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1st GAP Women’s Championship: Bala

Oberparleiter takes inaugural GAP Women’s Championship crown

“Welcome to the first-ever GAP Women’s Championship, ladies.”

| Scoring | GAP Women’s homepage | Women’s Schedule | Photo gallery |

Those were the historic words 46 players arrived to at the first tee of Bala Golf Club (par 68, 5,114 yards) Thursday. Fast forward a few hours later, and the first individual GAP Women’s champion name was forged into history books forever.

Bala, the site of the 1952 U.S. Women’s Open Championship won by Louise Suggs, was the proud host of today’s inaugural championship. The new 18-hole event featured three divisional champions: Amateur (24 years of age or younger), Middle-Amateur (25 years of age or older) and Senior (50 years of age or older). The Championship Division winner was crowned from the lowest score posted in the Amateur and Middle-Amateur flights.

After 1.25 inches of rain overnight, Bala withstood the water accumulations and played ideally under sunny summer skies. Play began at 8 a.m., as Country Club of Harrisburg’s Allison Wix put the inaugural tee shot into play.

Seven hours later, a Champion Division winner was crowned. Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia’s Taylor Oberparleiter fired a 4-over 72 for the honor. Her three birdies on the day helped Oberparleiter overcome her first Bala test, lifting the inaugural trophy in the end with prideful purpose.

Here’s how she got there. On the short par-4, 293-yard 2nd, Oberparleiter lifted a wedge in the air, finding the smallest green on the course, hitting her approach to three feet and converted for 3. She made the turn at 5-over par.

“I had a stretch on the front which was just not good. I was 4-over par through three holes at one point,”said Oberparleiter, who just transferred from Limestone University to Georgia Southern University, where she’ll play in the fall.

On Bala’s second nine, Oberparleiter started settling in. A birdie dropped on No. 11 (par 4, 371 yards) when the champion rolled a putt through six feet of fringe to card a 3. Next, on the par-3, 160-yard 13th, a hybrid off the tee came up just short, but Oberparleiter’s chip crept over the front lip and in for 2.

“I hit the driver really, really well today, even when I probably shouldn’t have hit driver,” said Oberparleiter, 20, of Laurel Springs, N.J.. “I definitely found myself in better positions on the back nine, so that was a strong way to finish.”

Winning the inaugural GAP Women’s Championship may not have been in the cards for Oberparleiter without a text from friend Colton Murray. Those simple words of motivation were the nudge Oberparleiter needed to register. She’s pretty happy she did looking back on it from the winner’s circle.

“When he saw this event, he texted and told me I should sign up,” said Oberparleiter. “He said to me, ‘the first-ever GAP Women’s Champion, Taylor Oberparleiter’, which I thought had a nice ring to it.”

Oberparleiter grew up playing all over South Jersey at courses like Trump Philly, Laurel Creek Country Club, Valleybrook Country Club and Little Mill Country Club. She and her family have split time between Florida for the past five seasons, so golf could be playable throughout the calendar year. She hopes more Junior female players will follow her lead, playing whenever possible.

“Play whenever you can. Play no matter what in these events,” she said. “Even if you don’t think you have the chance to win, you’ll get the experience, and that’s important.”

Taking today’s Mid-Amateur Division was Northampton Country Club’s Katrin Wolfe. Her 10-over 78 took the inaugural title over a 10-player field.

“I guess I’m a little speechless,” said Wolfe, 38, of East Stroudsburg, Pa. “I moved to eastern Pennsylvania right before COVID, so I haven’t been able to play in a lot of GAP events yet. I’ve been really trying to support the GAP and WGAP, plus the Pennsylvania Golf Association. This is cool. I take these opportunities to get to know the workers at GAP and their great golfers.”

Amy Kennedy of Country Club of York claimed the Senior Division with a day’s low 2-over 70. Kennedy has her putter to thank for the winning scorecard.

“I made a lot of sand saves, and made several putts from six-to-eight feet for par,” said Kennedy, 53, of Naples, Fla.

Today’s event falls in the middle of #GAPWomensWeek, a week-long slate of women’s programming ranging from Junior clinics to happy hours to national championships. As a member of GAP’s Women’s Committee, Kennedy is pleased to see not only the growth in women’s programming, but the strong field established in the Inaugural Women’s Championship.

“I think it’s huge. I think the turnout was very good considering it was the first year, and I think it shows that there’s definitely a demand for a GAP [women’s] championship,” said Kennedy. “In many cases, the GAP covers so much area it could put together a wonderful field.”

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.

Championship DivisionScore
Taylor Oberparleiter, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia72
Christina Carroll, Play Golf Delaware73
Sarah Scarpill, USGA/GAP GC73
Mary McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club76
Katrin Wolfe, Northampton Country Club78
Rhianna Gooneratne, The 1912 Club79
Olivia Strigh, Philadelphia Junior Tour80
Allison Wix, Country Club of Harrisburg80
Grace Sanborn, Northampton Country Club81
Grace Battista, Golf Course at Glen Mills81
Monica Austin, Paxon Hollow Country Club83
Emily Christiansen, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club84
Barbora Millichip, Honeybrook Golf Club85
Meredith Finger, DuPont Country Club85
Audrey Reese, Commonwealth National Golf Club86
Meghan Adams, Wilmington Country Club88
Emilee Barkley, Moselem Springs Golf Club91
Jocelyn Abel, Regents’ Glen Country Club93
Sarah Kline, Lancaster Country Club98
Molly Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club102
Tori Viggiano, Workhorse Tour113
  
Amateur Division  
Taylor Oberparleiter, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia72
Christina Carroll, Play Golf Delaware73
Sarah Scarpill, USGA/GAP GC73
Mary McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club76
Rhianna Gooneratne, The 1912 Club79
Olivia Strigh, Philadelphia Junior Tour80
Grace Sanborn, Northampton Country Club81
Meredith Finger, DuPont Country Club85
Audrey Reese, Commonwealth National Golf Club86
Emilee Barkley, Moselem Springs Golf Club91
Molly Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club102
Mid-Amateur Division 
Katrin Wolfe, Northampton Country Club78
Allison Wix, Country Club of Harrisburg80
Grace Battista, Golf Course at Glen Mills81
Monica Austin, Paxon Hollow Country Club83
Emily Christiansen, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club84
Barbora Millichip, Honeybrook Golf Club85
Meghan Adams, Wilmington Country Club88
Jocelyn Abel, Regents’ Glen Country Club93
Sarah Kline, Lancaster Country Club98
Tori Viggiano, Workhorse Tour113
Senior Division 
Amy Kennedy, Country Club of York70
Lisa McGill, Sunnybrook Golf Club72
Suzi Spotleson, RiverCrest GC & Preserve72
Donna D’amore, Woodstone Golf Club76
Karen Siegel, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Alexandra Frazier, Gulph Mills Golf Club78
Wendy Cimoch, Fox Hill Country Club78
Muffy McCabe, French Creek Golf Club79
Megan Grosky-McGowan, Blue Bell Country Club80
Tina Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club80
Louise Gebhart, Hanover Country Club81
Allison Long, Honeybrook Golf Club84
Tia Toms, Legacy Club at Woodcrest87
Linda Weise, Trenton Country Club89
Ellen Miller, Gulph Mills Golf Club89
Jackie Beck, Lehigh Country Club90
Kathleen Gallagher, Penn National GC91
Alison Kellock, Flourtown Country Club91
Barbara Naglak, Moselem Springs Golf Club93
Pat Hughes Gelardi, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club95
Rose Covalesky, Aronimink Golf Club100
Shelby Noll, Lancaster Country Club102
Lori Turnbach, Overbrook Golf Club103
Sue Curran, Philadelphia Cricket ClubWD
Suzy Armbruster, Woodstone Golf ClubWD
WD – withdrawal