25th Mid-Am heads to Fieldstone GC for silver anniversary - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 16, 2008

25th Mid-Am heads to Fieldstone GC for silver anniversary

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia kicks off the Majors portion of its tournament season in style next week with the silver anniversary of the Middle-Amateur Championship set for May 21-22 at Fieldstone GC.

  Looking to become the first player in GAP history to win three Mid-Am titles is defending champion Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC. Lutz took the 24th edition of the contest last year at Stonewall’s North Course after recording an even-par 140. The win was the second Middle-Amateur championship for Lutz who also took the 1998 Mid-Am. when the tournament was still a one-day, 18-hole event. Today, it’s a two-day, 36-hole competition.

  “You always look to coming back and defending as a champion, but it always adds a measure of pressure to the event,” said Lutz, who is set to tee off alongside fellow two-time Mid-Am. champs Chris Lange of Overbrook GC (2005-06) and Michael McDermott of Merion GC (2001, 2004), also a four-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award winner. “I try not to focus on that and just play as best as I can, be as competitive as possible and hope to be there in the end.”

  In addition to being sandwiched between two fellow competitors vying for the same distinction, Lutz will have a slew of capable players aimed at knocking him from his defending Mid-Am champion throne, a fact that he knows all to well.

  “I cherish each one of [my Mid-Am titles], especially in light of the competition we have in the Philadelphia area,” Lutz said. “Every [title] that you get is very special, but it’s especially more meaningful as it gets later in your career. It’s not only difficult, physically, to stay in shape, play well and maintain your game, but it’s also a challenge to face the competitive players that we have here.”

  Some of that stiff competition includes Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, the 2001 Amateur Champion; Tom Gramigna of Tavistock CC, a three-time New Jersey State Golf Association Mid-Am. champion; Oscar Mestre, Jr. of Overbrook GC, the 2002 Mid-Am. champion; Bill McGuinness of Tavistock CC, the 2007 New Jersey State Amateur Champion, a former GAP Amateur Champion and the 2003 Mid-Am. runner-up; Jamie Slonis of Tavistock CC, the 2001 Patterson Cup winner; Glenn Smeraglio of Yardley CC, a two-time Silver Cross winner and the 2006 Marston Cup winner; Mike Tash of Tavistock CC, a three-time Patterson Cup winner and two-time Silver Cross champion; Ray Thompson of Overbrook GC, the 2007 Senior POY who swept every major senior event en route to the honor; and P. Chet Walsh of Philadelphia CC, always a threat to grab the title.

  “I had never really thought about, nor did I know, that I could be the first to win three,” said Lutz, who said he is looking to play Fieldstone GC off instinct, having never had a chance to play the course. “It would certainly set me apart, but it was not something that was really in the front of my mind since I’ve been unaware of it. You have to be realistic about your chances and your opportunities.

  “I just always hope to be near the top of the pack at the end of the line, be competitive and place myself in a position to win,” he said.

  The Middle-Amateur is for players 25 years of age and older.

  The GAP Middle-Amateur started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Am as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.

  The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Mid-Am was for players 30 years of age and older. That Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. The field begins with 132 players. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower.

  This is the first full scoring event toward the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.

  As always, members of the media are encouraged to attend and can contact the golf office for more information.

  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

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