119th #GAPOpen: Round One - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 19, 2023

119th #GAPOpen: Round One

Bensel wedges way to top of leaderboard

BUCKINGHAM, Pa. – Trevor Bensel looks ahead whenever Lookaway is on the schedule.

In 2021, the 28-year-old Sandy Run Country Club assistant professional captured the prestigious Philadelphia Players Championship at said club. Wednesday, in the 119th Open Championship, he added another entry to his Lookaway (par 72, 6,889 yards) manifesto with a scintillating 65 (7 under) to grab the first-round lead in Philadelphia’s most demanding championship.

Scoring portal History | Round One Notebook | Round One Video |

Bensel stands two strokes clear of Zachary Oakley, an assistant professional at Bidermann Golf Club, and amateur Rij Patel of the Country Club of York. Bensel, a North Wales, Pa. resident, is in search of his first Open victory. Bensel’s top prior Open finish was a tie for sixth last year at Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon). Defending champion, amateur John Brennan of Philadelphia Cricket, carded a 2 under.

The cutline fell at 2 over with 72 players advancing to the final round. Tee times begin at 7:30 a.m.

The leaders start at 11:40 a.m.

Bensel stood tall, above all, on this day with eight birdies and a single bogey blemish.

“I do have a good track record playing here. I love the golf course,” said Bensel, in his second year at Sandy Run. “Literally, like a week ago, I just started hitting the ball better. I actually started practicing and it’s amazing what that can do for your confidence.

“I went out last night [and] hit some shots. [I hit] all wedges from 60 to 100 yards and it was helpful today because I had a lot of shots inside 100 yards that I was able to stick close. Coming into this I haven’t had a good year playing wise. It’s been very frustrating. It’s nice to get a good round under my belt.”

The Bensel barrage, and his sharpened wedges, stated their intentions immediately.

Starting the round on No. 10 (par 4, 337 yards), Bensel dropped a sand wedge from 118 yards to four feet for a stress-free three. On No. 13 (par 5, 587 yards), with another sand wedge in-hand, this time from 105 yards, he stopped his third shot 15 feet from the cup. An uphill look resulted in a red four. On the next hole, No. 14 (par 4, 475 yards), he ratcheted an 8-iron from 169 yards to 12 feet below the hole and to the left.

“That one just dripped in, that was nice,” said Bensel of the birdie putt. “It was still early in the round, but anytime you can get under par it builds confidence and you can start attacking more pins than you normally would.”

True to his word, Bensel followed with aggressive plays, and birdies on Nos. 16 (par 4, 405 yards) and 17 (par 5, 523 yards). On No. 16, he lifted a gap wedge from 118 yards to 15 feet, directly below the hole. In that went. On No. 17, he laced a 5-iron from 218 yards that stopped just short of the green. His chip stopped three feet from the cup and a fifth red figure followed.

Bensel’s lone bogey blemish came on No. 18 (par 4, 434 yards), when he found tree trouble off the tee.

Coming in, Bensel added three more birdies to his tally. On No. 3 (par 5, 531 yards), he displayed a deft touch by knocking a 40-yard pitch-and-run shot to three feet for a four; on No. 4 (par 4, 362 yards), Bensel skied a 9-iron from 138 yards out in the right fairway bunker to five feet for another easy three and then on No. 9 (par 4, 355 yards) nipped a 58-degree wedge from 68 yards to four feet.

Bensel’s competitive best round is 61, 9-under, twice.

His best at Lookaway is the 67 he shot to win the aforementioned Philadelphia Players.

“You always want to go as low as possible the first day so there’s less pressure to make up ground on the second day,” said Bensel. “[Tomorrow], I’m going to go out and try to do the same thing I did today. Just try to hit the fairway, hit the green and make putts. It’s not a hard formula.”

Ironically, Oakley, 40, of King of Prussia, Pa., finished in a four-way tie for second the year Bensel won the Philadelphia Players Championship. A few years prior, in 2019, Oakley, at Lookaway, captured the Philadelphia PGA Section Match Play Championship, over, yes, you guessed it, Bensel, 4&3.

Oakley posted a clean card with three birdies, an eagle and 14 pars.

Patel, 25, of Hunt Valley, Md., finished in a four-way tie for second in last year’s Open at Cricket.

His first round produced six birdies and a bogey. A pretty good result considering a 3 a.m. wake-up call.

“I didn’t think about it,” said Patel of the long drive to Lookaway. “I just go out there and take everything one shot at a time.”

The Open features the deepest and most competitive field of the year with top amateurs from GAP and top professionals from the Philadelphia PGA Section vying for the John J. McDermott Trophy. This year 103 amateurs and 40 professionals started.

The Open is GAP’s third oldest championship. The Amateur is 123 years old. The Joseph H. Patterson Cup is 121.

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 organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 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.

Name, clubScore
Trevor Bensel, Sandy Run Country Club65
(a) Rij Patel, Country Club of York67
Zachary Oakley, Bidermann Golf Club67
(a) Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club68
(a) Michael Crowley, Briarwood Golf Club68
Braden Shattuck, Rolling Green Golf Club68
(a) Andy Butler, Huntingdon Valley Country Club69
(a) Campbell Wolf, USGA/GAP GC69
(a) Kevin Lydon, LuLu Country Club69
Zachary Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club69
(a) Nikita Romanov, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club69
Dave McNabb, Applebrook Golf Club70
(a) John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club70
(a) Ryan Tall, LuLu Country Club70
(a) Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club70
(a) Kevin Kramarski, Moorestown Field Club70
(a) Logan Paczewski, Huntsville Golf Club70
Brian Bergstol, Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort70
David Quinn, Laurel Creek Country Club70
(a) Vincent Palazzolo, Metedeconk National Golf Club71
Rich Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club71
(a) Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club71
(a) William Pabst, Elmhurst Country Club71
(a) Drue Nicholas, Galloway National Golf Club71
Mike Meisenzahl, Little Mill Country Club71
Anthony Sebastianelli, Rolling Green Golf Club71
(a) Daniel Oh, Blue Bell Country Club71
(a) Jared Tendler, Jericho National Golf Club72
Alexander Knoll, Glen Brook Golf Club72
Josef Pohle, Blue Bell Country Club72
Mark Sheftic, Sunnybrook Golf Club72
(a) Patrick Sheehan, Talamore Country Club72
(a) Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club72
Michael Little, Clubhouse 5472
(a) Gregor Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club72
(a) David Kim, LuLu Country Club72
(a) Stewart Rickenbach, Huntingdon Valley Country Club72
Jeffrey Fick, Moselem Springs Golf Club72
Hugh Reilly, The Abington Club72
(a) Tim Hager, Philadelphia Cricket Club72
(a) Alexander Kim, Philadelphia Cricket Club73
Robby Fenton, Sunnybrook Golf Club73
John Pillar, Sr., Woodloch Springs73
(a) Alex Pillar, Woodloch Springs73
(a) David Colleran, Overbrook Golf Club73
Billy Stewart, Union League Liberty Hill73
(a) Austin Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club73
(a) Alex Seelig, Reading Country Club73
Parks Price, Country Club of York73
(a) Zachary Falone, Running Deer Golf Club73
(a) Ben Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club73
Rocco Sgrillo, John F. Byrne Golf Club73
(a) Zach Dilcher, Hartefeld National73
(a) Xiong Da, USGA/GAP GC73
(a) Matt Gaffney, Medford Village Country Club74
Stephen Sanderson, Saucon Valley Country Club74
(a) Scott Kalamar, Green Pond Country Club74
(a) Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville Country Club74
(a) John Lalley, Llanerch Country Club74
(a) Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink Golf Club74
(a) Thomas Larkin, Paxon Hollow Country Club74
(a) Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club74
(a) Buddy Hansen, Blue Bell Country Club74
(a) Benjamin Feld, Green Valley Country Club74
(a) Logan Hess, Crossgates Golf Club74
Terry Hatch, Royal Oaks Golf Club74
(a) Brock Kovach, LedgeRock Golf Club74
(a) Joseph Tigani, Fieldstone Golf Club74
Jeff Herb, Waynesborough Country Club74
Caleb Wittig, Philadelphia Section PGA74
(a) Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club74
(a) Ryan Winton, Merchantville Country Club74
Failed to qualify
Matthew Zehner, Pine Valley Golf Club75
Andrew Turner, Berkshire Country Club75
David Pagett, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club75
(a) Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club75
(a) Hayden Moffat, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association75
(a) Benjamin Smith, Country Club of Harrisburg75
Eric Kennedy, Overbrook Golf Club75
(a) Christopher Ault, Yardley Country Club75
(a) Addison Owens, USGA/GAP GC75
(a) Anthony Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club75
(a) Butch Silknitter, Bellewood Country Club75
(a) Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club75
Ross Brown, Fox Hill Country Club75
John Spina, Philadelphia Cricket Club76
(a) Mark Miller, Philadelphia Cricket Club76
(a) Russell Hartung, Doylestown Country Club76
Patrick Butkus, Tavistock Country Club76
(a) Michael Carr, Philadelphia Cricket Club76
(a) Patrick Rutter, Schuylkill Country Club76
(a) Matt Dolinsky, Honeybrook Golf Club76
(a) Benjamin Foster, Five Ponds Golf Club76
(a) Andrew Keeling, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club77
(a) Ross Pilliod, LuLu Country Club77
Hugo Mazzalupi, Linfield National Golf Club77
(a) Curtis Geiger, Raven’s Claw Golf Club77
(a) Joey Lostumbo, Stanton Ridge Golf & Country Club77
(a) Ryan Gelrod, Philadelphia Cricket Club77
(a) Caleb Taylor, USGA/GAP GC77
(a) Matt Graeff, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club78
(a) Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia Cricket Club78
(a) Richard Solano, Scotland Run Golf Club78
Thomas Michaels, Berkshire Country Club78
Matt Dudas, Indian Valley Country Club78
(a) Hayden Garcia, Stonewall78
(a) Michael Fioravante, LedgeRock Golf Club78
(a) Bo Meakim, USGA/GAP GC78
(a) James Braunsberg, Blue Bell Country Club78
(a) John Lupica, Lookaway Golf Club79
(a) Jonathan Radick, Spring Mill Country Club79
(a) D.J. Pinciotti, Huntingdon Valley Country Club79
(a) John Meyers, Makefield Highlands Golf Club79
(a) Peter Barron, III, Galloway National Golf Club79
(a) Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club79
(a) Robert Dominy, Laurel Creek Country Club79
(a) Ryan Cass, Hidden Creek Golf Club79
(a) Neil Gordon, Doylestown Country Club79
Greyson Rossi, Heritage Shores79
(a) Noah Petracci, Golden Pheasant Golf Course79
(a) William Howard, Applebrook Golf Club79
(a) Alex Hosier, French Creek Golf Club79
(a) Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club79
(a) Will Gronlund, Bucknell Golf Club79
(a) Carter Field, LuLu Country Club80
Anthony Hoffman, John F. Byrne Golf Club80
Francis Diodato, GOLFTEC-Moorestown81
(a) Michael Zupi, LuLu Country Club81
(a) Matthew Krass, Radley Run Country Club81
Michael Dynda, LuLu Country Club82
(a) Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club82
(a) Jarred Berish, Bellewood Country Club82
(a) Brett Herman, Bucknell Golf Club82
(a) Darren Nolan, Cedarbrook Country Club83
(a) Tim Beck, North Hills Country Club83
(a) Matt Berkenstock, Bent Creek Country Club83
(a) Justin Howe, Applecross Country Club83
(a) Jeff Long, Riverton Country Club84
(a) Brandon Raihl, Philadelphia Cricket Club85
(a) Win Thomas, USGA/GAP GC85
(a) Jack Orr, Little Mill Country Club86
Chad Halvonik, Lookaway Golf Club87
(a) John Samaha, Old York Road Country Club88

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