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#GAPMidAm Final Round: Recap

Little Mill’s Vannucci earns first Major title

NEW HOPE, Pa. – The wait is finally over for Troy Vannucci.

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A GAP circuit regular the last decade, Vannucci secured his first Major title Wednesday with a come-from-behind playoff victory in the 39th Middle-Amateur Championship at Jericho National Golf Club (par 72, 6,817 yards). Vannucci, 30, of Little Mill Country Club, defeated Sean Flanigan, 41, of Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, the first-round leader, in a four-hole aggregate playoff, 14 strokes to 16. Both players finished the 36 holes of regulation at 3 under. Vannucci closed with a 1-under 71. Flanigan posted a 2-over 73.

“It’s incredible. It’s hard to win [out here]. They say it’s hard to win, and you better believe it is,” said Vannucci, of Marlton, N.J. “I’ve been knocking for a long time. My cousin Michael [Hyland] just says, ‘Keep on playing.’ He’s always encourages me. [My uncle Tom, Michael’s father] has always encouraged me. You fail, go play the next one. Who cares. Keep playing. Keep swinging. It’s eventually going to work out.”

Vannucci’s name will now reside on the same Middle-Amateur trophy that Hyland won in 2018 at Llanerch Country Club.

Vannucci has recorded a few close calls the last few seasons in a few different arenas. Last year in GAP, he made it to the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Quarterfinals a week after earning runner-up honors in the New Jersey State Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship. Weeks later, he tied for third in the Philadelphia Open Championship at the Country Club of York, two shots behind the winner. In 2019, he and partner Vince Kwon made national headlines with a scintillating Semifinal run in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

Once the extra holes (Nos. 10-11-12-18) started Wednesday, victory seemed destiny for Vannucci.

Flanigan’s second shot on the first playoff hole, No. 10 (par 4, 439 yards), found the left pond. Vannucci went fairway-and-green, a common theme for him over the two rounds, for a 4 while Flanigan made 6. Vannucci made only three bogeys in the 36 holes, all coming in the final round. Two of those were the result of a three putt.

The two competitors exchanged pars on Nos. 11 (par 4, 382 yards) and 12 (par 3, 105 yards), giving Vannucci an 11-to-13-stroke advantage with only No. 18 (par 4, 431 yards) to play. Both found the fairway on the final hole. Flanigan lifted a 54-degree wedge from 101 yards to 15 feet. Vannucci hit his 60-degree wedge from 104 yards to 25 feet. Vannucci, putting uphill, tried to “lag” his first putt. It turned out to be his last putt, as the ball tumbled into the cup.

“About time,” Vannucci, a project manager for American Athletic Track and Turf, said as clubmate Dan Keenan walked up to celebrate with the champion. “It’s surreal. My phone’s going off in my pocket right now. It hasn’t stopped vibrating [since I won]. The guys are so good. I’m glad to be on top.”

For Flanigan, the result was a mix of obvious disappointment and encouraging returns.

After being away from the competitive game due to family and work, Flanigan made a remarkable debut in his first GAP championship.

He was the first-round leader, and still held that top spot with four holes to go before the golfing nerves imposed their will.

At No. 15 (par 3, 205 yards), which was playing a full stroke above par and the hardest hole of the tournament, Flanigan made double bogey after missing the green long with a 5-iron and stubbing the ensuing chip. His difficulties continued on the next hole, No. 16 (par 4, 403 yards), when he pulled his 8-iron from 188 yards into the left greenside bunker and failed to get up-and-down. His lead was down to one.

Meanwhile, Vannucci applied more pressure when he lofted a remarkable lob shot from behind the green on No. 17 (par 5, 510 yards) that stopped inches from the cup for a tap-in birdie to pull into a tie.

Flanigan, of Logan Township, N.J, tried to answer by hitting the 17th green in two shots with a 4-iron from 228 yards, though be it 50 feet from the cup. However, his eventual birdie effort from five feet lipped out.

“If you would have told me I’d be runner-up at the start of the week, I would have happily accepted that,” said Flanigan, a civil engineer the last decade for S.T. Hudson Engineers, Inc., a Marine Engineering Solutions company. “It turns out the fashion it happened in wasn’t quite great but hats off to Troy. I had it going for awhile but ran into a couple of bad holes on the back. And, unfortunately, on the first playoff hole hit one into the water. All in all, a great experience.”

GAP

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.

Name, clubR1-R2-Total
Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club70-71–141
Sean Flanigan, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association68-73–141
Christopher Ault, Yardley Country Club72-71–143
Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club73-70–143
Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu Country Club75-69–144
Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook70-74–144
Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club72-72–144
John Barone, Glenmaura National Golf Club70-75–145
Ross Pilliod, LedgeRock Golf Club77-68–145
Joseph Tigani, Fieldstone Golf Club77-69–146
Josh Anderson, LedgeRock Golf Club76-71–147
Cole Willcox, Merion Golf Club69-78–147
Chris Baloga, Briarwood Golf Club77-71–148
Peter Barron, III, Galloway National Golf Club74-74–148
Michael Carr, Philadelphia Cricket Club72-76–148
Michael Davis, Merion Golf Club75-73–148
Alexander Kim, Philadelphia Cricket Club75-73–148
Jeff Osberg, Pine Valley Golf Club76-72–148
Andy Butler, Huntingdon Valley Country Club73-76–149
James Egan, Glen Oak Country Club74-75–149
Benjamin Feld, Green Valley Country Club72-77–149
Jeff Frazier, Carlisle Country Club73-76–149
Colin Sanderson, Makefield Highlands Golf Club77-72–149
Jared Tendler, Jericho National Golf Club72-77–149
Jack Wallace, Riverton Country Club73-76–149
Jason Wilson, Olde Homestead Golf Club74-75–149
Nelson Hargrove, Merion Golf Club74-76–150
Dan Keenan, Little Mill Country Club72-78–150
Mark Miller, Philadelphia Cricket Club75-75–150
Matt Teesdale, The 1912 Club77-73–150
Matthew Toto, Laurel Creek Country Club76-74–150
Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia Cricket Club72-78–150
Matt Dolinsky, Honeybrook Golf Club75-76–151
A.J. Donatoni, Fox Hill Country Club74-77–151
Alex Hosier, Briarwood Golf Club75-76–151
David Mecca, Glen Oak Country Club75-76–151
Kyle Pritchard, Olde Homestead Golf Club75-76–151
Adam Armagost, Little Mill Country Club76-76–152
Ryan Cass, Hidden Creek Golf Club78-74–152
Ben Keyser, Legacy Club at Woodcrest73-79–152
Patrick Knott, Merion Golf Club71-81–152
Jeffrey Victor, Jeffersonville Golf Club78-74–152
Zach Dilcher, Hartefeld National78-75–153
John Dimler, Northampton Country Club77-76–153
Sean Seese, Huntingdon Valley Country Club76-77–153
Jim Sullivan, LuLu Country Club73-80–153
John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club75-79–154
David Herbst, Hershey Country Club75-79–154
Andrew Keeling, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club77-77–154
Tony Peressini, Lookaway Golf Club76-78–154
Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia Cricket Club75-79–154
Matthew Bastian, Rolling Green Golf Club76-79–155
Russell Hartung, LuLu Country Club72-83–155
John Lalley, Llanerch Country Club73-82–155
Mike Moffat, LuLu Country Club77-78–155
Stewart Rickenbach, Huntingdon Valley Country Club77-78–155
Michael Tash, Stone Harbor Golf Club76-79–155
Jason Troutman, Frosty Valley78-77–155
Neil Gordon, Doylestown Country Club77-79–156
Sean McMonagle, Tavistock Country Club77-79–156
Corey Betham, St. Davids Golf Club78-79–157
Bryan Ott, Schuylkill Country Club76-81–157
Ryan Rigby, Doylestown Country Club75-82–157
Jason Weaver, Saucon Valley Country Club78-79–157
Beau Guarino, Riverton Country Club78-80–158
Bart Tizio, Olde Homestead Golf Club77-81–158
Kevin Kornuszko, Spring Mill Country Club78-81–159
Brandon Murdock, Llanerch Country Club78-81–159
Michael Zupi, LuLu Country Club78-82–160
Scott Forrester, LuLu Country Club76-85–161
Glenn Smeraglio, LuLu Country Club77-84–161
Sean Leonard, Tavistock Country Club78-WD–WD
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club78-WD–WD
WD-withdrawal