May 24, 2012

Cricket’s John Brennan gets his first Major title; takes 29th Middle-Amateur Championship

*Player of the Year standings
*2012 Middle-Amateur preview
*Day One results

MALVERN, Pa. – John Brennan is a high school social studies teacher by trade. Thursday, the member of Philadelphia Cricket Club, penned the 29th chapter in Golf Association of Philadelphia Middle-Amateur Championship history.

  Brennan entered the second and final round of the year’s first Major ahead by two shots. He methodically coped with a treacherous golf course and difficult scoring conditions at Chester Valley Golf Club (par 70, 6,547 yards) – the scoring average today was a robust 79.648 – to maintain that distance throughout over rival Ben Smith of Little Mill Country Club. Smith started the day in second place.

  Brennan posted a second-round 4-over 74 while Smith, one of his two playing partners, carded a 76. The McDermott brothers, Michael of Merion Golf Club and Brian of Llanerch Country Club, finished tied for third at 7 over. Michael McDermott carded the day’s low score, a 2-over 72. Brian posted a 73.

  “It’s overwhelming. It’s really tough to put into words,” said Brennan on winning his first Golf Association of Philadelphia Major Championship. “To put my name on a GAP trophy really means a lot. Words can’t describe it. The quality of play [in the Golf Association of Philadelphia] is so good. I was fortunate to get on a little streak yesterday and I was able to follow it up today. I made some nice chips and putts coming down the stretch.”

  Brennan, 33, of Audubon, Pa., is the first Philadelphia Cricket Club member to win the Mid.-Am. since Rob Savarese, Jr. in 2003.

  Scoring fell victim to steady winds and hard greens throughout the day before Brennan secured the victory with a clutch flat stick. It helped that Brennan caddied at Chester Valley from 1998-2001 while at Lebanon Valley College.

  “I felt comfortable out there,” said Brennan.

  Nursing that same two-stroke advantage he held at the start on No. 12 (par 4, 422 yards), albeit with some prior round twists and turns, Brennan drained a surprising 25-foot par save after hitting his drive into the right trees and being forced to chip out 75 yards short of the green on his second shot. Smith’s tee ball, on the other hand, was no better. It found the left hazard, and after a sideways chip out, he watched his third shot, a 6-iron from 165 yards out, stop short and left of the green. Smith needed three more strokes to finish.

  When it was over, Brennan stayed at even for the tournament. Smith jumped to 4 over.

  “I didn’t make a putt all day,” said Brennan. “I hit it two cups out to the left. I figured if I made it, Ben might press to make his.”

  Added Smith, 25, of Voorhees, N.J. “That hurt. You always expect your opponent to make the putt. When his went in, though, I said in my mind that’s it.”

  Smith wasn’t done, however. He gained a stroke back on each of the next two holes.

  He made par on No. 13 (par 4, 449 yards) and a two-putt birdie on No. 14 (par 5, 466 yards) in comparison to a Brennan bogey and par.

  Both players missed the green on the 15th (par 3, 153 yards), Brennan to the right and Smith long. Brennan’s ensuing chip skidded to a stop some 15 feet left. Smith lofted a lob wedge to eight feet and it appeared he may be a stroke closer, one back, with three holes to play when the two completed the hole. Brennan, however, wanted none of that and once again found the jar for a clutch par save. Smith made his, too, although he left the green somewhat shocked.

  “When I crossed the road to get to 15, I said this is it right here,” said Brennan. “You have to hit some good shots down the stretch. The putt was huge because I had a feeling Ben was going to make that putt for par. That kept me going down the stretch.”

  “I hit an 8-iron very solid. It was all over the stick. I was thinking I was going to be like Tommy Hyland and make a hole-in-one there today,” said Smith. “He made his and I made mine. That kept me in it.”

  Brennan ended Smith’s hopes and dreams on the next hole (No. 16, par 4, 439 yards). He rocketed a drive down the left side and hit a gap wedge from 118 yards to six inches for birdie. Smith found trouble off both the tee and around the green. He would finish with a double bogey six.

  “I just wanted to get it in going to the house after that,” said Brennan.

  Brennan’s been a regular Mid.-Am. contender, finishing in the Top 9 in four of the prior six events.

  For Smith, this was his highest Golf Association of Philadelphia placing. He did finish second in last year’s New Jersey State Amateur at Trump National Golf Club – Bedminster.

  Brennan’s victory also earned him an exemption into July’s Open Championship at famed Pine Valley Golf Club.

  “To punch my ticket to get in Pine Valley is unbelievable,” said Brennan.

  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 145 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.

NOTES– The aforementioned Tom Hyland of Little Mill CC recorded his 11th hole-in-one with a 7-iron on No. 15 (par 3, 153 yards) … the cut-line for the Mid.-Am. fell at 80 yesterday. A total of 71 players advanced to today’s final round.

Name, clubScore
John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club67-74–141
Benjamin Smith, Little Mill Country Club69-76–145
Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club75-72–147
Brian McDermott, Llanerch Country Club74-73–147
Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club72-76–148
Michael Brown, Philadelphia Publinks GA71-77–148
Eric Williams, Makefield Highlands Golf Club75-74–149
Tim Freeh, Back Creek Golf Club73-76–149
Anthony Apostolico, Back Creek Golf Club75-74–149
Michael Domenick, Phoenixville Country Club78-73–151
Scott McNeil, Philadelphia Publinks GA75-76–151
Rich Pruchnik, Back Creek Golf Club72-79–151
Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club73-79–152
Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club79-73–152
David Shields, Philadelphia Publinks GA76-76–152
Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club75-77–152
Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club78-75–153
Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club79-74–153
Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club74-79–153
Scott McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club77-76–153
Joe Viechnicki, Saucon Valley Country Club76-77–153
Ronald Jamarowicz, Hartefeld National76-77–153
James Gillespie, Wedgwood Country Club76-77–153
Rodney James, Golden Oaks Golf Club77-76–153
Jack Anderson, Makefield Highlands Golf Club75-78–153
Ryan Gelrod, Philadelphia Cricket Club79-75–154
Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club77-77–154
Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club78-76–154
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club79-75–154
Robert Bechtold, Loch Nairn Golf Club76-78–154
William Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club75-79–154
Mark Peterson, Philadelphia Cricket Club79-76–155
Steve Lubin, Five Ponds Golf Club75-80–155
Joshua Isler, Chester Valley Golf Club74-81–155
Jack Wallace, Philadelphia Cricket Club79-76–155
Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club79-76–155
James Donnelly, Merion Golf Club78-77–155
Christopher Lange, Overbrook Golf Club77-78–155
Michael Moffat, Commonwealth National Golf Club77-78–155
Francis McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club80-75–155
Paul Kupcha, Fieldstone Golf Club76-80–156
Robert Cunningham, Overbrook Golf Club79-77–156
Lance Oberparleiter, Little Mill Country Club78-79–157
Matthew Finger, Woodcrest Country Club77-80–157
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club79-78–157
Mark Coassolo, Brookside C.C. of Allentown76-81–157
Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club74-84–158
Michael Walker, Loch Nairn Golf Club78-80–158
William Naylor, Applebrook Golf Club79-79–158
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club76-83–159
Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club80-79–159
G. Patrick Dougherty, Philadelphia Cricket Club74-85–159
David Brookreson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club80-79–159
Louis Giovi, Mercer Oaks Golf Course77-83–160
Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf Club73-87–160
Frank Corrado, Jr., Jericho National Golf Club78-82–160
Neil Gordon, Five Ponds Golf Club79-81–160
Adam Mastone, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia80-80–160
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club79-82–161
Bryan Ott, Silver Creek Country Club80-81–161
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club77-86–163
Dave Fardon, Philadelphia Publinks GA80-83–163
Chris Hunger, Wedgwood Country Club80-83–163
Santo Lafoca, Huntsville Golf Club80-84–164
Joseph Roeder, Links Golf Club80-84–164
Michael Beran, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve80-85–165
Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club80-87–167
Matt Maurer, Bent Creek Country Club78-92–170
George Griffaton, Brookside Country Club80-90–170
Thomas Brennan, Five Ponds Golf Club79-92–171
Mark Walker, Laurel Creek Country Club75-WD–WD
Failed to qualify
Robert Loftus, Overbrook Golf Club81
Elias Chua, Fieldstone Golf Club81
Simon Hagger, Fieldstone Golf Club81
Chris Hynoski, Mercer Oaks Golf Course81
Matthew Walsh, Overbrook Golf Club81
Andy Achenbach, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve81
Peter Moran, Edgmont Country Club81
Ryan Jordan, Tavistock Country Club81
Jeffrey Huntzinger, Philadelphia Publinks GA81
Tom Grady, West Chester Golf & Country Club81
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club82
Sean Ryan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club82
David West, Whitford Country Club82
Ray Pyontek, Yardley Country Club82
Kenneth Matt, Mercer Oaks Golf Course83
Grant Skyllas, Moselem Springs Golf Club83
John Simone, Philmont Country Club83
Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club83
Scott Orr, Brookside Country Club83
Paul Bickford, Little Mill Country Club83
Tom Spano, Llanerch Country Club83
Bill Albertus, Penn Oaks Golf Club83
Michael Santerian, Wedgwood Country Club83
Robert Good, Merion Golf Club83
Sean Coyle, Llanerch Country Club83
Patrick McCauley, Applebrook Golf Club83
Stephen Seiden, Llanerch Country Club84
Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club84
Brian Fisher, Philadelphia Publinks GA84
Arthur Herling, III, Cedarbrook Country Club84
Christopher Lucci, Brookside Country Club84
Jason Barkley, Moselem Springs Golf Club84
Tim Anderson, Philadelphia Publinks GA85
Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club85
Patrick Phillips, Spring Ford Country Club85
Tom Piersanti, Saucon Valley Country Club85
Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club85
Ivan McBride, Five Ponds Golf Club85
Mark Kosko, Sea Oaks Golf Club85
John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club85
Andrew Carnevale, North Hills Country Club85
Gregg Angelillo, Moselem Springs Golf Club86
Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club86
Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course86
Steven Budenz, Makefield Highlands Golf Club86
Gordon Jamieson, Merion Golf Club86
Blake Cleary, Wilmington Country Club86
Michael Fagan, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club86
Peter Landreth, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club87
Jim Braunsberg, Blue Bell Country Club87
Michael Casella, Northampton Country Club88
Jonathan Shevlin, North Hills Country Club89
Timothy Whartenby, Northampton Valley Country Club89
Patrick McCusker, Jr., Plymouth Country Club89
Mark Hodgson, Burlington Country Club91
Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock Country ClubWD
Ryan McCarty, Little Mill Country ClubWD
John Aloisio, Running Deer Golf ClubWD
Alexander Maguire, Jr., Brookside Country ClubWD
Christopher Terebesi, Honeybrook Golf ClubWD

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