Golf Association of Philadelphia set for 104th Amateur Championship - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 11, 2004

Golf Association of Philadelphia set for 104th Amateur Championship

 The lore and legacy of the Amateur Championship flows deep in Golf Association of Philadelphia country. It was the first official individual tournament administered by the Association back in 1897 and, through the years, has served as a catalog of the area’s top players.

  Beginning on June 14 at Philadelphia Cricket Club (match play qualifying will also take place at both courses), a field of 132 players will take the first step in adding their name to the list of legendary winners that includes William Hyndman, III, J. Wood Platt, R. Jay Sigel and O. Gordon Brewer, to name a few. The 104th Amateur Championship is scheduled for June 14-16 with the 36-hole final set for Saturday, June 19.

  Qualifying on the first day is 36 holes, 18 at each of Cricket Club’s courses, Wissahickon and Militia Hill. The low 31 finishers advance into the match play draw with the defending champion earning an automatic exemption. First- and second-round matches will take place on June 15 and the quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for June 16.

  Defending champion Michael Tash looks to become the 19th player in the event’s history to earn at least two Amateur titles.

  Tash, 42, of Glassboro, N.J., defeated Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, the 2001 champion, 1-up. He qualified as the 8th seed before demonstrating some masterful play to slice through the match play grid.

  It was Tash’s first Amateur title.

  “It’s an honor to be the defending champion,” said Tash. “It’s why you play the game. To win the Amateur is to become part of history.”

  For Tash, he looks to become the 10th back-to-back winner of an Amateur title. However, as always, his list of challengers is a who’s who of Philadelphia amateur golf, and near the top of that register is last year’s runner-up Gillespie.

  “The Philly Am can really define the success of your year and, more importantly, years to follow,” said Gillespie, 29, of Wayne, Pa. “As the crowned jewel of the Golf Association of Philadelphia there is so much emphasis and weight put on your results from the Philly Am. There is really a lot on the line in regards to Player of the Year points, the Silver Cross, the Philly Open, exemptions for the following year and the possibility of being on honorary teams. Of all the tournaments that we play in a given year the Phily Am is the one to target as the one that you want to be playing your best golf for.”

  In addition to Gillespie, looking to upend Tash’s repeat hopes are former champions Charles Dowds, III of North Hills CC (1989), Chris Lange of Overbrook GC (1983-84, 94), William McGuinness of Tavistock CC (1996) and Brian Rothaus of Philmont CC (1988). Also in the field are Michael McDermott of Llanerch CC (2000-01), the reigning Player of the Year and current Middle-Amateur champion, and Chris Gallagher of Penn Oaks GC, the upset winner of the Patterson Cup in 2003.

  More than match play qualifying will be at stake on Day One of the Amateur Championship.

  The match play qualifying rounds also serve as Open Championship qualifying. In addition, those two rounds also account for the initial pair of Silver Cross scores.

  Ten of the 15 amateur spots for the Open are available to qualifiers (the other four are exemptions). There are 60 spots in all for the Open, 45 going to professionals.

  The Silver Cross is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying round(s) of the Amateur Championship and the Patterson Cup.

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