Apr 23, 2013

GTM: Defending champions Little Mill among Week One victors

 Blustery conditions set the scene for Week One of the GAP Team Matches. Squads from 130 clubs battled one another as well as chilly temperatures for a chance to climb atop the standings.
  Defending champions Little Mill Country Club began its repeat bid with a 40–14 win over Division AA newcomer Aronimink Golf Club. Other teams to prevail in the top tier include Back Creek Golf Club, Fox Hill Country Club, Glenmaura National Golf Club, Llanerch Country Club, Mercer Oaks Golf Course, Overbrook Golf Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club.
  “We were very pleased with how the season started,” Ryan McCarty, Little Mill’s co-captain, said. “It’s always easy to field an away team when you’re competing against a club like Aronimink. I think we benefit from an above-average home course advantage, too, because the tee shots at Little Mill can be visually intimidating for opponents who are transitioning from the offseason.”
  Team rookies accounted for nearly half of Little Mill’s Week One roster. The club opposes Bent Creek Country Club (0–1) in Week Two.
  “It is awesome to see the newcomers pick up where we left off and build confidence for future matches,” McCarty said. “We will try to ride the momentum from the first week and balance the home and away teams.”
  Philadelphia Cricket Club, runner-up to Little Mill in last year’s Playoff, is picking up where it left off as well. The team issued a dominant 44.5–9.5 win over Old York Country Club at Chesterfield in Week One.
  “I’m very proud of our guys,” Robert Savarese, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket’s captain, said. “Just looking at the scores and from what I’ve heard from our guys, everybody played real well. I’m really happy with our performance so far.”
  All 12 members contributed to Philadelphia Cricket’s busy score sheet. Club newcomers Andy Latowski and Phillip Bartholomew, the 2008 GAP Amateur Champion, posted three points apiece.
  “We’re real excited to have them,” Savarese said. “Phil is going to be great for us for a long time. His game is very qualified to play in anything really. Andy has a complete game — a great swing and a great attitude. Both Phil and Andy are big guys. We probably have the tallest team in GAP. If we were to play anybody in basketball, I think we’d do really well.”
  To stand tall in Section 1, Philadelphia Cricket will need to overcome Meadia Heights Golf Club (0–1) in Week Two.
  “The message for the team was be prepared for serious competition and bring your best game,” Savarese said. “It’s going to be a tough week for us. We just have to match their quality of play.”
  Both Back Creek and Fox Hill reeled off close victories against Division AA staples Merion and Huntingdon Valley, respectively. Back Creek, a top tier rookie, edged Merion by three points, 28.5–25.5. A sense of shock and excitement spread throughout its clubhouse following the triumph, team captain Buddy Reed indicated.
  “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was very positive. We all had a great time. Back Creek is a good golf course, and our guys played it well. Just like Merion is a great golf course, and their guys played it well. At the end of the day, we had just enough points to win.”
  Back Creek accrued 20.5 points at home — a mere 1.5 clear of Merion’s effort on its turf. Reed believes the club rides a bit of momentum entering its Week Two match against Commonwealth National Golf Club (0–1).
  “We have a very strong team,” he said. “It’s just a question of matching up against the right players.”
  Like Back Creek, Fox Hill felt a bit surprised once it defeated GTM powerhouse Huntingdon Valley, 30–24.
  “We’ve played them in the past, and they beat us pretty well,” Mark Answini, Fox Hill’s captain, said. “It was freezing. The wind was blowing. It was a tough day for everybody. Our guys away did what they had to do to help us eke out the match.”
  With two of its top players — Donald Crossin and John Mulhern, Jr. — out for the opener, Fox Hill relied on youngsters such as Shamus Gartley and Mariano Medico, the reigning GAP Junior Boys’ Champion, to support its away team. The juniors responded, posting a combined 5.5 points.
  “Mariano is a great player — obviously given the accolades he’s gotten over the last few years,” Answini said. “Shamus is learning. He’s a competitor and a grinder. I spoke with his playing partner Matt Hoover, and he said that he got up-and-down from everywhere. His short game was spectacular, and he putted very well.”
  Fox Hill now faces an Overbrook (1–0) team that tied for the most points in Week One with a 49–5 victory over RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve.
  “You look at their roster and you see the Langes, McFaddens — recognizable names who compete in GAP,” Answini said. “We’re going to need some definite veteran knowledge. I’ll have some tough decisions to make. I’d like to see the young kids continue to play. I’d like them to get some experience.”
  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 143 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.

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