Lu Lu Country Club snared the salvation it sought in the 98th Golf Association of Philadelphia Team Championship Thursday at a gusty Galloway National Golf Club.
A year removed from a narrow defeat at nearby Hidden Creek Golf Club, Lu Lu (24 points) triumphed over Philadelphia Cricket Club (23.5), Little Mill Country Club (12.5) and Commonwealth National Golf Club (12). The club’s only prior appearance in the event came in 2000, when it lost to Huntingdon Valley Country Club by 12 points.
“It was a little bit of redemption from last year when we lost by half a point to Little Mill. To win by a half point this year is gratifying,” Scott McLaughlin, a Lu Lu team member, said. “That was probably the hardest golf course I’ve played in a very long time. It was in great shape and a lot of fun obviously. But it was really tough finding the fairway with 25 miles per hour crosswinds. We eked it out.”
Following the foursomes portion in the morning, Lu Lu trailed Philadelphia Cricket by a point. Strong performances across the board in the singles segment gave the group a victorious edge. Michael R. Brown, Jr. and Glenn Smeraglio earned three points apiece. Smeraglio, alongside Nick Madden, finished the morning with a sweep.
“I putted like it was 25 years ago. It helps when you’re making the key putts to win holes,” Smeraglio, 57, of Newtown, Pa., said. “It’s nice to see the ball go in the hole for a change. I’m happy with the performance.”
Don’t expect Lu Lu to rest on the laurels of Thursday’s victory. It will compete in Division AA of the BMW GAP Team Matches in 2018. A Team Championship title defense is a definite.
McLaughlin credits Jon Rusk, Lu Lu Country Club’s head professional, for his concentrated effort in bringing Lu Lu back into relevance on all fronts.
“I can’t say enough about Jon Rusk. He’s really the glue that’s keeping everybody together,” McLaughlin, 37, of Hatboro, Pa., said. “He’s trying to get Lu Lu back to where it was in the early 1990s, back to prominence so to speak. We have a good mix of young, mid-amateurs and Senior guys. It’s a good group.”
The Team Championship 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 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.