I attended the
10th annual Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk
at The ACE Club
in Lafayette Hill, Pa. The fourball match featured host and Delaware Valley native Furyk
teaming with Steve Stricker
to take on Australia's Aaron Baddeley
and South Korea's K. J. Choi
. Baddeley and Choi defeated Furyk and Stricker 3 and 1, taking the $160,000 first prize. Furyk and Stricker split $120,000 for their runner-up finish. The event raised $300,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia
. To see all of my photos from The Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk, click here
Here is a recap of the match from The Sports Network:Choi and Baddeley capture Exelon
Lafayette Hill, PA (Sports Network) - K.J. Choi and Aaron Baddeley won the Exelon Invitational on Monday, 3 & 1 over Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker.
The event, hosted by Furyk and held at the ACE Club in suburban Philadelphia, is a Ryder Cup-style fourball tournament.
Choi and Baddeley claimed $80,000 apiece for the victory and Furyk and Stricker earned $60,000 each in defeat, but the tournament's real beneficiaries were the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, which received a $300,000 donation.
The players kept the mood serious early while they squared each of the first five holes.
Choi and Baddeley finally moved 1-up when they both made birdie at the sixth hole. Choi then rolled in a nine-foot birdie putt at the seventh to make it a 2-up lead.
Furyk knocked his tee shot at the par-three eighth to about seven feet, but missed the birdie putt with a chance to halve the deficit. The world No. 8 struggled with his putting all day, even getting tips from his partner Stricker.
"My game is mediocre right now," Furyk said.
Baddeley and Choi played better from the outset, consistently outdriving their opponents on the longer holes. Stricker reached down and grabbed Choi's thigh on the No. 9 fairway, surprised by the diminutive South Korean's strength.
At the 10th, Choi knocked a sand wedge to nine feet and made the birdie putt for a 3-up lead.
"If we can win one more," Baddeley said, "I think we'll be good. But we need one more. These guys are good."
Furyk and Stricker finally picked up their first win at the 12th hole, where Stricker drained a six-foot birdie putt to trim their deficit to 2-down. But they needed to make up ground quickly.
"Jim called it on the tee," said Stricker. "We need to birdie the next three holes."
They got another birdie at the 13th when Furyk knocked his approach in tight, but Choi spoiled things by rolling in a 30-foot putt for birdie to keep his team 2-up.
At the 17th, the mood lighter, all four players agreed to hit driver despite a large bunker next to the fairway that was right in the landing zone. Furyk put his tee shot in the fairway, but Stricker sent his into the bunker.
Baddeley then stepped to the tee with a three-wood.
"No, no," Stricker laughed. "I was hitting driver because you were going to hit driver."
Stricker motioned to Baddeley's caddie, who handed the Australian his driver. But the joke was on Stricker: both Baddeley and Choi smashed their drives up the fairway, and Choi sealed the win when he knocked his approach inside two feet for a conceded birdie.
They played the 18th hole anyway for an additional $25,000 for charity, and all four players hit their drives at the same time. Furyk sent his into the gallery, sending spectators scrambling.
They dropped four balls onto the ground at the top of the fairway and hit wedges onto the green at the same time, all four balls landing within 12 feet of the hole.
Baddeley's was closest, tucked in about four feet away. Which is about how the whole day went for his side.
"It's one of those days when losing doesn't bother me," Furyk said.
It is truly amazing to watch the PGA Tour professionals play in person. Television does not do justice to how incredibly long they hit the ball. What is even more amazing is the way they are able to miss a fairway or green, yet still make par the majority of the time.
Their smooth putting strokes and the way they are able to read the subtle breaks and undulations in the greens.
The ACE Club is a beautiful Gary Player-designed course, built over the rolling, hilly landscape of northwestern Philadelphia and southwestern Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. From the tips, it plays at 7,471 yards, with a rating of 76.1 and a slope of 146. It also features a 610-yard Par 5, which is the 3rd Hole. From the white tees, the course is 6702 yards, with a rating/slope of 72.7/137.
Photos by The Muni Golfer