Jul 30, 2013

Bancroft, Mitchell reach Junior-Junior Boys’ Final at Merchantville

 CHERRY HILL, N.J. — On the surface, it seems that Phillip Bancroft, III and Colman Mitchell have a lot in common. Similar frames — both stand somewhere in the five foot range. Both are sports nuts. And both can play golf exceptionally well.

  Bancroft and Mitchell proved it Tuesday; they posted two victories apiece in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 65th Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship at a pleasant Merchantville Country Club (par 36, 2,871 yards). Bancroft and Mitchell will meet in the final at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

   “It feels good to be in it to win it,” Bancroft, 12, of New Hope, Pa., said. “I’ve been striking the ball well, and I just want to win the trophy.”

   “It’s really exciting. I just try to go out and have fun,” Mitchell, 11, of Wilmington, Del., added.

  Bancroft earned a title shot by defeating Waynesborough Country Club’s Matthew Civitella, 3&2, in the semifinals. He gained a 1-up lead with a solid par on No. 4 (par 4, 300 yards), clearing the water hazard with a 5-wood from 180 yards and lagging a lengthy birdie try to a foot. Bancroft moved to 3-up with a win on the par 3, 174-yard No. 6, where he splashed out to a foot after sending a drive into the right greenside bunker.

  Perhaps Bancroft will follow in the successful footsteps of his favorite golfer. He cites Phil Mickelson, who recently captured The Open Championship at Muirfield, as an influence.

   “His short game is really good. He’s a role model,” Bancroft, an incoming seventh grader at Newtown Friends School, said.

  A lethal putter — and a helping hand from his caddie and brother Davis — boosted Colman into the Final. He ousted Phoenixville Country Club’s Michael Limongelli, the tournament’s medalist, 2&1, before knocking off Rolling Green Golf Club’s Jake Calamaro, 1-up, in the semifinals.

   “It’s really awesome to have my brother caddying for me. He’s just a great brother and really helpful,” Mitchell, a soon-to-be sixth grader at The Tatnall School, said. “He read all of my putts.”

  In his bout against Calamaro, Mitchell seized command with consecutive pars. On No. 3 (par 3, 130 yards), he drilled a 5-iron to 35 feet, rolled his birdie putt eight feet past and sunk the comebacker. Mitchell hammered a hybrid 150 yards to 20 feet on No. 4 (par 4, 300 yards) and again two-putted. A splendid 15-foot slider for 4 on No. 9 (par 4, 378 yards) sealed victory. He nudged a speedy downhiller that dropped on the low side.

   “I got lucky to make a putt on the last hole,” Mitchell said. “I was putting better than ever. I’m really comfortable right now. I’ve just gotten better every day.”

First Flight

   Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Archie Filshill, Jr. defeated Bent Creek Country Club’s Matthew Berkenstock, 4&3, to win the First Flight. Filshill is an incoming eighth grader at Murray Avenue School.

   “I’m very excited,” Filshill, 13, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said. “The week started off bad. I was playing terribly, but winning this brought me up a lot.”

  The Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship is open to players from Member Clubs who are 10 to 13 years of age. Merchantville hosted the event in 2004 and 2009. This year, the event underwent two changes. The Association condensed its four eight-player brackets into two match play grids, and on the event’s first day, players competed in stroke play qualifying as well as a first-round match.

  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 143 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.

Championship Flight
Mitchell d. Calamaro, 1-up
Bancroft d. Civitella, 3&2
9. Colman Mitchell, Wilmington CC d. 1. Michael Limongelli, Phoenixville CC, 2&1
4. Jake Calamaro, Rolling Green GC d. 5. Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley CC 2-up
15. Phillip Bancroft, III, Trenton CC d. 7. Billy Civitella, Aronimink GC, 2&1
6. Matthew Civitella, Waynesborough CC d. 3. Hayden Moffat, GAP Junior Players Club, 2&1

First Flight
Filshill d. Berkenstock, 4&3
1. Archie Filshill, Jr., Huntingdon Valley CC d. 5. Jack Cooley, Kennett Square G&CC, 4&3
2. Matthew Berkenstock, Bent Creek CC d. 6. Andrew Lauerman, Talamore CC, 2&1

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