May 19, 2013

Esbenshade, Hagger top Amateur Qualifier at Inniscrone

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Amateur Qualifier

AVONDALE, Pa. — Bent Creek Country Club’s Chris Esbenshade and Fieldstone Golf Club’s Simon Hagger carded respective 3-over-par 73s to share medalist honors in a Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship Qualifier at Inniscrone Golf Club (par 70, 6,364 yards). The two led a 77-player collective vying for one of 17 qualifying positions and ties available for the Championship proper, set for June 18-20 & 22 at Aronimink Golf Club.
  The field scoring average neared 81 by day’s end. Both Esbenshade and Hagger minimized mistakes on the Gil Hanse design. Esbenshade, 37, of Lititz, Pa., cited putting as a contributing factor to his co-medalist status. He reached 10 greens in regulation and executed crucial two-putts for par throughout the day.
   “I left myself with tricky three-footers coming back and made them, which keeps the momentum going,” Esbenshade said. “If you miss those, it makes it tough.”
  After a missed green resulted in a bogey on No. 1 (par 4, 402 yards), Esbenshade responded with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 345 yards) and 3 (par 4, 301 yards). He hit a wedge 110 yards to four feet on the first, and 80 yards to five feet on the latter. Esbenshade tugged a 4-iron right of the No. 4 (par 4, 439 yards) green, chipped on and failed to execute a 20-foot comebacker for par. He dropped back to even with a birdie on the par 3, 159-yard 11th hole, knocking a 7-iron to 15 feet. Conservative play coming in led to bogeys on Nos. 12 (par 4, 457 yards), 14 (par 3, 195 yards) and 17 (par 4, 445 yards).
  Now three years removed from hip surgery, Esbenshade, a member of the 2009 GAP Compher Cup, still experiences pain because of impingement, but enjoys competing nonetheless and looks forward to Aronimink.
   “I’m just happy to be able to play,” he said.
  A practice round with friend Bob Bechtold lifted Hagger, 43, of Hockessin, Del., onto the medalist platform.
   “I owe this one to Bob. He showed me where to be aggressive and where to be careful here,” Hagger said. “I didn’t get into too much trouble. I played a couple of the tough par 4s really well.”
  Hagger, who represented the Delaware State Golf Association in the 2012 USGA Men’s State Team Championship, inked red on two of his first three holes. He drilled a 9-iron 155 yards to five feet on No. 1. After nearly driving the No. 3 green, Hagger eased a chip to six feet and cleaned up the birdie putt. Consecutive bogeys concluded an otherwise pleasant outward tour. Hagger missed the No. 8 (par 3, 185 yards) green with a hybrid and left his ensuing chip significantly short. On the par 4, 433-yard No. 9, he watched his 6-iron approach reach the putting surface, only to slide off upon contact. Hagger held onto an even-par score until the 18th hole (par 4, 305 yards), where he hooked consecutive hybrids into the hazard and registered a triple bogey.
   “That was a disappointing end to a pretty solid round,” he said.
  That end, however, doesn’t hold a candle to the disappointment Hagger felt last month in a GAP Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier at Downingtown Country Club. Inside the cut with five holes to play, Hagger signed for a 9 on the par 5, 495-yard 13th hole and failed to advance into the Championship proper, which begins this Wednesday on his home course.
   “That was a disappointing start to the season,” Hagger, an England native, said. “I was really hoping to play in that [the Middle-Amateur]. I think my game’s in pretty good shape right now. I’ve been working with Jim Larkin (Fieldstone’s head professional) on a lot of things. I’m very excited to play Aronimink. It’s another great course I haven’t played.”
  At the end of the day, the cut line fell to 77.
  Monday’s qualifier was the last of three to determine the 113th Amateur field, which also includes exempt players.
  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 143 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.

Qualifiers
Name, Club
Scores
Chris Esbenshade, Bent Creek Country Club
73
Simon Hagger, Fieldstone Golf Club
73
Matthew Teesdale, Commonwealth National Golf Club
74
Paul Carbone, Jr., Old York Road Country Club
74
Matthew Walsh, Overbrook Golf Club
75
Edward Kelly, Jr., Old York Road Country Club
75
Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club
75
Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club
75
Matthew Crescenzo, Philmont Country Club
76
John Fasy, Wilmington Country Club
76
Zachary Falone, Rolling Green Golf Club
76
G. Patrick Dougherty, Philadelphia Cricket Club
76
Joshua Isler, Chester Valley Golf Club
77
Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club
77
Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf Club
77
William Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club
77
Dwight Diorio, Rolling Green Golf Club
77

Failed to qualify
Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club
78
Mike Amole, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
78
Thomas Lindberg, St. Davids Golf Club
79
Brian Corbett, Huntsville Golf Club
79
Tom Piersanti, Saucon Valley Country Club
79
Doug Marcincin, Northampton Country Club
79
Jack Russell, Philadelphia Cricket Club
79
Greg O’Connor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
79
David Justi, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve
80
Marc Oliveri, Jr., Lancaster Country Club
80
Matt Grubb, Overbrook Golf Club
80
John Manfredi, Sand Barrens Golf Club
80
Alan Wagenschnur, Back Creek Golf Club
80
Mike Dunn, Little Mill Country Club
80
Tim Westfall, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve
80
Gerald Bowes, Jr., Whitemarsh Valley Country Club
81
Joe Kerrigan, Jr., Llanerch Country Club
81
Ethan Means, Inniscrone Golf Club
81
Jim Ryan, Waynesborough Country Club
81
Alexander Maguire, Jr., Brookside Country Club
81
Kevin Davis, Commonwealth National Golf Club
81
Daniel Myers, French Creek Golf Club
82
John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club
82
Michael DiGiandomenico, French Creek Golf Club
82
Tom Watchko, Plymouth Country Club
82
R. Morgan Dougherty, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
82
Brad McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club
82
Ryan Kline, Golden Oaks Golf Club
82
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country Club
83
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club
83
Gerald Newell, Jr., DuPont Country Club
83
Santo Lafoca, Huntsville Golf Club
83
Michael Decapua, Northampton Country Club
83
Brad Sokol, Green Valley Country Club
84
Mark Wachter, DuPont Country Club
85
Kyle Allan, Phoenixville Country Club
85
Jared Palubinski, Golden Oaks Golf Club
85
John Samaha, Old York Road Country Club
86
Rob Beaver, Makefield Highlands Golf Club
86
George Henry, Hartefeld National
86
Liam Fahey, Overbrook Golf Club
87
Jim Witt, Commonwealth National Golf Club
87
John Leighton, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
87
Ellis Chandler, Honeybrook Golf Club
88
Robert Dietrich, Makefield Highlands Golf Club
89
Michael Hodges, The Springhaven Club
89
Ari Flaisher, McCall Golf & Country Club
92
Michael Book, Honeybrook Golf Club
94
Mark Quigley, Blue Bell Country Club
WD
Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club
WD
Jack Clough, Wilmington Country Club
WD
William McCrossan, Applebrook Golf Club
NS
Dave Fardon, Philadelphia Publinks GA
WD
Bobby Kershner, Spring Ford Country Club
WD
David Barnett, Inniscrone Golf Club
WD
Christopher Thude, Torresdale-Frankford Country Club
NS
Sean Coyle, Llanerch Country Club
WD

WD – withdrawal; NS – no show

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