LuLu sweeps GAP team slate in 2021
MOHNTON, Pa. — First came a margin of three points. Then the COVID-19 pandemic.
And although Mother Nature tried, it failed to thwart LuLu Country Club’s quest for a second GAP (Golf Association of Philadelphia) Team Championship title.
The reigning BMW GAP Team Matches Champions posted 24.5 points to defeat LedgeRock Golf Club (21), Philadelphia Cricket Club (17.5) and Huntingdon Valley Country Club (9) in the event’s 101st edition on Thursday at LedgeRock (par 72, 6,911 yards). In doing so, LuLu became the 15th club to capture both the BMW GAP Team Matches and Team Championship in the same year.
LuLu, which also won the Team Championship in 2017, fell to Philadelphia Cricket by three points in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event altogether in 2020. This year’s affair almost never happened, either. Severe weather forced GAP officials to postpone Team Championship Qualifying, and therefore the Championship proper, in June. Qualifying, thanks to a site change, moved to Philmont Country Club.
The Team Championship features eight-man teams playing an alternate shot format in the morning, with singles matches in the afternoon.
LuLu stated its sweep intentions immediately by forging a three-point advantage over Philadelphia Cricket following the foursomes portion. Michael R. Brown, Jr., a two-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year (2010, 2018), teamed with Jack Melville for a three-point foraging. Both represented LuLu during its victory in 2017. Rookies Matthew Crescenzo and John Simone joined Brown and Melville in the three-point collective.
“We’ve known each other for a long time. We play a lot of golf together, so we both know how to get each other motivated and to push each other positively,” Simone, 49, of Dresher, Pa., said. “We know each other’s games so well that when we’re a little off, we know what to say to each other and when to say it.”
In the event’s singles portion, Brown, a three-time GAP Major Champion, again led LuLu. He, along with 2017 BMW Philadelphia Amateur semifinalist P.J. Acierno, earned three points apiece. Overall, LedgeRock bested LuLu by two points in the singles portion, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Thursday marked LuLu’s fifth appearance (2000, 2016) in the Championship proper.
“I’m so happy LuLu asked me to play because there are so many unbelievable players there. It was nice to be able to be a part of it,” Simone said. “We have a lot of really good players and a great camaraderie at the club. We’re all good friends who play a lot of golf together. We really wanted to bring it home for the team.”
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.