May 16, 2023

Huntingdon Valley claims #BMWGTM title

Huntingdon Valley Country Club (HVCC) received contributions from all 12 players Saturday to secure its record 34th BMW GAP Team Matches title. It was its first win since 2019.

| Playoff Results |

Each player representing Huntingdon Valley’s first team tallied at least three points en route to the 10-point victory. Huntingdon Valley totaled 70 points to outlast powerful foes from LuLu Country Club 1 (60 points), Merion Golf Club 1 (43.5 points) and Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 (42.5 points), last year’s winner.

The Playoff format, different from the regular season, features three players from each participating club at each venue. Each player competes in a three-way match.

Heading the HVCC contributions were Brian Isztwan and Stewart Rickenbach. Both players tallied 8.5 points.

Isztwan, 22, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., a lifelong club member, played in the No. 1 spot at HVCC. Rickenbach, 28, who joined the club in 2020, of Doylestown, Pa., competed in the three hole at Cricket’s Wissahickon Course. Last year, Rickenbach finished T32 at in the Philadelphia Open at Cricket Wissahickon. He carded rounds of 75 and 73.

“I’ve seen it five or six times, including in the Open,” said Rickenbach. “It’s a place where if you see it a couple of times you know what’s going on. It may take you awhile to figure out the greens but today I had a really good caddie who helped me out. I was able to make some putts.

“I was definitely a little nervous this morning. There is so much history here [at Huntingdon Valley]. So many good players come out of Huntingdon Valley. I’m so proud to be here. Everyone’s been very welcoming and supportive. I just wanted to go out and get it done for them today.”

Three players followed with 7.5-point performances.

Andy Butler, Tim Chilleri and Kyle Martin.

Butler, the reigning Pennsylvania Golf Association Middle-Amateur Champion, played out of difficult No. 1 slot at LuLu. His group included LuLu’s Jon Rusk, a BMW Philadelphia Amateur semifinalist last year, and a pair of former BMW Philadelphia Amateur champions, Philadelphia Cricket’s Conrad Von Borsig (2009) and Merion’s Cole Berman (2015).

“We felt pretty confident once the lineup was out there,” said Butler, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa. “I’ve always played pretty well [at LuLu]. It’s fairly getable because obviously it’s not too long. And if you are hitting it straight, you will have wedge looks, which is a strength of my game.”

Chilleri returned to LuLu, where he scored seven points a year ago in the Playoff. This year, he did even better.

“It’s a tough day and you just hope you can pull through for your teammates,” said Chilleri, 38, of Huntingdon Valley. “It’s about avoiding the errors at LuLu. I go into these [matches] with the mindset that by making a lot of pars you can do some damage. Hopefully, you can throw in a couple birdies and hopefully that’s going to be enough. Thankfully today it was.”

Martin, 29, of Lansdale, Pa., started the Huntingdon Valley championship momentum, playing from the No. 2 slot at Merion. The Ardmore venue was the first site to start and finish. Martin swept his match against LuLu’s R.J. Wren and Cricket’s John Brennan. He halved his match with Merion’s Paul Liebezeit.

“The team pulled together and played really well. It’s tough to make it to the Final or get out of your bracket every year. It’s nice to get back on top,” said Mason, 34, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., HVCC’s second-year captain. “We had a full squad [for the Final]. We didn’t have that [the past few] years. We had our Top 12 players. Throughout the year, we had 18 people play on the first team. It was particularly importantly that everyone scored points.”

A true team effort.

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