HAVERTOWN, Pa. — Two of this season’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Major champions will get a chance to elevate their accolades on a national stage, once again, fully equipped with momentum and a medal. | Scorecards | Photo gallery | Notebook | William Hyndman, III POY standings |
Middle-Amateur champion Matthew Mattare and BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion Michael McDermott fired 1-under-par 70s, the lone red figures on the day, giving the accomplished pair a share of medalist honors in a U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier at Llanerch Country Club (par 71, 6,770 yards) Monday.
Also qualifying was McDermott’s younger brother, Brian, who punched a ticket to the Championship proper in his first attempt while playing on his home track. He, along with Aronimink Golf Club’s Dan Bernard, Tavistock Country Club’s Adam Warner, and former Rider University standout Eric LeFante of Florham, Park, N.J., also grabbed spots available on a sizzling summer day.
Sean Seese of Huntingdon Valley Country Club outlasted his clubmate Jeff Osberg, the reigning Patterson Cup and Open Champion, on the second playoff hole to secure the seventh and final qualifying spot. Seese converted a two-putt par from 30 feet, while Osberg uncharacteristically three-putted from 12 feet.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur will take place Sept. 10-15 at Stonewall, an Association Member Club nestled away in a quaint, remote corner of Chester Country.
Lifting the J. Wood Platt Trophy at Merion Golf Club, McDermott’s playing home, is a recent moment that will be hard to top in an amateur career swamped with accolades. Qualifying for what will be his first local USGA championship appearance is the first small step in trying to do so.
Making the turn at 1 over wasn’t ideal for McDermott after starting on Llanerch’s back nine. He knew that an over-par number wasn’t going to be safe. He corrected that quickly, on No. 4 (par 3, 205 yards), with 30-footer for birdie to get back to even. The next par 3 was also kind to McDermott once he stuck his trusty 5-iron to two feet, which pushed him into red figures.
“That was really good. Here I am, sitting at even par, playing what is arguably the hardest hole on the course. To steal one there was huge,” said the 41-year-old McDermott.
Just getting into the Mid-Am field for the 10-time GAP Major winner is more important than most would think. McDermott has come up short on both occasions when trying to qualify for a national championship in the area he has dominated for the last decade. Most notably, he missed out on Merion’s 2005 U.S. Amateur in result of a late-qualifying miscue at Llanerch, the club he grew up at.
“I have demons [on No. 9.]. I had made 10 previous USGA championships in a row before that – all I had to do was keep it in play and I would have made it to Merion. Then I hit it [out-of-bounds right]. It broke the streak and it broke my heart,” said McDermott, who has played in eight previous U.S. Mid-Amateurs (2001-04, 2007, 2013 and 2015). “I stepped away from the ball there, because I could still hear so many of the members here giving me a hard time about what I did in ’05. That was fresh in my mind.”
Today wasn’t a day for heartbreak. With knowledge where he stood, qualifying-wise, on that evil-spirited tee, McDermott played it “miles left” to the 10th fairway. While he stepped up to hit his second shot, sprinklers rained down on him. It didn’t faze him. McDermott placed his approach shot safely on the green and two-putted for par. Demons be gone.
Similar to today, the Bryn Mawr, Pa. resident will head to Stonewall with local knowledge to boot. McDermott’s first noteworthy-amateur run came at Stonewall back in 2000, when he reached the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Final.
“I hadn’t really done anything in a golf tournament before that. Even though I lost in a crazy 38-hole match [to Little Mill Country Club’s Michael Hyland], I have very fond memories of that place,” he said. “The locals will have some home-field advantage over the rest of the field there.”
Mattare took home his first GAP Major this season in the Middle-Amateur presented by Callaway Golf at Waynesborough Country Club. With today’s qualification, which he says “is always more stressful than the actual championship itself,” Mattare earned a fourth chance at a national title.
Two avoidable bogeys to end the round almost cost Mattare medalist honors. A tough three-putt from the top shelf was the result on No. 8 (par 3, 219 yards). An 18-inch par attempt clipped the edge on No. 9 (par 5, 493 yards), meaning a closing bogey ended what was otherwise a fantastic round. Walking away from it, Mattare was pleased overall with the outcome after earning another national championship invitation from the USGA.
“I came out relaxed, and just wanted to be confident. In these qualifiers, you need to tell yourself you belong. You need to tell yourself, ‘There are seven spots. You are one of the seven best Mid.-Am. players out here, so go out and prove it.’,” said Mattare, 30, of Jersey City, N.J.
He’s proven it so far, especially on the big stage. In his debut Mid-Amateur appearance, in 2012 at Conway Farms Golf Club (Lake Forest, Ill.), Mattare advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Canada’s Garrett Rank, 3&2.
An opening-round, 3-under 67 paired with a 2-under-69 in the second round earned medalist honors for stroke-play qualifying in 2013, held at the Country Club of Birmingham. There he went on to fall in the first round of match play to Davis Boland, 2&1.
His most recent appearance, in 2014, was his most memorable. Besides the fact that he advanced to the third round for the second time in three years, that playing rendition was held on Mattare’s home track – the same club that his father, Gene, serves as General Manager and Director of Golf.
“I’ll always have good memories of that one,” said Mattare. “The brighter the lights, the more fun it is. Once you get there, it’s just great. I always love the crowd and the pressure. Plus, anytime where the ultimate prize is a ticket to Augusta, you’re going to care even that much more.”
The best nine of the day belonged to Warner, a Pittsburgh, Pa. transplant who arrived in Philadelphia thanks to the Drexel University golf program. Warner, who played for the Dragons on scholarship from 1997 to 2001, made early noise after making the turn at 4 under on Llanerch’s back nine.
“That’s probably a low for me on a nine, I have to admit,” said the 37-year-old who joined Tavistock two years ago. “When I made the turn, I was pretty pumped up and really tried to keep it going, but the first-four stretch is tough here. After those holes, I just had to grind it out from there in. This is a really thinking man’s course, and I’m happy to have finished where I did.”
Two bogeys and a double on Llanerch’s front kept Warner out of red numbers, but not out of his first U.S. Mid-Amateur. Thanks to his local and Drexel ties, he’ll make the short trip to Stonewall with a plethora of support.
“It’s a great honor for me. Especially with the national championship being a local GAP club, with my family and friends around, I’m expecting it to be even more special,” said Warner, of Haddon Township, N.J.
This was the second and final U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelpia this season. The first came last week at Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon) on Aug. 9.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 151 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.
|Matthew Mattare, Jersey City, N.J.||70|
|Michael McDermott, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||70|
|Adam Warner, Haddon Township, N.J.||71|
|Eric Lefante, Florham Park, N.J.||71|
|Brian McDermott, Media, Pa.||72|
|Dan Bernard, Philadelphia, Pa.||72|
|*Sean Seese, Rydal, Pa.||73|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Jeffrey Osberg, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||73|
|*Parker Williams, Bethesda, Md.||73|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Frank Kohute, Newfield, N.J.||73|
|*Scott Ehrlich, Berwyn, Pa.||73|
|Dan Crockett, Franklin, Tenn.||74|
|James Kania, Jr., Haverford, Pa.||74|
|Roger Newsom, Virginia Beach, Va.||74|
|Benjamin Smith, Philadelphia, Pa.||75|
|Brian Gillespie, Newtown Square, Pa.||75|
|Carlo Fitti, Drexel Hill, Pa.||75|
|Chris Gambacurta, Greencastle, Pa.||75|
|Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa.||75|
|Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.||75|
|Joe April, Conshohocken, Pa.||75|
|John Samaha, Hatboro, Pa.||75|
|Jon Rudisill, Philadelphia, Pa.||75|
|Thomas Gramigna, Haddonfield, N.J.||75|
|Tyler Brewington, Red Bank, N.J.||75|
|William Howard, West Chester, Pa.||75|
|John Browndorf, Jersey City, N.J.||76|
|Peter Barron, III, Mays Landing, N.J.||76|
|Robert Bechtold, Avondale, Pa.||76|
|Stephen Seiden, Newtown Square, Pa.||76|
|Tom Spano, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||76|
|Andrew Jaskel, Bensalem, Pa.||77|
|Bill McGuinness, Haddonfield, N.J.||77|
|Chris Meares, Turnersville, N.J.||77|
|Cory Reighard, Downingtown, Pa.||77|
|Dan Brown, Broomall, Pa.||77|
|Frank Nattle, Phoenixville, Pa.||77|
|Kevin Cahill, Wayne, Pa.||77|
|Mark Hill, Media, Pa.||77|
|Michael Brown, Maple Shade, N.J.||77|
|Sean Coyle, Wayne, Pa.||77|
|Thomas Brennan, Covington, La.||77|
|Timothy Anderson, Wilkes Barre, Pa.||77|
|Chris Storck, Sinking Spring, Pa.||78|
|John Lalley, Ardmore, Pa.||78|
|Kevin Watford, Franklin, Tenn.||78|
|Michael McComb, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.||78|
|Paul Liebezeit, Berwyn, Pa.||78|
|Robert Good, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||78|
|Alexander Penza, Broomall, Pa.||79|
|Chris Lange, Jr., Bryn Mawr, Pa.||79|
|Daniel Mahoney, Feasterville, Pa.||79|
|David Liotta, West Chester, Pa.||79|
|James O’Connor, West Chester, Pa.||79|
|Jason Loehrs, Havertown, Pa.||79|
|Kevin McDermott, Conshohocken, Pa.||79|
|Lodie Van Tonder, Pennsville, N.J.||79|
|Michael Kacelowicz, Orwigsburg, Pa.||79|
|Patrick Rutter, Wyomissing, Pa.||79|
|Paul Kovalcheck, Aston, Pa.||79|
|Rand Mendez, Wilmington, Del.||79|
|Ryan Willingham, New York, N.Y.||79|
|Samuel Sherrill, Exton, Pa.||79|
|Steve Oh, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||79|
|J.J. Berenato, Philadelphia, Pa.||80|
|James Wingerter, Villanova, Pa.||80|
|Jim Donnelly, Devon, Pa.||80|
|Matthew Crescenzo, Cheltenham, Pa.||80|
|Michael Korcuba, Sicklerville, N.J.||80|
|Patrick Forbes, Toronto, ON||80|
|Eddie Johnson, Havertown, Pa.||81|
|Edward Kelly, Ambler, Pa.||81|
|Jay Desjardins, Malvern, Pa.||81|
|Joe Kerrigan, Jr., Ardmore, Pa.||81|
|John Murphy, Cape May Court House, N.J.||81|
|Joseph Fabrizio, Jr., West Chester, Pa.||81|
|Kevin Rossi, Scranton, Pa.||81|
|Michael Hodges, Media, Pa.||81|
|P. Chet Walsh, Wayne, Pa.||81|
|Stephen Hudacek, Scranton, Pa.||81|
|Tyler Noll, Wyomissing, Pa.||81|
|Daniel Rexon, Cherry Hill, N.J.||82|
|Gary Daniels, Berwyn, Pa.||82|
|Nicholas Verrecchio, Havertown, Pa.||82|
|William Naylor, Malvern, Pa.||82|
|Daniel Rudershausen, Kennett Square, Pa.||83|
|David Elliott, Radnor, Pa.||83|
|Jarred Texter, Millersville, Pa.||83|
|John Leboeuf, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||83|
|Trey Marucci, Los Angeles, Calif.||83|
|Joseph Perese, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||84|
|Randy Blouin, Hatboro, Pa.||84|
|William Gamgort, Hockessin, Del.||84|
|Anthony List, Havertown, Pa.||85|
|Charles Scalzott, Egg Harbor Twp., N.J.||85|
|John Alterman, New Hope, Pa.||85|
|John Morgan, Mountainside, N.J.||85|
|Kyle Ginty, Ambler, Pa.||85|
|Michael Beran, Phoenixville, Pa.||85|
|Michael Hammett, Hattiesburg, Miss.||85|
|Michael Rogers, Wayne, Pa.||85|
|Edward Westley, Havertown, Pa.||86|
|Sean Torpey, Doylestown, Pa.||86|
|Brandon Murdock, Philadelphia, Pa.||87|
|Sam McFall, Wyndmoor, Pa.||87|
|Thomas Grady, West Chester, Pa.||87|
|Timothy Slizofski, Elkins Park, Pa.||87|
|Eric Galm, Morrisville, Pa.||88|
|Matthew Bacsardi, Baltimore, Md.||88|
|Eric Buckland, Lancaster, Pa.||89|
|Daniel Chernosky, Cranford, N.J.||90|
|Joe Viechnicki, Bethlehem, Pa.||90|
|Blake Cleary, Greenville, Del.||91|
|Doug Fedoryshyn, Malvern, Pa.||91|
|Jason Bonardi, Woodstock, Md.||91|
|Ryan Rigby, Havertown, Pa.||94|
|William Bello, Freehold, N.J.||94|
|Robert Pollaro, Princeton, N.J.||NS|
|Sam Sikes, Richmond, Va.||WD|
|Arthur Kania, Jr., Haverford, Pa.||WD|
|Gui Costin, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||WD|
|Jordan Claffey, Long Island City, N.Y.||WD|
|Ken Sim, Ambler, Pa.||WD|
|Kevin Hart, Hopewell, N.J.||WD|
|Michael Cavanaugh, Newtown, Pa.||WD|
|Michael Shevlin, Sr., Broomall, Pa.||WD|
|Mike O’Neil, Timonium, Md.||WD|
|Oscar Mestre, Berwyn, Pa.||WD|
|Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.||WD|