GLADWYNE, Pa.– Two days and four rounds into the 122nd BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, Troy Vannucci of Little Mill Country Club is clearly the man to beat. The co-medalist and recent Middle-Amateur Champion swept his way into the Quarterfinals with a pair of dominant 4&3 victories at Philadelphia Country Club (par 71, 6,879 yards). Vannucci stopped Campbell Wolf of Carlisle Country Club in a Round of 16 afternoon match Tuesday after dispatching Connor Sheehan of Tanglewood Manor Golf Club in his Round of 32 morning contest.
Next up, Vannucci faces Michael R. Brown, Jr. of LuLu Country Club at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Both players are in search of a first Amateur title. If Brown were to win the championship, he would be the third player to complete the GAP Grand Slam (joining Chris Lange, Jeff Osberg).
“I had the same feeling as I did yesterday. Basically, I gave myself a lot of opportunities, finding fairways and greens. I tried to take it one shot at a time, put my head down and keep grinding,” said Vannucci, who finished tied atop Monday’s Stroke-Play Qualifying at 6-under 137 along with John Peters of Carlisle Country Club. “I kept it simple. I didn’t do anything crazy if I got in trouble. I left myself in good spots putting wise. I’m pretty familiar where to be on the greens from seeing Philly Country a bunch.”
Vannucci, 30, of Marlton, N.J., has a strong relationship with Philly Country. He has won three of the last five DeBaufre Players Trophy events (Philadelphia Country Club’s invitational for players 25 years of age or older). That course affinity has shown itself this week. He was an easy 1-under in yesterday’s Qualifying round at PCC, and the equivalent of 3-under par in each match at the time of victory Tuesday. Of note, he led both matches from the beginning, winning the first hole of each duel with a birdie.
Vannucci hopes to join Michael McDermott as the only player to win the Middle-Amateur and Amateur in the same year.
“No one cares about your seed once you get into match play,” said Vannucci. “You are just playing your opponent. The No. 32-seed could have just had an off day [prior]. Everyone is good.”
Vannucci is making his fifth appearance in the Amateur match play bracket. His Quarterfinal appearance equals his deepest Amateur run, matching that from a year ago at Cedarbrook Country Club.
Dawson Anders (pictured, above right) of Indian Valley Country Club, the No. 18 seed, ended co-medalist Peters’ tournament with an impressive 2-up win in the Round of 16. Anders, who graduated from Temple University last year and is working on finishing his Masters this summer at his alma mater, and Peters (pictured, above left), a Duke University rising sophomore, put on a quality display.
Peters was white-hot to start, going 2-up after two holes. The long-hitting Peters notched an eagle on No. 1 (par 4, 320 yards) – he almost made a hole-in-one as the ball rolled by the cup and stopped four feet above the hole – and birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 350 yards), when he hit his wedge, again, to four feet.
Anders didn’t panic, though, and won No. 3 (par 5, 581 yards) with an up-and-down birdie from 30 yards to cut the deficit in half. He then drew even on No. 5 (par 3, 167 yards) with a 3 before grabbing the lead for good on No. 7 (par 3, 204 yards) with par, canning a clutch four-footer for the win.
“Winning the third hole was huge,” said Anders, who was a three-year captain for the Owls golf team, including this past season. “I wanted to get one back as quickly as possible. John found the right greenside bunker with his second shot. I got to putt and first and made it.”
Peters closed the gap to 1-down after 10 holes but could never get any closer.
Anders eagled No. 12 (par 5, 576 yards) to offset a Peter’s birdie and move to 2-up. Peters won No. 13 (par 4, 370 yards) with another birdie to return to 1-down but Anders held serve for the rest of the way and finally closed the match out with a conceded par on No. 18 (par 4, 386 yards).
“That was my first eagle of the week,” said Anders, 23, of Telford, Pa. “I hit a 3-wood from 282 yards to three-and-half feet. That win gives me a lot of confidence. It was really tight the entire way. It was a huge grind, exhausting. I couldn’t make any mistakes in that round. I figured if I could hit fairways I could hit a lot of greens and make par.”
Anders has never advanced past the Round of 32 in two prior Amateur match-play appearances.
Anders was the equivalent of 2-under par in that Round of 16 match, Peters was the equivalent of 1 under.
NOTES–There was a 1:06 weather delay starting at 7:48 a.m.
Round of 16
1. Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club, d. 17. Campbell Wolf, Carlisle Country Club, 4&3; 9. Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu Country Club, d. 8. Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club, 3&2; 20. Logan Paczewski, Huntsville Golf Club, d. 4. John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 4&3; 28. Kevin Lydon, Commonwealth National Golf Club, d. 12. R.J. Wren, Honeybrook Golf Club, 6&5; 18. Dawson Anders, Indian Valley Country Club, d. 2. John Peters, Carlisle Country Club, 2-up; 10. Jon Rusk, LuLu Country Club, d. 7. Josh Ryan, The 1912 Club, 19 holes; 3. Jeffrey Cunningham, LuLu Country Club, d. 19. David Mecca, Glen Oak Country Club, 3&1; 22. J.T. Spina, Philadelphia Cricket Club, d. 27. Liam Hart, Spring Mill Country Club, 4&2.
1. Vannucci d. 32. Connor Sheehan, Tanglewood Manor Golf Club, 4&3; 17. Wolf d. 16. John Meyers, Golden Pheasant Golf Course, 4&3; 8. Siegfried d. 25. Chris Ault, Yardley Country Club, 1-up; 9. Brown, Jr. d. 24. Buddy Hansen, Blue Bell Country Club, 20 holes; 4. Brennan d. 29. Nikita Romanov, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association 1-up; 20. Paczewski d. 13. Zach Dilcher, Hartefeld National, 4&3; 28. Lydon d. 5. Austin Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club, 3&2; 12. Wren d. 21. Scott McNeil, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, 5&3; 2. Peters d. 31. Will Holt, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club, 7&6; 18. Anders d. 15, Jalen Griffin, Five Ponds Golf Club, 7&5; 7. Ryan d. 26. Jack Wallace, Riverton Country Club, 6&4; 10. Rusk d. 23. Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook, 5&4; 3. Cunningham d. 30. Anthony Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club, 2-up; 19. Mecca d. 14. Matt Teesdale, The 1912 Club, 6&5. 27. Hart d. 6. Benjamin Smith, Carlisle Country Club, 4&3; 22. Spina d. 11. Ryan Tall, LuLu Country Club, 2-up.
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 Association’s 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 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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