|O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. will serve as the GAP's first honorary captain.|
54th Compher Cup set for April 29 at Bayonne Golf Club
The Golf Association of Philadelphia will look to continue its winning ways in the 54th Compher Cup, set for April 29 at Bayonne Golf Club in Bayonne, N.J.
The GAP team defeated the New Jersey State Golf Association team, 9.5-8.5, a year ago at Aronimink Golf Club, winning its fourth title out of the last five Compher Cup competitions. This year, the following players will represent the GAP: Christopher Ault (2nd appearance), Burlington; Peter Barron, III (2nd), Stone Harbor; John Brennan (6th), Philadelphia Cricket; Michael Carr (2nd), Plymouth; Matthew Crescenzo (1st), Philmont; Ben Feld (1st), Green Valley; Matthew Finger (2nd), DuPont; Aaron Fricke (1st), Lancaster; James Kania, Jr. (1st), Overbrook; Scott McNeil (2nd), Bala; John Samaha (1st), Old York Road and Raymond Thompson (2nd), Overbrook.
O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., 78, of Pine Valley Golf Club, will serve as the honorary captain. The newly created non-playing captain role will apply to all future Honorary Teams. The captain’s responsibilities include pairings and the selection of one player to the team roster. Brewer, who was elected into the GAP Hall of Fame in 2011, is the first honorary captain.
“I’ve received so much over the years from the Golf Association of Philadelphia and respect them so much. If it’s not the best, it’s one of the best golf associations in the country and I’ve had exposure to more than a few,” said Brewer, who’s made 17 Compher Cup appearances throughout his illustrious playing career. “It’s a terrific honor to have been selected as the first honorary GAP captain.”
With the inaugural captain’s selection, Brewer selected Thompson, 63, of Drexel Hill, Pa., who will be making his second Compher Cup appearance.
“Ray had a terrific year last year and he has all the credentials. He brings to the team a level of experience due to his many years of playing in competitions and the great success he has had,” said Brewer.
Thompson’s track record in Association tournaments is impressive. Last summer, he reached the semifinals of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship before falling to eventual winner Jeff Osberg, of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 5&4. Thompson also advanced to the Round of 32 in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. He is a former Amateur Champion (1972) and in 2007, recorded one of the greatest senior campaigns in history with victories in every Major 55-and-over event. He won the 2007 Senior Player of Year.
“The fact that he is a senior that still plays at that level makes him an exceptional player and makes him very deserving to be on the team,” said Brewer. “I believe he is going to be a very strong contributor to this team.”
While the honorary captain has plenty of talent on his roster, Brewer will be dealing with some inexperience. Five players on this year’s roster will be making their Compher Cup debut. Matt Crescenzo, the winner of the 2014 Tournament of Champions, is one of the new faces.
“I’m looking forward to playing with all of these guys, even though the only two I really know well are James and Ben,” said Crescenzo, a Temple University alum. “I'm just happy to be playing. To be selected to represent GAP and Philadelphia is a great privilege and honor.”
The 24-year-old Crescenzo is looking forward to having a GAP legend watch over him while he gets his first taste of Compher Cup competition.
“I don’t know him personally, but his name means a great deal to the Golf Association of Philadelphia and to golf as a whole,” said Crescenzo, who resides in Cheltenham, P.a. “It’s just an honor for me to be able to play for Mr. Brewer. I'm sure it will be an amazing experience.”
In the Compher Cup, each association fields a 12-man team. Players simultaneously compete in a singles match and four-ball match. A total of 18 points is available. Matches that end in a tie result in a half point for the team.
The Golf Association of Philadelphia leads the overall series, 35–13–4. The Compher Cup Matches started, but were rained out, in 2005.
Fred Compher, a former NJSGA president, conceived the neighborhood matches after leaving his post in 1959. Compher donated a silver trophy that year earmarked for such a rivalry.
In 1961, association representatives Bob Jacobson of New Jersey and Richard Ollmah of GAP completed the details. In 1962, the first Compher Cup matches took place. That year, the NJSGA side forged a 5–1 lead in the morning foursomes’ competitions and held serve in the afternoon singles matches for an 11.5-6.5 victory.
After New Jersey’s victory, Compher, who was known at the time as the most successful NJSGA president in its history, presented the trophy “to promote golf between the groups.”
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 150 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of 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.