Jun 14, 2002

Bartolacci nets medalist honors at Amateur Championship qualifying, again

RIVERTON, N.J.-Christian Bartolacci of Jericho National GC followed a morning round 69 at Torresdale-Frankford CC (par 70, 6,260 yards) with an afternoon score of 66 at Riverton CC (par 71, 6,361 yards) for a two-round score of 6-under-par 135 and medalist honors at the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 102nd Amateur Championship on Tuesday.

It is the second straight year Bartolacci has finished atop the Amateur qualifying standings. Last year, the 22-year-old Temple University graduate posted a qualifying best 2-under-par 142 at Jericho National GC/Doylestown CC. Bartolacci, by virtue of his medalist honors, will be the No. 2 seed in match play, which begins tomorrow at Riverton CC. Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, the defending champion, is the No.1 seed for match play.

The first and second rounds of match play begin tomorrow at Riverton CC with quarterfinals and semifinals scheduled for Thursday. The 36-hole final is set for Saturday.

Bartolacci was pleased with finishing atop the Amateur qualifying field, but was more pleased at earning a spot into the Philadelphia Open at Pine Valley GC on July 15. The top 10 finishers, who registered for the Open qualifying, advanced into the Pine Valley field.

“I went out there thinking I just wanted to play Pine Valley,” said Bartolacci. “I didn’t even think I was playing the Philadelphia Amateur. I said I have to win this thing because I wanted to go to Pine Valley. That’s all I thought about all week,”

Bartolacci has teed it up at the hallowed ground of Pine Valley just once before, two years ago in a practice round with Temple. Now, the Langhorne resident, who hopes to turn professional one day, will head to South Jersey with a chance to match his game against the top local professionals and amateur alike.

“It’s a good gauge,” said Bartolacci of the Open. “I’m in no rush to make a decision [on turning pro]. And I’m not going to make a decision out of my head, that’s for sure. The best player I ever saw was Jim Sullivan Jr., and he’s Monday qualifying. He would beat anybody around here.”

During one stretch of his afternoon round, Bartolacci birdied six of seven holes, including a chip in on No. 6 (par 3, 208 years). He recorded only nine putts on the front nine en route to a 5-under-par 32, He had 16 putts on the back and carded and even-par 34.

“I didn’t make a six or a double bogey all day,” said Bartolacci. “I wanted to stay away from a big number. In the morning, I made three birdies and two bogeys but didn’t make any putts. That 69 could have easily been a 66.”

P. Chet Walsh of Philadelphia CC carded a 68 and 71 at Riverton and T-F, respectively, to finish with a 2-under-par total of 139 and earn the No. 3 seed.

Walsh reached the semifinals of the Philadelphia Amateur in 1990 and 1993 and the quarterfinals in 1996 and 1997. Last year, the 37-year-old of Norristown fell in a playoff to make the match play field.

Chris Lange of Overbrook GC, 47, a three-time Amateur champion, and Mike Moffat of Commonwealth National GC, 34 of Warrington, fired two-round totals of 140, and will be seeded No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Lange carded a 74 at Torresdale-Frankford CC in the morning before posting a 66, the co-low score of the day, in the afternoon at Riverton CC.

Moffat’s top finish Amateur was a second-round appearance last year at Jericho National GC.

Tom Borsello of Fieldstone Golf Club carded a 69 at Torresdale in the a.m. and a 72 at Riverton. He’ll be the fifth seed.

“I wanted to make it to Pine Valley,” said Borsello, 48 of Wilmington, Del. “I’ve played it once before as a guest, but I wanted to make it on my own accord.”

Sean Seese, 18, of Huntingdon Valley CC carded a 69 at Riverton in the morning and a 72 Torresdale-Frankford in the afternoon to take the No. 7 seed.

The La Salle High School graduate is heading to St. Joseph’s University in the fall, as is No. 22 seed Billy Stewart of Llanerch CC.

“I knew if I could beat Billy I’d be in good shape,” said Seese. “Don’t they say you have to beat the guys in your group?”

The score from the two-round qualifier will count toward the Silver Cross, which is awarded to the player who turns in the low 72-hole total from the Philadelphia Amateur medal play and the Patterson Cup.

A total of 132 players attempted to qualify for the Amateur field. They played 36 holes of medal play.

Glenn Smeraglio of Yardley CC, Chris Hynoski of Yardley CC, Charles Dowds, III of North Hills CC, Ken Matt of Lu Lu CC, and Frank McFadden of Overbrook GC survived an eight-man playoff for the final five match play options.

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