Jul 10, 2009

Bent Creek CC to host 105th Open Championship

  LITITZ, Pa.–The Golf Association of Philadelphia will present its 105th Open Championship July 22 at picturesque Bent Creek CC.

  Seventy-two players will take to the Jay Moorish-designed course striving to win the historic one-day, 36-hole event. This marks the second time that Bent Creek CC will serve as the host site.

  “It’s nice for us to host any of the major, regional championships like this. We’re excited about it,” professional Terry Hertzog said.

  Bent Creek CC hosted the Open Championship in 1997, when it was shortened to 18 holes due to severe weather. Last year’s Open was also cut short for the same reason.

  Hertzog is one of two players who will represent the home club (Chris Esbenshade is the other). Although he knows Bent Creek’s intricacies, Hertzog doesn’t feel that he holds an advantage over his fellow competitors.

  “There are pluses and minuses,” he said. “Yes, you do know the golf course better, yet you’re distracted and there’s more pressure to play better. My expectations aren’t any different than any other event.”

  Hertzog won the 2001 Open. Other previous titleholders in this year’s field include Stuart Ingraham of MGOLF Driving Range and Learning Center (1994), Brian Kelly of Bucknell GC (2000, 2003), amateur Chris Lange of Overbrook GC (2004), Graham Dendler, Trenton CC’s professional (2005), David Quinn of Links GC (2006), amateur Mark Miller of Yardley CC (2007) and defending-champion Greg Pieczynski of the Academy of Golf Center.

  Other notable amateurs who will also battle for this year’s crown include 2009 Middle-Amateur champion Michael Brown of Philadelphia Publinks GA, 2009 Junior Boys’ champion Zachary Herr of Jericho National GC, 2008 Patterson Cup winner Glenn Smeraglio of Commonwealth National GC, 2009 Amateur runner-up James Kania, Jr., of Overbrook GC and Michael McDermott of Merion GC, a five-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year who finished as last year’s low amateur. In fact, the Open Championship is the only Golf Association of Philadelphia Major that McDermott has yet to capture. The Bryn Mawr, Pa., resident is trying to “pull his game together” as he prepares for this year’s contest.

  “Last year, I was playing the best golf of my life through June and July. This year, I haven’t been playing as well,” McDermott said. “I’m trying to find my swing.”

  Another amateur who has his sights set on the Open hardware is Conrad Von Borsig of Concord CC, the reigning Amateur Champion. Since his triumph in last month’s Major at Stonewall, which earned him an exemption into the Open, the Swarthmore, Pa., resident has competed in tournaments in South Carolina and Virginia and has refined his game.

  “I’ve just been practicing. I’m playing really well still,” Von Borsig, 22, said. “One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to win the [William Hyndman, III] Player of the Year. Winning these tournaments, I should have a good chance to do that. Hopefully, I’ll finish strong in the Open and keep the lead in the point standings.”

  This is Von Borsig’s first Open Championship.

  “I always forgot to sign up and got confused about the qualifying before. I kind of missed out on it,” he said.

  For the third straight year, the Golf Association of Philadelphia will serve as the sole administrator of the Open. In 2007, the field size was increased from 60 to 72 players, and the purse for professionals raised to $40,000, the most lucrative in the history of the tournament.

  Forty-two players secured a spot in the field by qualifying at either Woodstone CC or Penn Oaks GC. The remaining 30 earned exemptions based on previous results. In all 37 professionals and 35 amateurs will compete. Participants include professionals who are members in good standing of the Philadelphia Section PGA, head professionals of GAP Member Clubs and amateurs who are members of member clubs and have handicap index of 7.0 or less.

  As always, the public and media are welcome to attend.

  Bent Creek CC is located at 620 Bent Creek Drive, Lititz, Pa. Click here for directions.

  NOTES–Frank Dobbs was the last professional to repeat as Open Champion (1991-92). The last amateur to do so was R. Jay Sigel (1986-87)…Only three players (R. Jay Sigel, William Hyndman, III and Chris Lange) have won the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Open Championship, Amateur Championship and Patterson Cup. Lange has captured all four of the organization’s Majors (the Middle-Amateur Championship began in 1984)…Forty-five clubs will be represented in this year’s Open.

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