BMW GAP Team Matches Playoff - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

LuLu Country Club 1 captures second title

LuLu Country Club 1 secured its second BMW GAP Team Matches (GTM) title on Saturday in an as expected tightly-contested Playoff. LuLu edged its nearest competitor Huntingdon Valley Country Club 1, the 2023 Champion, by 3.5 points, 69.5-66, in the four-team Playoff. LuLu 2 finished third with 40.5 points and Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 scored 40 points.

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The BMW GAP Team Matches Playoff includes the four section winners from Division AA, the event’s top tier. Three players of each participating club play at each venue. Each player competes in a four-way match against one foe from another team.

When scores started to populate from each site mid-afternoon, LuLu 1 and Huntingdon Valley 1 emerged as the frontrunners to earn the cherished championship plaque. The decisive points came in the final match of the day at LuLu. In fact, it was also the final match of the Playoff. LuLu1 veteran Scott McLaughlin captured 7.5 out of a possible nine points to push his team to the top.

“I’m a competitor and I’m gonna grind,” said McLaughlin, who joined LuLu in 2016. “I know what it’s like to say I’m three down to this guy and two down to this guy, but I can at least get a point or a half a point. You try and get as many points as you can.

“It’s a battle inside your own head because you’re not really playing for yourself. You’re playing for your team. You don’t want to let your team down. It might be a cliché, but every half point matters.”

McLaughlin, 45, of Furlong, Pa., is now a three-time BMW GTM champion. He was a member of the victorious LuLu squad in 2021 and the championship Commonwealth National Golf Club team in 2009.

LuLu 1’s Jim Sullivan, Jr. was the lone player to sweep his matches. Sullivan tallied nine points visiting his longtime, former home Huntingdon Valley.

“There is an energy here around golf,” said Sullivan, who joined LuLu in 2015. “This place is drawing people for golf and fun. And Jon [Rusk] and the whole program they built here is about that. We have a lot of great players, a mix of young and old. I think the ages range from 20 to 65 on the first two teams.

“Truth is I was hanging on to this first team [spot] for dear life. I played poorly Weeks 2 and 3. But my home course knowledge there, when you’re trying to figure out who are the right 12 guys [to play], makes sense. I played well. I’m certainly happy and proud.”

Sullivan, 49, of Glenside, Pa., was also a member of LuLu’s prior championship team.

Glenn Smeraglio, 64, of Ambler, Pa., has won BMW GTM titles at Yardley, Commonwealth National and LuLu.

“You know every weekend we’re out there beating each other up just trying to get better,” said Smeraglio, the LuLu captain. “This is a culmination of that. This is what everybody’s been driving for: everybody on the first team, everybody on the second team. It’s a relief. I told the guys all year, when somebody steps up and beats Huntingdon Valley at Huntingdon Valley, we are going to win. [Michael R. Brown, Jr., Jim Sullivan and Jack Melville] stepped up over there and scored 22 points. That’s incredible.”

This year’s Playoff included the last three BMW GTM champions. LuLu (2021), Cricket (2022) and Huntingdon Valley (2023). LuLu Country Club 2 already made a piece of history as just the second time a second team from a club made the Playoff. Philadelphia Cricket Club did so in 2018.

BMW GAP Team Matches

The genesis of GAP’s founding in 1897, the BMW GAP Team Matches started with Belmont Golf Association (Aronimink Golf Club today), Merion Cricket Club, Philadelphia Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket fielding a first and second team with six players per side. Merion Cricket’s top squad earned the traditional winner’s wooden plaque. First known as the Interclub Team Matches, the event changed to the Suburban League Matches in 1915 before adopting its current moniker in 1997. BMW has served as the event’s presenting sponsor since 2015. The BMW GAP Team Matches has been contested annually since 1897, save World War II (1943-45), a severe ice storm (1994) and the COVID-19 pandemic (2020).


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

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