41st Middle-Amateur Championship: Day Two - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 22, 2024

41st Middle-Amateur Championship: Day Two

Bent Creek’s Drescher grinds out victory

HORSHAM, Pa. — The tea leaves knew it was only a matter of time for Zak Drescher. He’s been a name lurking on leaderboards for the better part of two years. A man with a power game and a nifty greenside touch.

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At a hard and fast Commonwealth National Golf Club (par 71, 6,874 yards) Wednesday, with a potential career-defining GAP moment in reach, Drescher took a deep breath. Literally. Five seconds worth, per him. Six seconds later, he roped a baby draw 6-iron from 198 yards to 10 feet. When the putt dropped, his friend and sometimes four-ball teammate Conor Gilbert let out a scream that sent the resident wild turkeys scurrying.

It was the only birdie recorded on No. 18 (par 4, 457 yards) in the final round.

Drescher completed the 54 holes of the 41st Middle-Amateur Championship presented by NJM Insurance in 4-over-par 217. He closed with rounds of 72 and 75 to grab a two-shot victory. The trio of Michael Davis of Aronimink Golf Club; Scott McNeil of The 1912 Club and Jon Rusk of LuLu Country Club tied for second at 6 over. Four players finished at 7 over and in a tie for fifth.

“I felt like I was moving up and playing better in more and more GAP events. It was encouraging but I didn’t think I’d win”

ZAK DRESCHER, bent creek

The scoring average for Rounds 2 and 3 was 76.93.

“To be honest I didn’t think I’d be holding the trophy today,” said Drescher, 35, of Bent Creek Country Club and Lancaster, Pa., “but I hung on. I’ll take it.

“I felt like I was moving up and playing better in more and more GAP events. It was encouraging but I didn’t think I’d win. I would say I have confidence. But when you are under the gun it’s a different ball game. I think I was able to handle everything today. I didn’t look at the scores at all. I had no idea coming up 18 of where I was.”

Where he is, is on top of the world.

He and wife Ellen welcomed a baby boy, Rhodes, 3½ weeks ago.

A new trophy for the new toddler is en route.

“I haven’t practiced much in the last three weeks since the baby. I did play in the LANCO Golf Association (Lancaster County) Two-Man Scramble this past weekend and we won. So that was encouraging,” said Drescher.

Drescher is an 11-time LANCO champion (four Amateurs; two Opens; two Better Balls; one Match Play; one Mid-Am and the aforementioned Scramble).

Drescher opened the tournament with a 70 in Tuesday’s first round. He entered the day two shots off the lead held by Sean Hughes of the USGA/GAP GC and Kevin Kramarski of Moorestown Field Club.

Drescher made a statement with back-to-back birdies to open Round 2. On No. 1 (par 5, 554 yards), he laced a 2-iron from 243 yards to 15 feet and two putted. On No. 2 (par 4, 395 yards), he lifted an 8-iron from 155 yards to 10 feet for a second straight red figure.

When the second round ended, Drescher had surged to top of the leaderboard, two shots clear of Kramarski.

New this year, the Middle-Amateur Championship expanded from 36 to 54 holes. It is now listed on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and eligible for points.

Drescher started his final round navigation in cruise control with four straight pars before he blew a tire on No. 5 (par 3, 167 yards). A bunker and a bogey putt miss resulted in a double.

A birdie and bogey to complete the front nine followed, before a par on No. 10 (par 4, 417 yards) emboldened his chances. Long of the green, on a back mound, Drescher gingerly lifted a chip to a hole on a speedy, and severe downhill slope. It nested inches from the cup for an easy par. Six was in play.

Yes, bogeys on Nos. 14, 15 and 17 followed, but they weren’t tragedies. It was more or less what the field was doing at that point. That’s when he hit the shot of a lifetime on No. 18.

“I knew the adrenaline was running so I tried to crunch [the 6-iron]. I did it,” said Drescher. “I knew it was better to be short because this morning I was long and I was dead. I think I needed to make the putt, but I had no idea.”

Last year, Drescher placed sixth in the Middle-Amateur. In August, he finished ninth in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup presented by Provident Bank. A couple weeks after that, he and Gilbert secured the Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship with a 63.

A good year in 2023. Already a better one in 2024.

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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 345 Member Clubs and 110,000 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, clubR1-R2-R3=Total
Zak Drescher, Bent Creek Country Club70-72-75-217
Jon Rusk, LuLu Country Club74-73-72-219
Michael Davis, Aronimink Golf Club72-75-72-219
Scott McNeil, The 1912 Club75-74-70-219
Brock Kovach, LedgeRock Golf Club73-74-73-220
John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club71-76-73-220
John Lalley, Llanerch Country Club69-78-73-220
Kevin Kramarski, Moorestown Field Club68-76-76-220
Will Wears, Briarwood Golf Club74-74-73-221
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club72-76-73-221
Stewart Rickenbach, Huntingdon Valley Country Club70-77-75-222
Joey Russo, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia76-70-76-222
Andrew Keeling, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club74-78-71-223
Richard Riva, LuLu Country Club72-74-77-223
Alexander Kim, Philadelphia Cricket Club76-71-76-223
Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club73-75-76-224
Andy Butler, Huntingdon Valley Country Club75-76-73-224
Jack Wallace, Riverton Country Club75-75-74-224
Jeff Frazier, Carlisle Country Club75-72-77-224
Anthony Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club73-76-76-225
Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley Country Club72-74-79-225
Carter Field, LuLu Country Club72-77-76-225
Zach Arsenault, Medford Village Country Club71-75-79-225
Matt Dolinsky, Heidelberg Country Club74-74-78-226
Matthew Barnes, LuLu Country Club74-75-77-226
Zack Amole, French Creek Golf Club75-82-69-226
Dan Ayars, Sakima Country Club75-73-78-226
David Kim, LuLu Country Club73-80-75-228
Thomas Weir, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association76-74-78-228
Alex Anderson, Huntsville Golf Club76-79-74-229
Sean Hughes, USGA/GAP GC68-82-79-229
William Howard, Applebrook Golf Club74-76-80-230
Keith Matt, Talamore Country Club73-77-80-230
Ben Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club73-76-82-231
Conner Charlebois, Bala Golf Club75-77-79-231
Steve Skurla, White Manor Country Club71-82-78-231
Jonathan Radick, Spring Mill Country Club76-75-80-231
Eric Williams, Honesdale Golf Club74-83-75-232
Drew Garis, North Hills Country Club72-80-80-232
Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu Country Club75-82-75-232
Owen Mulhern, Whitford Country Club75-76-81-232
Colin Smith, Bidermann Golf Club74-82-78-234
Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club71-85-78-234
Conor Gilbert, Bent Creek Country Club74-86-75-235
Rich Owsik, Rolling Green Golf Club73-83-79-235
Connor Vanin, DuPont Country Club76-78-83-237
Dom Guerrera, Coatesville Country Club75-81-84-240
Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club76-79-85-240
Steve Owens, Huntingdon Valley Country Club75-84-86-245
Peter Barron, III, Galloway National Golf Club70-81-WD-WD
Colin Sanderson, Jericho National Golf Club75-76-WD-WD
WD – withdrawal

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