MOHNTON, Pa.–Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley Country Club and Jason Wilson of Olde Homestead Golf Club are in prime position to add another gem to their accomplished résumés. Albeit a novel one.
The two are tied atop the 37th Mid.-Am. leaderboard after each carded a 3-under-par 69 in Round 1 Tuesday at LedgeRock Golf Club (par 72, 6,930 yards). Both are accomplished players and both are in search of a first GAP Middle-Amateur crown.
Stephen Barry of Running Deer Golf Club and former Mid.-Am. winners Ben Feld of Green Valley Country Club and Matt Mattare of Saucon Valley Country Club are a shot back at 2 under. Defending champion Will Davenport of Whitemarsh Valley Country Club finished at 1 over.
The second and final round begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Playing in twosomes, the final pairing of Mason and Wilson starts at 11:30 a.m.
Mason and Wilson navigated the golf course in different ways.
Mason, a three-time GAP Major Champion (2011 and 2012 Open, 2011 Patterson Cup), made four birdies and a bogey on the front side before finishing with nine-straight pars.
“I either play pretty good or shoot in the mid to high 70s,” said Mason, 32, of Conshohocken, Pa. “I haven’t put my putting and hitting it together. I finally did that today. I’ve been a lot streakier. The putting, though, was really good today.”
Wilson, a former Pennsylvania Golf Association Middle-Amateur (2017) winner and a Lehigh Valley Golf Hall of Famer, on the other hand, got hot early, made a couple bad swings on one hole that resulted in a double bogey and then warmed up again late.
“This was my first time seeing the course. I love it. It lived up to the accolades it got from some of my friends,” said Wilson, 46, of Orefield, Pa. “My game was solid all day, I missed just two fairways.”
The self-proclaimed “streaky” Mason said he needed just his fourth stroke of the day to have an idea of where his round was going.
That was a par save on No. 1 (par 4, 385 yards).
“I had a 30-footer for birdie and I hit it six feet past the hole,” said Mason. “I made it for par. That was more important than the birdie on No. 2 for my confidence.”
On No. 2 (par 3, 172 yards), Mason lifted an 8-iron to 10 feet and made the putt.
After a bit of a sloppy bogey on No. 4 (par 3, 214 yards) – he missed the green short – Mason responded with birdies on Nos. 5, 8 and 9. On No. 5 (par 4, 450 yards) he knocked a pitching wedge from 135 yards to 15 feet and drained the downhiller. On the par 5, No. 8 (554 yards), Mason knocked his approach up to just off the green and got up-and-down for an easy birdie before following that up with another red figure on No. 9 (par 4, 380 yards). He went 2-iron, 7-iron from 170 yards before rolling in a 25-footer for 3.
A couple nice looks on the back nine failed to drop but all-in-all, Mason called it a positive day.
Wilson birdied Nos. 4-6-8 but made a double on No. 7 (par 5, 606 yards) and a bogey on No. 9 to turn at even. He hit a 4-iron to 10 feet on No. 4; hit a wedge to three feet on No. 6 (par 4, 397 yards) and just rolled his approach shot off the back of the green in two shots on No. 8 before getting up-and-down.
What happened on No. 7 (par 5, 606 yards)? Well that was a calamity from the beginning. Wilson hit into the fairway bunker, laid up with his approach too far back and then three putted after reaching the green. The No. 9 bogey was a fairway-bunker to greenside-bunker situation.
Wilson, who last month won the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at Yardley Country Club, showed his title mettle coming in.
On No. 11 (par 4, 411 yards), he knocked a gap wedge from 125 yards to 15 feet and made the right-to-left breaker. On No. 13 (par 5, 555 yards), Wilson skipped a chip up from 40 yards to an inch for a 4. He made his last red score posting on No. 16 (par 4, 287 yards) by driving it up close to the green and eventually draining a five-footer.
Where would a GAP victory rank in his list of accomplishments?
“It would be a nice edition. The caliber of play in Philadelphia is fantastic,” said Wilson, who won the prestigious Lehigh Valley Amateur in 2018. “Now that I know the course, I will know where to be a little more aggressive with my tee shots and approaches.”
DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. was set to host the Middle-Amateur May 18-19. GAP postponed the event — a spring to fall shift — because of the global health crisis. It canceled Qualifying altogether, thereby making the Middle-Amateur invitation-only. Furthermore, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, a site change occurred.
This is the first GAP Major Championship held at LedgeRock.
A William Hyndman, III Player of the Year points event, the Middle-Amateur Championship started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Amateur as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. GAP followed suit in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.
The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Middle-Amateur was only available to players 30 years of age or older.
The GAP Executive Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. At that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round.
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 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||69|
|Jason Wilson, Olde Homestead Golf Club||69|
|Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club||70|
|Benjamin Feld, Green Valley Country Club||70|
|Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club||70|
|Jeff Osberg, Pine Valley Golf Club||71|
|Matthew Teesdale, The 1912 Club||71|
|Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club||71|
|Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook||72|
|John Samaha, Old York Road Country Club||72|
|Brandon Capone, Old York CC at Chesterfield||73|
|William Davenport, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||73|
|Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club||73|
|Christopher Ault, Yardley Country Club||74|
|Chris Fieger, Sr., Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||74|
|Andy Kerestesy, Running Deer Golf Club||74|
|Sam Sherrill, Downingtown Country Club||74|
|Zach Arsenault, Little Mill Country Club||76|
|Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club||76|
|Andrew Keeling, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||76|
|Patrick Knott, Merion Golf Club||76|
|Keith Matt, Talamore Country Club||76|
|Adam Armagost, Little Mill Country Club||77|
|Ben Cooley, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||77|
|Bill Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club||77|
|Connor McNicholas, The 1912 Club||77|
|Connor Vanin, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||77|
|Daniel Charen, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||78|
|Rich Owsik, Rolling Green Golf Club||78|
|Eric Williams, Honesdale Golf Club||78|
|P.J. Acierno, LuLu Country Club||79|
|Peter Barron, III, Galloway National Golf Club||79|
|Garrett Basalyga, Cedarbrook Country Club||79|
|Robert Bechtold, Fieldstone Golf Club||79|
|Ashley Brasfield, Rolling Green Golf Club||79|
|Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club||79|
|Regan Papariello, St. Davids Golf Club||79|
|Phil Potter, Radley Run Country Club||79|
|Michael Carr, Philadelphia Cricket Club||80|
|Sean Seese, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||80|
|Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club||81|
|Kevin O’Brien, Cedarbrook Country Club||81|
|Andy Beittel, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||84|
|Lodie van Tonder, Sakima Country Club||85|
|Joseph Fabrizio, Aronimink Golf Club||88|
|Geoffrey Cooper, North Hills Country Club||WD|
|Kyle Deisher, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||WD|
|David Ferreira, Merion Golf Club||WD|
|Bryan Keeling, Spring Mill Country Club||WD|
|John Lalley, Llanerch Country Club||WD|
|Sean McMonagle, Tavistock Country Club||WD|
|Rich Pruchnik, Downingtown Country Club||WD|
|Grant Skyllas, LedgeRock Golf Club||WD|
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