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118th GAP Open: Round Two

Brennan, Cricket’s own, secures 118th #GAPOpen

FLOURTOWN, Pa.–Two years ago, at age 41, John Brennan’s golf game experienced great heartbreak and uncertainly after falling in 42 holes for the Philadelphia Cricket Club Men’s Championship. Father time, he felt, may have finally caught him.

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Wednesday, at the same Wissahickon Course where he thought it ended, those hallowed grounds gave it back with the biggest victory of Brennan’s amateur career. The 43-year-old Spring-Ford Area High School economics teacher outlasted the area’s most talented field to secure the 118th Open Championship at Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon, par 70, 7,069 yards).

He is the first amateur from Cricket to hoist the Johnny J. McDermott Trophy and only the second in the club’s history, joining professional Donald Ball (1906).

Brennan birdied No. 18 (par 4, 482 yards) to finish 1-under for the 36 holes, the only player to break par for the tournament. He closed with a workmanlike second round of 3-under 67.

Four players finished tied for second at 1 over, including first-round leader Braden Shattuck of Rolling Green Golf Club. Shattuck, the club’s director of instructions, and Robert Fenton, an assistant professional at Sunnybrook Golf Club, tied for low professional honors. They earned $6,125 each. Amateurs Rij Patel of the Country Club of York and Marty McGuckin of Philadelphia Cricket Club rounded out the second-place quartet. Ironically, it was McGuckin who defeated Brennan that year for the Cricket Club Championship.

“That was a crusher,” said Brennan of losing to McGuckin. “I was 41 years old and how many more chances are you really going to have to win with the caliber of players here. The caliber of players in GAP. If I’m getting older, there are more 25 year olds in the Middle-Amateur Championship. The Philadelphia Amateur is a grind. That’s built for the young person in golf.

“This is two days, 18 holes. If I’m going to do something this is what’s built for my mentality. I didn’t feel that home club pressure. I was just comfortable with every shot I was trying to hit out there. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before. When I lost to Marty I didn’t know how long I could keep this level of competition up.”

Brennan was in full stealth mode most of the day.

After nine holes, Shattuck stood at 2 under and possessed a two-shot lead.

Brennan was three back at 1 over and not yet inserted into the conversation.

Cricket, playing hard and fast, is relentless. Add in some Shattuck erratic driving, and the field started to show its claws, just like the club’s resident hawks.

A handful of challengers charged up the board. All failed to sustain bids other than Brennan.

He opened his final nine holes with two pars before reaching No. 12 (par 5, 546 yards) in two shots and tapping in for birdie. Brennan laced a 3-wood from 250 yards to the front of the green and two-putted from 30 feet.

A bogey on No. 15 (par 3, 238 yards) temporarily derailed the Brennan Express, however, the savvy veteran responded with a birdie on No. 16 (par 4, 422 yards) courtesy of a 25 footer. Long putts were a Brennan theme. He made five putts, three for par, of 12 feet or more.

He two-putted from 35 feet on No. 17 (par 4, 450 yards) for a 4 – he was on the far right of the green putting to a far left hole location – before hitting a pair of the better shots in his competitive career. On No. 18 (par 4, 482 yards), Brennan hammered a drive down the hill, leaving him with a 176 yards to the hole. He then laced an 8-iron, downhill and downwind, to eight feet. Playing the putt outside left edge, the ball trundled up and into the right side of the cup. Birdie. Winner.

“It’s really cool to do something like that at this stage of my career,” said Brennan, of Collegeville, Pa. “It’s the best field of the year. To put your name on a GAP trophy is always a really big deal. People really care.”

Shattuck stepped onto No. 18 tied with Brennan. However, his drive flared to the right and stopped out-of-bounds by about four inches. He would make double bogey.

This is Brennan’s second GAP Major victory. He won the 2012 Middle-Amateur Championship held at Chester Valley Golf Club.

“I didn’t feel [any pressure] going into this tournament. I was more, I’m ready for this,” said Brennan, a decade-long Cricket member. “They can put the tees whenever they want I’ve played it before. They can put the pins wherever they want, I’ve seen that more than likely before. You just can’t press the issue here. If you start pressing the issue you are going to make bogeys. You have to plod along and make some pars. Avoid a number. Just don’t press the issue. That’s when bad things can happen. That’s not the way to play the golf course.”

Obviously, Brennan heeded his own advice.

GAP
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 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Round TwoR1-R2-Total
(a)John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club72-67–139
Robert Fenton, Sunnybrook Golf Club69-72–141
(a)Marty McGuckin, Philadelphia Cricket Club72-69–141
(a)Rij Patel, Country Club of York74-67–141
Braden Shattuck, Rolling Green Golf Club68-73–141
Trevor Bensel, Sandy Run Country Club71-71–142
(a)Drue Nicholas, Galloway National Golf Club71-71–142
(a)Joshua Ryan, The 1912 Club71-71–142
(a)Christopher Ault, Yardley Country Club74-69–143
(a)Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club70-73–143
(a)Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club71-72–143
(a)Jeff Osberg, Pine Valley Golf Club74-69–143
(a)Zach Dilcher, Hartefeld National72-72–144
Chris Krueger, Kings Creek Country Club74-70–144
(a)Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville Country Club71-73–144
(a)Ross Pilliod, LedgeRock Golf Club71-73–144
Parks Price, Country Club of York72-72–144
Ryan Rucinski, Wilmington Country Club71-73–144
(a)Austin Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club70-75–145
Michael Little, Makefield Putters75-70–145
(a)Scott McNeil, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association74-71–145
Zac Oakley, Bidermann Golf Course75-70–145
(a)Jalen Griffin, Five Ponds Golf Club73-73–146
(a)Logan Paczewski, Huntsville Golf Club74-72–146
(a)Alex Seelig, Reading Country Club71-75–146
(a)David Kim, LuLu Country Club73-74–147
Alexander Knoll, Glen Brook Golf Club73-74–147
(a)Gregor Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club72-75–147
John Pillar, Sr., Woodloch Springs71-76–147
Rich Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club75-72–147
Billy Stewart, Union League Liberty Hill75-72–147
(a)Michael Gallagher, Galloway National Golf Club71-77–148
Eric Kennedy, Overbrook Golf Club72-76–148
(a)Stewart Rickenbach, Huntingdon Valley Country Club75-73–148
(a)Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club72-76–148
Colin Smith, Bidermann Golf Course72-76–148
(a)Zachary Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club74-75–149
(a)Ben Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club73-76–149
John Cooper, Green Valley Country Club72-77–149
(a)Jeffrey Cunningham, LuLu Country Club73-76–149
Brian Kelly, Bucknell Golf Club74-75–149
(a)Shane Lawler, Chester Valley Golf Club75-74–149
Mark Sheftic, Lookaway Golf Club75-75–150
Brian Bergstol, Shawnee Country Club74-77–151
(a)Corey Betham, St. Davids Golf Club75-76–151
Scott Chisholm, Rolling Green Golf Club74-77–151
(a)Anthony Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club74-77–151
(a)Jackson Debusschere, The Springhaven Club74-77–151
(a)Ben Keyser, Legacy Club at Woodcrest75-76–151
(a)Tyler McGarry, Huntsville Golf Club75-76–151
(a)Mark Miller, Philadelphia Cricket Club75-76–151
(a)Gerald Haftmann, Rolling Green Golf Club75-77–152
(a)Scott McLaughlin, LuLu Country Club74-79–153
Lorenzo Sanz, Briarwood Golf Club74-79–153
(a)Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club74-80–154
(a)Daniel Oh, Blue Bell Country Club72-82–154
Travis Deibert, Doylestown Country Club75-80–155
(a)Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia Cricket Club74-82–156
Kyle Early, Waynesborough Country Club75-82–157
(a)John Meyers, Golden Pheasant Golf Course74-WD–WD
WD – withdrawal
(a) – denotes amateur