May 29, 2018

Little Mill Country Club’s Zach Arsenault prepares to play No. 16 (par 3, 160 yards).

Arsenault’s 64 launches Little Mill in Team Championship Qualifier

  WALLINGFORD, Pa. — Little Mill Country Club continues to shine bright in the Golf Association of Philadelphia spotlight.

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  Five days removed from one of its members, Michael Hyland, winning the organization’s Middle-Amateur Championship, the club, sans Hyland, topped the Team Championship Qualifier Tuesday at The Springhaven Club (par 70, 6,492 yards). Little Mill, led by a 6-under-par 64 courtesy of Zach Arsenault, filed a 4-over-par 284 total top the 17-team field.

  Overbrook Golf Club, Philadelphia Cricket Club, the two-time reigning BMW GAP Team Matches champions, and Running Deer Golf Club also punched their tickets Tuesday. The 99th Team Championship will take place June 28 at Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club.

  Little Mill, which captured its only Team Championship in 2016, finished third a year ago Galloway National Golf Club. This marks its fifth appearance (2005, 2011) overall.

  “I wanted to represent my teammates at Little Mill. We want redemption,” Arsenault, 24, of Medford, N.J., said. “Personally, I wanted to prove something to myself. I wanted to prove that I could go low.”

  Belief proven — and then some. Arsenault’s 64 marked his competitive career-low. He came a stroke shy of matching the competitive course record, set by none other than Hyland in 2014.

  “My game’s been streaky. Putting’s been my weakness, but today it was my strength,” a stoic Arsenault said.

  Was it ever.

  Arsenault, as focused as LeBron James in a Game 7, totaled 26 putts on the day. Starting on the back nine, he atoned for an early flatstick jitter (a three-putt bogey on No. 11) by rattling off three straight birdies. He hit a 56-degree wedge 100 yards to three feet on No. 12 (par 5, 516 yards), a 6-iron to two feet on No. 13 (par 3, 188 yards) and a pitching wedge 137 yards to three feet on No. 14 (par 4, 341 yards).

  Arsenault’s red-figure reign didn’t end there. He buried a 15-foot slider from above the No. 2 (par 5, 547 yards) hole location. Arsenault, a bespectacled basher, drilled a 6-iron to seven feet on No. 6 (par 3, 180 yards). The putter’s best act occurred on No. 7 (par 4, 448 yards), where Arsenault drained a 35-footer from off the front of the green. He capped a banner day by cutting a 7-iron to eight feet on No. 9 (par 3, 170 yards).

  To resolve putting woes prior to Springhaven, Arsenault, like a boy who lost his puppy, stormed into Little Mill’s pro shop over the weekend searching for answers. Head professional George Frake and assistant Nick Dentino accommodated accordingly.

  “I said, ‘Can you fix [my putting] for me?' They fulfilled my request,” Arsenault, a real estate investor who specializes in flipping houses, said. “I felt twice as confident over the putter today.”

  Arsenault shared individual medalist honors with DuPont Country Club’s Matthew Finger, whose 64 included a personal-best 29 coming in.

  “I’m very excited. I’ve been playing very well lately,” Finger, 40, of Wilmington, Del., said. “I had never broken 30, so shooting 29 on the back nine is pretty special. It’s cool, especially playing in a GAP tournament that’s set up difficult.”

  Fresh off a Top 5 finish in the Middle-Amateur, Finger consulted with a new friend — a Ping i25 3-wood christened at Llanerch Country Club — to start the subpar steamroller. He powered it 261 yards to 20 feet for eagle on No. 2 (par 5, 547 yards). Finger, who played in the group behind Arsenault, birdied the next three holes and moved to 5 under in a flash. On No. 3 (par 3, 155 yards), he knocked a 7-iron to six feet. That entrusted 3-wood facilitated conversions on Nos. 4 (par 4, 423 yards) and 5 (par 4, 394 yards): a 9-iron 145 yards to eight feet on the first, a 7-iron 151 yards to 10 feet on the latter. Finger secured a personal-best with a picturesque birdie on No. 9 (par 3, 170 yards). He poured in a 10-footer following a smooth 6-iron.

  “That’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life — this tournament, this nine,” Finger said. “I wanted to play well, and I play this course well. I was hoping to shoot around par. I hit my stride toward the end.”

  Rest assured Finger won’t relinquish that beloved 3-wood — stock shaft and all — anytime soon.

  “I’m going to buy another one today because 3-woods are hard to come by. You find a good 3-wood, you stick with it,” Finger said. “I’ve been in the wilderness for about five years with 3-woods. I found one now, and my game is going to take off from there. Hopefully, the sky’s the limit.”

  Overbrook holds 14 (1949-50, 1981, 1984, 1987-88, 1996-99, 2005, 2010-12) Team Championship trophies. Philadelphia Cricket won titles in 2015 and 2013. It’s appeared in the Championship proper on nine occasions overall. Running Deer, which advanced to Division AA in the BMW GAP Team Matches, will make its debut.

  “We’re beyond happy,” Chris Meares, 39, of Turnersville, N.J., said. “When we beat Merion (Golf Club) to get into Division AA, we all went back to the club and had a huge party. We all went out and played more golf. It was a blast. We couldn’t be more excited.

  “The competition at the club on weekends has been insane. It’s made everybody better.”

  The Team Championship Qualifier determines which four Member Clubs will compete in the Team Championship. Participants must field at least six players to be eligible. The low four scores of each team make up the qualifying total. In the event of a tie, the fifth player’s score is used.

  The Championship proper features eight-man teams playing an alternate shot format in the morning, with singles matches in the afternoon.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers

Team

Total

Little Mill Country Club

284

Zach Arsenault

64

Blaine Lafferty

71

Vincent Kwon

73

Thomas Hyland

76

Matthew Gaffney

77

Jack Sterbenz

78

Overbrook Golf Club

286

Raymond Thompson

69

Oscar Mestre

71

Michael Rogers

73

James Kania, Jr.

73

Matthew Walsh

80

Christopher Lange

80

Philadelphia Cricket Club

287

John Brennan

69

Conrad Von Borsig

70

Ryan Gelrod

74

Scott Storck

74

Frank Petrash, IV

74

Daniel Feeney

77

Running Deer Golf Club

290

Stephen Barry

68

Chris Meares

72

Dave Marshall

72

John Burke

78

Jeff Harris

79

Frank Kohute

83

Failed to qualify

Lu Lu Country Club

293

Michael R. Brown, Jr.

71

Connor McNicholas

73

Scott McLaughlin

74

James Sullivan, Jr.

75

Glenn Smeraglio

75

P.J. Acierno

WD

Commonwealth National Golf Club

294

Brian Fischer

72

David Kim

74

Ron Robinson

74

Mike Valentine

74

Brett Diakon

74

T.J. Summers

77

DuPont Country Club

295

Matthew Finger

64

Mark Wachter

74

Chase Miller

78

Scott Cahayla

79

Alan Lazzarino

81

Joseph Dulka

81

Blue Bell Country Club

297

Kyle Vance

68

Dawson Anders

74

Buddy Hansen, IV

77

Anthony Barr

78

Jules Quinones

83

Daniel Wu

NS

Merchantville Country Club

297

Connor Goodrich

70

Matt Osorio

74

Paul Tighe

75

Ryan Cass

78

David Swiderski

80

Brian Herman

82

Old York Road Country Club

299

John Samaha

72

Edward Kelly, Jr.

75

Paul Carbone, Jr.

75

Ryan Beck

77

Dan Clark

78

Brendan Clearkin, Jr.

85

Tavistock Country Club

303

Adam Warner

73

Jamie Slonis

74

Matt Raudenbush

76

Johan van Schalkwyk

80

Jacob Klaus

81

Daniel Rexon

81

Bala Golf Club

305

Scott McNeil

71

Jack Glacken

77

Rob Wilson

77

Jeff Nocella

80

Brian Kreamer

83

Andrew Kelly

85

The Springhaven Club

305

Nick Calabrese

72

Michael Hodges

72

James Murray

80

Andrew Caldwell

81

Rich Thon

81

Michael Rosci

82

Mercer Oaks Golf Course

308

Andrew Ward

74

Brian Keane

77

Mark Cubberley

77

Brian Tripp

80

Ryan Luke

84

Jeffrey Mcmahon

87

Talamore Country Club

309

Patrick Sheehan

74

Michael Fireman

77

Mike Sydnes

79

Matt Kircher

79

Joseph Markmann

81

Kyle Ginty

81

Whitford Country Club

327

Peter Moran

78

Charles Meadows

82

Ryan Pace

83

Matt Dietrich

84

Kevin Conners, Jr.

NS

Matt Weist

NS

Bluestone Country Club

334

Al Seiberlich

78

Michael Logue

82

William Cannan

85

Andrew Ring

89

Noam Roizman

90

Jeff Stanford

WD

*low four scores count toward team total*

NS — no show; WD — withdrawal

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