Weather wrinkles Week One of BMW GAP Team Matches
Saturday’s snowfall sparked a snafu for the start of the BMW GAP Team Matches. Flakes accumulated throughout parts of the Delaware Valley, rendering a handful of courses unplayable the following day.
| Week One results | BMW GAP Team Matches schedule |
Given Mother Nature’s unfavorable April attack, results remain incomplete in a few Divisions. Per the BMW GAP Team Matches Rules and Regulations, teams must complete their Week One contests on Saturday, April 16 or on an earlier, mutually agreeable date.
Teams in Sections I and II of Division AA did open their respective BMW GAP Team Matches campaigns. Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 (1–0), the event’s defending champion, posted a resounding 45–9 victory over Makefield Highlands Golf Club (0–1). It accrued 24.5 of those points on the road.
“Anytime you get a win, it feels good,” captain Rob Savarese, Jr. said. “It’s important, especially in a three-week tournament. You really can’t afford to lose when you’re in the AA level.”
Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 now sets its snow-clear sights on another Division AA newcomer in Wyoming Valley Country Club (0–1). A degree of unfamiliarity exists, although there is an A.W. Tillinghast connection between the two.
“It’s going to be a tough match, no doubt about that,” Savarese, 49, of Lafayette Hill, Pa., said. “It’s their first year in the AA level, so I think they’re going to put their best foot forward. To a certain extent, I think we’re playing against 13 guys and not just 12.”
The 13th player is Matt Kachurak, a Wyoming Valley team member who died tragically last year at age 23. The club is keeping Kachurak’s spirit at heart this year.
Wyoming Valley fell to Scranton-area mate Glenmaura National Golf Club (1–0) in Week One. The majority of players from both teams knew one another, but that made line-up assignments more difficult, according to Glenmaura National captain Matthew Dougherty. An away pairing eased his anxiety; James Gardas and Stephen Hudacek, III, the 2011 BMW Philadelphia Amateur runner-up, swept the singles and better-ball portions of their match at Wyoming Valley.
“Steven saw Wyoming Valley on the schedule and his eyes lit up. He grew up on the course,” Dougherty, 37, of Clarks Summit, Pa., said. “It’s almost like having a member of Wyoming Valley on your team. And Jimmy has a great wedge and short game. He has such an advantage [at courses like] Wyoming Valley, which puts a lot of importance on hitting wedges with its difficult small greens. Those guys really delivered.”
Dougherty and Chris Cerminaro, both out-of-town in Week One, will return to Glenmaura National’s line-up when it faces Makefield Highlands in Week Two. Team member Nick Paone is recovering from a back injury and may be available as well.
“We were tight on options this week. We’ll get that luxury back this week,” Dougherty said. “Our full focus is on Makefield and trying to get another victory.”
Like Glenmaura National, Llanerch Country Club (1–0) persevered in Week One over Lancaster Country Club (0–1), minus key players in Sean Coyle and Brandon Murdock. Second team members J.J. Berenato and Brad MacDonald filled in admirably, combining for five singles points at home.
“It’s a nice way to start the year,” Tom Spano, Llanerch’s team captain, said. “Obviously, two days leading up, we weren’t sure if we were even going to play. It was nice to get everyone coordinated. Both pros and superintendents did a great job of getting us out yesterday.”
Following the triumph, a few team members met in the men’s grill room at Llanerch and reviewed BMW GAP Team Matches results. LedgeRock Golf Club’s 38.5–15.5 win over two-time titleholder Commonwealth National Golf Club (0–1) caught the group’s attention. Llanerch and LedgeRock meet in Week Two for Section II supremacy.
“Obviously they have a very deep team. It should be a great match,” Spano, 33, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said.
“It’s no secret they’re the team to beat,” Christopher Storck, LedgeRock’s team captain, added. “I think they’ll admit it. We definitely admit that. If we can beat them, it will be a monumental week for us.”
Week One proved to be monumental for LedgeRock, a Division AA rookie. Three players new to the BMW GAP Team Matches — Vince Burke, James Hughes and his son J.D. — contributed a collective 6.5 singles points to the team’s effort. Storck and his partner Nate Menon both birdied No. 18 at Commonwealth National to grab points.
“When it was all said and done, to come out with 38.5 points far exceeded our expectations. To be leading our Section on the points side of things is more than we expected,” Storck, 49, of Sinking Spring, Pa., said. “The conditions at LedgeRock, from what I understand, were excellent. The fairways were a little wet and mushy. The ball wasn’t rolling out, but the greens were rolling around 12 to 12.5 [on the stimpmeter] and (Superintendent) Alan Fitzgerald) did a great job getting the course prepared for play. We left LedgeRock at about 9:15 yesterday morning and when the car pulled into Commonwealth, there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground. They removed some of it, and the sun melted some of it. The course was ready to go.”
LedgeRock holds a slim four-point lead over Llanerch entering a pivotal Week 2 encounter.
“My tone to the players is work as much as you can this week, try to shoot a shot or two better than you normally do and let the chips fall where they may,” Storck said.
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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.