May 20, 2019

36th Middle-Amateur Championship preview

Posted in:
Majors, News


Refined Rolling Green ready to host #GAPMidAm

| History |Media guide |

GAP will begin its Major season when Rolling Green Golf Club plays host to the 36th Middle-Amateur Championship May 22-23.

A field of 134 players, all 25 years of age or older, will tee it up in Springfield, Pa. to begin the two-day, 36-hole stroke play event. The field will be cut to the top 70 players and ties for the final round.

The Middle-Amateur Championship is the first of the four GAP Majors played each year. It is a William Hyndman, III Player of the Year points event.

Scott Chisholm, Rolling Green’s head golf professional, anticipates speedy greens that will challenge the tournament’s elite field. While the course may not be at its firmest due to the significant rainfall the Philadelphia area has received this spring, Chisholm believes drier weather leading up to the event will allow the track to play fairly firm.

Although this year will mark Rolling Green’s first time hosting the GAP Middle-Amateur, the William Flynn design is no stranger to championship events. Most notably, the course has hosted two USGA championships – the 1976 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur – the GAP Open Championship (1927, 1983), the Pennsylvania Amateur Championship (2012) and the Pennsylvania Open Championship (1990, 2015). Rolling Green also annually hosts the Francis X. Hussey Memorial, a Junior four-ball tournament.

“Our members are really excited to be able to show off the golf course to some of the top players in Philadelphia”, Shawn Lavin, a Rolling Green member in this year’s field, said.

Chisholm, for his part, is excited to see how players fair on the newly redesigned sixth hole. The addition of a back tee box, the removal of trees, and the repair of some bunkers have brought the hole closer to its original design.

Lavin will not be the only member of the host course teeing it up for the competition. A total of eight Rolling Green members is set to play — a number that trails only Philadelphia Cricket Club, which has nine competitors entered.

“It’s good to see a lot of our members getting into tournament golf”, Lavin said. “We’ve really got a nice group of players together recently.”  

The eight locals will look to take advantage of their in-depth knowledge of Rolling Green’s difficult green complexes — a distinguishing feature of the course.

“Rolling Green is definitely a second shot golf course,” Lavin said. “Our members know all the pin positions and where to place their approach shots, which is really important. Sometimes [at Rolling Green] you can be 10 feet away from the pin for birdie and have no chance of making par. Other times you can be 25 feet away and have a better chance of making birdie.”

Chisholm, too, stressed the advantage Rolling Green members will have playing on their home course. Specifically, Chisholm mentioned the frequency of quick putts that could easily deceive competitors who are unfamiliar with the greens.

Little Mill Country Club’s Michael Hyland will return to defend his Middle-Amateur title. He is one of 13 past champions in the field. That list also includes Ben Feld of Green Valley Country Club (2017), Matthew Mattare of Saucon Valley Country Club (2016), Scott McNeil of Bala Golf Club (2015), Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club (2001, 2004, 2008, 2013), John Brennan of Philadelphia Cricket Club (2012), Glenn Smeraglio of Lu Lu Country Club (2011), Thomas Gramigna of Tavistock Country Club (2010), Oscar Mestre (2002) of Overbrook Golf Club, Neil Gordon of Five Ponds Golf Club, (1999) Richard Umani of Honeybrook Golf Club (1996), Michael Tash of The Springhaven Club (1994), and Gary Daniels of Applebrook Golf Club (1985).

As always, the public is welcome to attend. Aside from offering live scoring on its website, the Association will provide Middle-Amateur updates via Twitter. Follow @GAofPhilly and connect by using the hashtag #GAPMidAm. Watch live broadcasts via Periscope as well.

The inaugural Middle-Amateur Championship was held in 1984, three years after the United States Golf Association (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 Middle-Amateur was for players 30 years of age or older.

The Association’s Executive 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. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower to be eligible to compete.

For more information on the Middle-Amateur Championship, contact the GAP office at 610-687-2340.

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 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Share This: