson turning 65 next year,”
Perhaps Rose should enter the fortune-telling
business. Donatoni validated his good friend’s
hunch by experiencing an unprecedented season.
He became the first player in GAP history to sweep
the Super-Senior schedule, winning the Francis B.
Warner Cup (Gross), Frank H. Chapman Memorial
Cup (Gross), Brewer Cup, Senior Amateur Championship and Super-Senior Silver Cross Award (in
that order). Donatoni’s remarkable year culminated
with the Super-Senior Player of the Year Award.
He totaled a Division record 872.5 points, which
is 510.9 points ahead of the second-place finisher,
Merion Golf Club’s Carl Everett.
“It’s obviously a tremendous feeling of satisfac-
tion to capture all of the Major events, and then to
cap it off with a good showing at the United States
Senior Amateur,” Donatoni, of Malvern, Pa., said.
“It’s been a very special year, one that will be
extremely difficult to repeat. I’m doing my best to
savor every memory and every moment.”
“It wasn’t a difficult prediction to pick Don as a
winner [of the Super-Senior Player of the Year Award],”
Rose said. “I knew Don was coming along this year,
and I knew he would be very tough to beat. When you
win all four tournaments and the Silver Cross, you cer-
tainly have earned the award. He was deserving of the
award by his play and how great a guy he is. Don’s
going to be tough for many years to come.”
In the aforementioned USGA Senior Amateur,
held Sept. 21-26 at Wade Hampton Golf Club in
Cashiers, N.C., Donatoni made the match play cut
by a stroke, thanks to a memorable birdie. On the
par 5, 535-yard 18th hole, he hit a sand wedge from
80 yards to eight feet.
“The pin was tucked in a location where you
had very little room short or long. You had to hit the
perfect shot in order to have a shot at birdie,” Dona-
toni said. “I went right at it [the flagstick]. I had a
four-inch break slider from left-to-right and drilled
it. That was a huge relief and probably my proudest
moment when I was down there. It put the stamp of
validation on my season. Even though I was com-
peting at the Super-Senior level in the GAP, I still
felt that I could compete with and do well even at
the senior level against the younger guys.”
Donatoni was eliminated from the USGA
Senior after a loss in the first round of match play.
The rookie Donatoni did more than compete; he dominated the Association’s Super- Senior circuit. Donatoni felt right at home
in his divisional debut as White Manor hosted the
Warner (Gross). Five days after his 65th birthday,
Donatoni unwrapped a championship trophy with a
3-over-par 74 on a day when the field scoring average sat 10 strokes higher.
“I felt I had a chance, even though that sort of
intuitively puts different types of pressure on you
because people expect you to win,” he said. “The
most difficult thing to do is to win when you’re
expected to. [The trophy] was almost given to me
before I even put a peg in the ground, and that was
on my mind the entire day.”
Pressure and expectations marked themes in
the Chapman (Gross) a month later. Based upon
his score of 2-over-par 73 in regulation, Donatoni
projected a Top 5 finish instead of a title.
“I was ready to drive down the road and head
home,” Donatoni said. “Low and behold, I find out
that I tied for the low round. It was difficult to go from
deflation to ‘My goodness, I could win this thing.’”
And he did. Donatoni bested Moorestown Field
Club’s Jon Mabry in a sudden-death playoff at Riv-
erCrest Golf Club & Preserve by draining a 20-foot-
er for birdie on No. 17 (par 3, 130 yards), the third
The Brewer Cup at Lookaway Golf Club served
as the next stop in Donatoni’s quest for Super-Senior superiority. He shared medalist honors with
four others and defeated Sakima Country Club’s
David Jordan, 2&1, in the final.
“Of all the championships that I won this year,
that one means the most to me because of Mr.
Brewer,” Donatoni said. “He was there to hand me
the trophy. It was a very special win honoring a very
special player and gentleman.”
Three Super-Senior trophies down, two to go.
Donatoni entered the 43rd Senior Amateur Cham-
pionship firmly atop the Super-Senior Silver Cross
standings. He remained in that position after a
3-over-par 73 in the tournament’s opening round –
two shots off the lead. On Day 2, he birdied three of
his first four holes en route to a 2-under-par 68 to
take the Senior Amateur by five strokes.
The Super-Senior Silver Cross Award was a
mere formality. His 288 total resulted in a record
During his decade-long tenure in the GAP
Senior Division, Donatoni earned one individual
title – the 2008 Chapman Cup (Gross). He holds
every piece of Super-Senior hardware from a
remarkable rookie year.
“I think it validates my position in the game and
in the Golf Association of Philadelphia,” Donatoni
said. “Personally, for me, this year became very sat-
isfying. I wanted to come out this year and prove
that I belonged and that those who predicted that I
would do well, that I was able to achieve those stan-
dards they set for me.”
Beyond the GAP Super-Senior ranks, Donatoni
won his ninth straight Senior and 19th Amateur club
championship at White Manor this year. What does
he do for an encore?
“I guess I have to question how much better can
it be,” Donatoni said. “It was an extraordinary season that I think I achieved because I kind of recommitted myself to getting in better shape, improving
my flexibility, increasing my strength and devoting
more time to practice. The only way to come close
next year to what I achieved this year will be a rededication.
“I don’t have any illusions of repeating what I
accomplished this year. There are too many good
players in the section.”
Tony Regina is in his fifth year as the Assistant Director of
Communications for the Golf Association of Philadelphia.
White Manor’s Donatoni sweeps Super-Senior circuit
By Tony Regina
“It’s been a very special
year. I’m doing my best
to savor every memory
and every moment.”