Apr 28, 2014

GAP Team Matches: Seven keep title hopes alive in Week Two

 Week Two in the GAP Team Matches placed a plate of Playoff implications and a side of Section drama on the table for Week Three. Seven teams triumphed while two others forged a tie to keep their title hopes intact.

  In Section I, a repeat bid remains quite alive and well for Philadelphia Cricket Club; it posted a convincing 35-19 victory over Huntingdon Valley Country Club (0-2). Philadelphia Cricket will oppose fellow unbeaten Llanerch Country Club, with the winner advancing into the Playoff. Llanerch defeated Laurel Creek Country Club (0-2), 32.5-21.5, in Week Three.

   “We had to give ourselves a chance in Week Three, so we had to get through Laurel Creek,” Tom Spano, Llanerch’s captain, said. “They played really tough. It’s always nice to keep it close on the road. We did our job away, and we had a really good team at home. Now we control our own fate.”

  Llanerch lost by a point on the road, but its home troops outdistanced Laurel Creek by 12 points. Relative newcomers Brandon Murdock and James Wingerter add to the team’s overall production. Both posted 2.5 singles points apiece in the victory over Laurel Creek.

  “Murdock is probably the best ball striker on our team,” Spano said. “The kid’s awesome, and no one knows about him. He’s been a huge contributor for us the last two weeks. So has Jay. He is a former Mini-tour player. He’s been a huge contributor on the road. A guy that’s played on the mini tours knows how to travel, and that’s important to us.”

  Llanerch now looks to secure its first Playoff appearance since 2007.

  “We know it’s not going to be easy,” he said. “You look at Cricket’s line-up and it is GAP and Pennsylvania Major winners and a bunch of USGA participants. They’re the best team on paper. Anything can happen, and Llanerch is a very tough place to travel to. We would love to get back to the Playoff. We have our line-up set up to give Cricket our best shot.”

  In a battle for Section II supremacy, Little Mill Country Club (2-0) upended Merion Golf Club (1-1), 34.50-19.50. It posted 15 points on the road to supplement a sound 19.5 effort at home.

  “To beat Merion at Merion was a shock. We’re just proud of those guys,” James Arsenault, Little Mill’s captain, said. “When we won, everybody was just overjoyed. People in the clubhouse were coming up to us and giving us hi-fives. We just pulled it out. It was certainly no easy task.”

  Little Mill can book its fourth straight trip to the Playoff with a victory next week against Mercer Oaks Golf Course (1-1), which is coming off a 33.5-20.5 win over Tavistock Country Club (0-2).

   “We’re looking forward to it,” Arsenault said. “They have one heck of a team. Certainly it’s not going to be easy. Hopefully, we can pull it off and get back into the championship.”

  Glenmaura National sits atop the Section III standings with a 2-0 record after knocking off Commonwealth National Golf Club, 31.50-22.50, in Week Two.

   “We knew it was going to be a tough one based on their result with Overbrook in Week One,” Matthew Dougherty, Glenmaura National’s captain, said. “It was a tough match. We’ve continued to defend our home turf pretty well, as we have historically, but our road guys really put up some hard fought matches against some very good players.”

  Depth is a key to Glenmaura’s success thus far. Team staples such as Charles Dennis and Chas Hudacek returned to the line-up in Week Two while newcomers James Gardas, Matthew Hoover and Gary Phillips continue to contribute to the score sheets.

   “We’ve added a lot of depth this year. That’s improved our team overall,” Dougherty said.

  Glenmaura National seeks its first Playoff appearance since 2010. To clinch a berth, it needs to get past six-time GTM Champions Overbrook Golf Club (1.5-0.5), which posted a 31-23 victory over Jericho National Golf Club (0-2) in Week Two.

   “We’ve noticed that they’re sending their key guys on the road. Planning for that is going to be a challenge,” Dougherty said. “It really is going to boil down to the match-ups to me. With the depth on our team, we’re in a spot where we feel that we can compete. It’s just a matter of getting in the right situations for our guys.”

  Like Glenmaura National, Aronimink Golf Club (1.5-0.5) is relying on team depth as it remains the Section IV leader. It posted a crucial 27-27 halve against Back Creek Golf Club (1-1) in Week Two.

   “We battled hard to gain a tie,” Jeff Fialko, Aronimink’s captain, said. “It really keeps us alive and lets us control our own fate as we go into the last week against a tough Yardley team.”

  The Klagholz brothers — Jeff and Tim — led Aronimink’s road charge with 2.5 points in the better-ball portion. Fialko also points to the pairing of Dan Bernard and Joseph Fabrizio, Jr. as keys to the team’s success on its own turf.

   “They’ve really been carrying the team at home,” he said.

  Aronimink ranks third on the GTM all-time titles list with seven. However, its last came in 1962, and the club hasn’t appeared in the Playoff in more than a decade. Aronimink faces Yardley Country Club (0.5-1.5) in Week Three.

   “We’re feeling good. We’re excited because it’s been a long time for Aronimink to be in this position,” Fialko said.

  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 150 Member Clubs and 55,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.

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