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Aronimink’s Siegfried cherishes Christman Cup victory at Gulph Mills

  KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. — Winning a Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Major is an achievement Max Siegfried’s envisioned for awhile now. His desire to do so is evident in his demeanor on the golf course — passion permeating in every swing. | Photo gallery | Scorecards | History | Junior POY standings |
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  Dreams became reality Thursday. Siegfried, an Aronimink Golf Club member, carded a 4-under-par 138 to capture the 16th Christman Cup presented by Global Golf Post at Gulph Mills Golf Club (par 71, 6,443 yards). Saucon Valley Country Club’s J.T. Barker and North Hills Country Club’s Eric Carlidge tied for second at 142.

  The Christman Cup is a 36-hole stroke play event.

  “I’m really happy. This is one I really wanted to win badly,” Siegfried, 17, of Villanova, Pa., said. “Finishing second in the [GAP] Junior Boys’ and second in the [Pennsylvania Golf Association] Junior…I kind of used that as motivation to work harder.”

  Siegfried outworked the 78-player field Thursday.

  The venue, plus a surging golf game of late, enhanced desire, ethic and optimism. Siegfried is a senior at The Haverford School and plays on its golf team, which calls Gulph Mills home. He beamed with exuberance when the Golf Association of Philadelphia announced the Christman Cup site for 2015.

  “My eyes lit up,” Siegfried said. “I knew I had a really good advantage coming in with all of the golf I’ve played here. I know this course like the back of my hand. I love this place so much. It’s in perfect condition all the time.”

  Siegfried, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine Player to Watch in 2015, emerged as the event’s 18-hole leader with a modest even-par 71. A pair of bogeys preceded a pair of birdies.

  Starting on the back nine in the day’s first group, he failed to get up-and-down from the left greenside bunker on No. 13 (par 4, 407 yards). Siegfried hacked out a buried lie on No. 1 (par 4, 413 yards), bopped a 58-degree wedge to 15 feet and missed the par putt. Red figures on Nos. 5 (par 4, 398 yards) and 8 (par 4, 347 yards) quelled the miscues. He punched an 8-iron 155 yards to 25 below the flagstick and converted a right-to-left breaker on the first. A 55-yard wedge to eight feet yielded a birdie on the latter.

  In the afternoon, Siegfried feasted on familiar turf and kept the battalion at bay. He birdied three of his first five holes to lengthen his lead. On No. 3 (par 4, 456 yards), Siegfried lambasted a 5-iron 180 yards to three feet. He followed with 50-degree wedge to four feet below the flagstick on the picturesque par 3, 107-yard No. 4. With a fiery flatstick finally complementing consistent approach shots, Siegfried lifted a pitching wedge 130 yards out of the right rough and deposited an eight-foot slider for a 3 on No. 5 (par 4, 398 yards).

  As was the case in the morning, Siegfried’s basket could’ve been more bountiful.

  “It could’ve been five (birdies) in a row, but I’ll take that,” he said. “I lipped a 10-footer on No. 2. On No. 6, I stuffed a 7-iron to eight feet and just missed it.”

  Siegfried didn’t miss his target on the gettable No. 8 (par 4, 253 yards). His drive landed on the green and darted into a bed of rough directly behind the flagstick. Siegfried, eliminating flop-and-fly risk, nudged an eagle putt to three feet for birdie. Bunker hopping — right fairway, front left and back — on No. 9 (par 4, 371 yards) brewed Siegfried’s first bogey of the afternoon. He reclaimed the stroke by firing a birdie on the next hole (par 4, 410 yards). Seeing a line identical to the morning round, Siegfried drained a downhill 15-footer after knocking a 50-degree wedge 126 yards. He held a four-stroke edge over Barker and a charging Carlidge at that point.

  Siegfried extended that margin with a stupendous 3 on the par 4, 400-yard 16th hole. He whacked a pitching wedge 120 yards to 15 feet and experienced an oddity.

  “This putt was wiggling around. I didn’t think it was going in,” Siegfried said. “It hardly gets there. This thing just stops on the edge. I’m like, ‘Ah, I didn’t make it.’ Then [playing partner] Peter [Bradbeer] tells me, ‘Put your shadow over it.’ I waited five seconds and it dropped.”

  The challenging par 3, 214-yard 17th hole left Siegfried’s emotions as topsy-turvy as a lawn chair in a hurricane. He caught the left greenside bunker with a hybrid. Facing a firm lie, he flew the green, bumped a wedge to eight feet and saved bogey. Siegfried, with an ever-evolving mental game, relied on comfortable grounds and a collected caddie in Ryan Bowman to complete the task at hand.

  “He’ll make some good jokes out there and keep me not as stressed out. It was great having him on the bag,” Siegfried said.

  “So many people have helped me. Cole [Berman, reigning Patterson Cup and BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion] has been a huge part of this. He’s helped me practice more than anyone I know. He’s been with me through my lows and highs. I want to thank him. I’m glad a win finally came.”

  A career-best 68 in the afternoon propelled Carlidge to co-runner-up honors. It marked his first-ever round in the 60s.

  “It feels really good, especially to do it on this stage,” Carlidge, 17, of Ambler, Pa., said. “My shoulders are open, and I closed them yesterday when I played North Hills and shot 72. I just brought it over today.”

  Carlidge, a rising senior at La Salle High School, totaled 11 putts on his inward tour.

  Playing in the day’s last group, Barker, 18, of Bethlehem, Pa., closed with a 2-under-par 69 to tie Carlidge.

  “Overall, I’m pleased,” Barker, who will attend Northampton Community College in the fall, said. “I would’ve liked to finish first. I left a lot out there.”

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for the Golf Association of Philadelphia who retired in January 2000. It is a 36-hole stroke play event.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  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 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club 71-67–138
J.T. Barker, Saucon Valley Country Club 73-69–142
Eric Carlidge, North Hills Country Club 74-68–142
Evan Brown, Hartefeld National 73-71–144
Peter Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club 74-71–145
Griffin Colvin, Concord Country Club 72-73–145
Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club 72-74–146
Luca Jezzeny, The Bucks Club 76-73–149
Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club 78-71–149
Wills Montgomery, Whitford Country Club 75-74–149
Quinn Dolan, Rolling Green Golf Club 77-73–150
Joshua Madarang, Applecross Country Club 74-76–150
Liam McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 78-73–151
Trey Croney, Overbrook Golf Club 76-75–151
Troy Thierolf, Commonwealth National Golf Club 75-76–151
Mark Benevento, Jr., Greate Bay Country Club 76-75–151
Daniel Rieger, Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park 74-77–151
David Kim, Commonwealth National Golf Club 78-73–151
Noah Harrington, Cedarbrook Country Club 75-76–151
Jack Henderson, Gulph Mills Golf Club 77-75–152
Dan Dougherty, DuPont Country Club 81-71–152
Chris Binet, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 78-75–153
Nick Calabrese, Edgmont Country Club 78-75–153
Ryan Bree, Fieldstone Golf Club 78-75–153
Gary McCabe, Jr., RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 83-71–154
John Foley, Spring Ford Country Club 77-78–155
Brad Ebersole, The Ridge at Back Brook 76-79–155
Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 79-76–155
Max Harrington, Brookside CC of Allentown 77-79–156
Erik Reisner, Philadelphia Publinks GA 78-78–156
Mike Sydnes, Talamore Country Club 78-78–156
Ben Litt, Riverton Country Club 79-78–157
Jay Losty, Merion Golf Club 81-76–157
Greg Welsh, Talamore Country Club 83-74–157
Dawson Anders, Indian Valley Country Club 79-78–157
Matthew Davis, Aronimink Golf Club 77-80–157
Marty McGuckin, White Manor Country Club 81-76–157
Hugh Farris, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 80-78–158
Drew Petri, Jericho National Golf Club 80-78–158
Joseph Kim, Commonwealth National Golf Club 81-77–158
Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 80-79–159
Otis Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club 75-84–159
Mike Bliss, Jericho National Golf Club 75-84–159
Matthew Civitella, Waynesborough Country Club 83-77–160
Alex Butler, Meadowlands Country Club 82-78–160
Frankie McVeigh, Llanerch Country Club 83-78–161
Brian Zinman, Saucon Valley Country Club 80-81–161
John Updike, Aronimink Golf Club 82-79–161
R.J. Vantash, Bent Creek Country Club 78-83–161
Jack Quirk, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 80-82–162
David Gall, Riverton Country Club 83-79–162
Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 82-81–163
Brent Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 81-82–163
Matt Marino, Waynesborough Country Club 83-80–163
Nat Gallen, Berkshire Country Club 82-81–163
Michael Burns, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club 83-80–163
Andrew Kotler, Cherry Valley Country Club 80-85–165
Matt Smith, Wilmington Country Club 83-82–165
Davis Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club 79-87–166
Jon Nolan Perry, Waynesborough Country Club 86-80–166
Nicky Marrollo, Whitford Country Club 84-83–167
Buddy Hansen, IV, Blue Bell Country Club 82-85–167
Billy Civitella, Radnor Valley Country Club 86-81–167
Kyle Kellenbenz, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 83-84–167
Cole White, Blue Bell Country Club 86-83–169
Michael Reed-Price, Sunnybrook Golf Club 87-83–170
Billy Matthews, North Hills Country Club 88-84–172
Philip James, Cedarbrook Country Club 89-84–173
Brian Kilroy, Llanerch Country Club 82-92–174
Seamus Gibbons, Talamore Country Club 86-88–174
Matt Graeff, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club 85-95–180
Ryan Brennan, Rolling Green Golf Club 97-96–193
Luke Sliwowski, Running Deer Golf Club 87-WD–WD