73rd Delaware Amateur Preview - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 20, 2024

73rd Delaware Amateur Preview

Micholas prepared for title defense

Delaware’s premier amateur event, the 73rd Delaware Amateur, will head to White Clay Creek Country Club in Wilmington, Del. for the first time June 24-26.

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In last year’s edition at Wild Quail Golf & Country Club, Kings Creek Country Club’s Blake Micholas defeated Little Mill Country Club’s Jack Irons in a four-hole playoff to claim his first amateur victory.

“That week my ball striking and putting were strong,” Micholas, 26, of Potomac, Md., said. “I felt really comfortable on the greens at Wild Quail. I think about that week a lot. What stood out the most to me was having my dad on my bag. It is an awesome memory for us to have.” 

The Wilmington, Del. venue hosted the Delaware Four-Ball championship in 2023 won by Morgan Lofland and Jackson Debusschere.

Founded in 2005, the Arthur Hills and Steve Forest design offers numerous challenges throughout its spacious layout adjacent to the Delaware Park Racetrack.

“The challenge of the golf course here is forced carries,” Ryan Kidwell, White Clay Creek’s General Manager, 55, of Middletown, Del., said. “It is truly a shotmaker’s golf course. The greens aren’t big but they have a bit of undulation to them. If you miss the green, scrambling for par will be a challenge. It will be a good test of golf.”

Micholas’ offseason wasn’t one of ease. He broke his arm last November after a bicycling incident and spent a lot of the winter recovering. 

“My game feels really good,” Micholas said. “I spent a good amount of time in Florida this winter playing some events and practicing after I recovered from my injury. I got some reps under my belt at the Gasparilla Invitational. I have been working on the fundamentals and mechanics. My short game feels good.”

Micholas hasn’t seen White Clay Creek before but he will place a priority on getting that local knowledge prior to his title defense. But as a Mid-Am who recently started a new job, time and flexibility may not be on his side.

“I will look to play a practice round probably by myself,” Micholas said. “It is important for me to prepare for the tournament with my game and my tendencies. It makes me focus on my game. I just don’t want to go through the motions.”

Micholas will look to become the ninth player to successfully defend his title. The others include: John Corzilius, Blaise Giroso, Christopher Hickman, Joey Maxon, Ed Richitelli, Ellis Taylor, Jay Whitby and Chris Wisler.

“Winning the Delaware Amateur solidified for me that I can win Amateur events,” Micholas said. “I had won club championships before but not anything outside of that. Winning showed me that I have the ability to put consecutive rounds of under par together. Hopefully this will allow me to put together consistency in these tournaments. If I can roll the rock like I did last year, I feel like I have a good chance to defend. A lot of my success in a tournament comes down to how I feel on the greens.” 

New this year, the winner of the Delaware Amateur Championship, an official USGA Exemption event, receives an automatic bid into the U.S. Amateur Championship. The runner-up will be exempt into 2025 U.S. Amateur final qualifying. Last May, the USGA announced revisions to that event’s qualifying model. The U.S. Amateur will move from a one-stage, 36-hole qualifying format to a two-stage qualifying format with an 18-hole local qualifier and an 18-hole final qualifier.

Past champions in the field include: Jacoby Chappa of Maple Dale Country Club (2022); Amory Davis of Bidermann Golf Club (2007); Micholas (2023) and Jay Whitby of Rehoboth Beach Country Club (2006, 2015-17).

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 345 Member Clubs and 110,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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