Impressive field gears up for 104th Open Championship - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 18, 2008

Impressive field gears up for 104th Open Championship

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Majors, News, Tournaments


  BUCKINGHAM, Pa. – Seventy-two of the region’s top players will descend upon Lookaway GC next Wednesday for the 104th running of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Open Championship, with hopes of etching their name in history as the winner of the storied 36-hole championship.

  Breaking the Association’s recent tradition of hosting the event at older, more time-honored courses the likes of Merion GC, Philadelphia CC and Pine Valley GC, this year will mark the first time the Open visits Bucks County and the 11-year-old Rees Jones designed course set in Buckingham, Pa.

  “Lookaway presents a challenging course for the Open this year and the field has some exceptional golfers that are up to the test,” said Chuck Rininger, Lookaway GC’s Head PGA professional. “This has all the makings of a great championship.”

  Defending Champion Mark Miller, an amateur out of Yardley CC, hopes to repeat and make it only the 13th time an amateur has won the Open in over a century of play.

  “I’m anxious, nervous, very excited and I want to repeat as [champion] very badly,” said the 22-year-old Levittown, Pa., resident who sees coming into the event as the reigning champion as a good advantage.

  “It is going to make me come into the tournament more focused on what I have to do,” he said of defending his title from his win at Merion GC in last year’s Open. “It shows I have been there before so all I have to do is play just like I did last year.”

  But Miller will not only have to play well to become the first amateur to repeat as champion since the legendary R. Jay Sigel did so in 1986-87. He’ll have to best an impressive field that includes last year’s runner-up and low professional Mark Sheftic from Merion GC and reigning Mid-Amateur and Amateur Champion Michael McDermott, also from Merion GC.

  McDermott has been on an unprecedented tear, completing the GAP Amateur-slam as the current titleholder in the Patterson Cup, Silver Cross Award, Mid-Amateur Championship and Amateur Championship.

  Other notable players battling for the crown this year will be 2005 Open Champion and Trenton CC head pro Graham Dendler; 2004 Open Champion Chris Lange of Overbrook CG; defending Philadelphia Section PGA Champion Rich Steinmetz of Spring Ford CC; four-time Junior Boys’ Champion Robert Galbreath, Jr., of Huntingdon Valley CC; 2006 Amateur Champion Kyle Davis of Philadelphia Publinks GA and the Haverford Trust Company 2007 Player of the Year Stu Ingraham, to name a few.

  The 104th running of the Open marks the second year in which the Golf Association of Philadelphia solely administers the event. The field size was also increased to 72 players from the customary 60 in 2007 and the purse was raised to $40,000, the most lucrative in the history of the tournament.

  The field will be comprised of 24 exempt entrants and 48 qualifiers, which was determined by local qualifying events held at Olde York CC, Spring Ford CC and LedgeRock GC.

  Those participants will consist of professionals who are members in good standing of the Philadelphia Section PGA, head professionals of GAP Member Clubs and amateurs who are members of member clubs and have handicap index of 7.0 or less.

  As always, the public and media are welcome to attend.

  Lookaway Golf Club is located at 4219 Upper Mountain Road, Buckingham, Pa., with satellite parking lots available.

  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 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

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