BMW GTM: Battle in Berks County looms in Week Two
Berks County brethren Heidelberg Country Club 1 and Reading Country Club 1 will square off for bragging rights — sort of — in Week Two of the BMW GAP Team Matches.
| BMW GTM: Week One results | Schedule |
Both teams, which occupy Section 8 in Division B, opened their respective 2016 campaigns with victories. Heidelberg trumped Lehigh Country Club 1, 40.5–13.5, while Reading nipped Brookside Country Club of Allentown, 28.5–25.5, in Week One.
A drive down highways 183 and 422 separates Heidelberg and Reading. Course and competitor familiarity is a given.
“We’re very familiar with their team and their golf course,” Mike Bowers, Heidelberg’s team captain, said. “I think we have a bit an advantage golf course wise in that Heidelberg is more demanding than Reading from a length standpoint. The green complexes at Heidelberg are very tricky. A lot of our guys look forward to going away because a lot of us have grown up playing in local events at Reading. It makes it fun when you know four or five of the guys on the other side. It makes for a good rivalry.”
“We’re in close proximity so we definitely know some of their players, especially the really good players. It’s a real challenge,” Greg Galtere, a member of Reading’s first team, added. “Certainly there is going to be a pride element because we’re from Berks County.”
Heidelberg added a pair of accomplished players in Rodney James and Nathan Sutherland. James, a frequent Golf Association of Philadelphia competitor, is a former Berks County Golf Association Amateur Champion. After a brief stint as a professional, Sutherland, the 2007 Joseph H. Patterson Cup runner-up, regained his amateur status a year ago.
In the squad’s Week 1 victory, James and Sutherland combined for 5.5 singles points.
“They’ve made a big difference in our line-up. It’s given us a lot more flexibility,” Bowers said. “A bunch of us who play have known both of those guys for years, so it’s been a really easy transition. It’s easy to fold them in when we go out and play on our own. They’re part of the crew already.”
With Reading on tap for Week Two, line-up flexibility is an assured asset for the Heidelberg group.
“We’re going to send a few guys who aren’t quite as long off the tee. Reading is not a long golf course, but it is a place where you have to keep it in play,” Bowers, 38, of Bernville, Pa., said. “We’ll try to keep some of our longer hitters at home and send some more of the consistent and conservative guys to Reading.”
“It’s very nice we get to travel to courses most of us have not played before, but sometimes it’s fun to have a match in your backyard. Heidelberg is a good layout,” Guy McKeone, a member of the Reading team, added. “On paper, I think they look better than us, but that’s why you play the game.”
Reading looks forward to facing fellow county folk as it smiles on the BMW GAP Team Matches ride.
“Our expectations are to have fun,” Galtere, 53, of Reading, Pa., said. “We enjoy playing [in the BMW GAP Team Matches]. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people in a friendly, competitive setting.”
Fun also describes the competition within Heidelberg's ranks.
“We have three or four guys that are plus handicaps. None of us like to lose to the other,” Bowers said. “We have a lot of fun ribbing each other. The line-up is fun now. I feel like we can mix-and-match a little bit. We didn’t have depth in the past, and this has been a real nice addition. The guys are excited.”
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.