The Tavistock CC trio of Bob Arthur, Kurt Henjes and Jamie Slonis made the 2 ½ drive from Haddonfield, N.J., to Exeter, Pa., and Fox Hill CC well worth the trip. The three earned almost a 1/3 of its team’s points as Tavistock CC, who joined GAP in 1921, captured its first-ever GAP Team Matches Championship on Sunday.
Tavistock CC amassed 92.75 total points, clear of challengers Spring Ford CC (66.25), Fox Hill CC (59) and Lu Lu CC (56.75) in the playoff. Arthur, Henjes and Slonis combined for an amazing 31 points.
“Our thing was to pick up as many holes as possible and keep building points,” said Slonis, 35, of Sewell, N.J. “Especially after what happened last year, we knew we had to play hard all day and chip away because that ¼ point you win could be the one that saves [the team].”
Slonis was referring to last year’s GAP Team Matches Playoff in which Merion GC outlasted Llanerch CC by a ¼ point for the title. This year, the final tally wasn’t that close, in part due to Slonis.
Slonis, the 2002 Patterson Cup champion, recorded a 5-under-par 66 on the tricky greens of Fox Hill CC and amassed the day’s highest point total at any of the four sites (15 points). Arthur finished with a solid 10.5 points and Henjes added 5.5 points.
Remarkably, it was the first time any of the Tavistock CC trio had seen the golf course.
The win marks the completion of the team sweep for Tavistock CC. They also currently hold the Philadelphia Team Championship title. Yardley CC was the last to accomplish the feat in 2002.
“It’s definitely a source of pride, especially for the guys who are a little less talented and have kept us in the [Division AA] group,” said Wayne Roberts of Tavistock CC. Roberts played at home in the No. 3 slot and amassed 14 points, the second-highest total of the day. “It very special for the club.”
The GAP Team Matches Playoff is individual match play with a player from each team competing in a singles match against each player in his group. Three members from each of the final four teams play in a foursome at one of the four clubs. A total of 12 players from each team compete. The four final teams were decided in the round-robin fashion GAP Team Matches the three prior weeks.
The GAP Team Matches were the foundation for the Association’s creation in 1897. The Matches have been every year since with the exception of 1943-45 (World War II) and 1994 (severe weather).