Llanerch High School Invitational - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Aug 22, 2023

Llanerch High School Invitational

Llanerch gives back to local golfers in a big way with High School Invitational

What a day for high school golf in the GAP region.

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Tuesday, Llanerch Country Club (par 71, 6,211 yards) hosted the debut of the Llanerch High School Invitational. The day couldn’t have been more of a success. 

The Llanerch High School Invitational was an event created to benefit GAP Foundation’s Youth on Course efforts and local high school golfers. Llanerch allowed event participants to act as “members for the day” and take advantage of the club’s facilities including the pool and dining areas. 

Through donations, the event raised an estimated $50,000. 

Club President Tom Castaldi presented the idea after thinking about the struggles high school golf teams face compared to other sports.

“High schools have gymnasiums and ball fields and easy access to other sports, but golf is one of those sports where it’s a challenge to find great courses for the kids to play on,” Castaldi, 63, of Media, Pa., said. “I thought [to have] maybe four or five local high schools, but our golf committee said, ‘No, let’s make this big.’ We invited 20 teams [and] every one of them accepted.”

Dan Kelly, Llanerch’s golf chair, worked closely with Castaldi and other Llanerch members and staff on planning the event. 

“This is also about community and local golf,” Kelly, 51, of Newtown Square, Pa., said. “Being able to partner with GAP and Youth on Course is amazing and helps us try to grow the game in our own way.” 

Head golf professional, Cameron Small was pleased with the success of the event. 

“The first [edition of the event] was exactly what we wanted,” Small, 27, of Ardmore, Pa., said. “We had two great winners [and] some great play from some local area golfers.” 

“Today’s event is a great characterization of everything Youth on Course is about, bringing kids of all walks of life together to enjoy out great game for the rest of their lives,” Jason Funderburg, GAP Director of Member Outreach, said. “We here at GAP owe a huge thank you to all of the Llanerch staff, membership, the donors who gave to a great cause and the volunteers that have offered their time to help give back to the game and their local community.”

Stetson shines to win Boys’ Individual title

The Episcopal Academy’s Hunter Stetson captured the Boys’ Individual Title with a 5-under-par 66.  

“It’s definitely the best I’ve played recently,” Stetson, 17, of Newtown Square, Pa., said. “It’s my lowest tournament round [ever].”

Stetson carded four birdies, an eagle and a bogey to get to the magic number.

A three-putt bogey on No. 1 (par 4, 370 yards) made for a tough start. He righted the ship with an eagle on No. 5 (par 5, 525 yards) after his 9-iron from 168 yards settled 18 feet from the hole. He followed it up with a birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 377 yards) after he lifted a pitching wedge 125 yards to 25 feet.

A trifecta of birdies heading in catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard. 

On No. 12 (par 3, 155 yards), his pitching wedge spun off the front of the green. He holed the 25-footer for another red number. On the par 4, 290-yard, 13th, Stetson’s drive simmered 50 feet from the hole. He two-putted for another birdie. Finally, Stetson stopped his pitching wedge from 117 yards 30 feet from the hole on No. 14 (par 4, 445 yards) for his last birdie. 

Stetson has his long-range putting to thank for today’s victory.

“I hit a few shots pretty close but wasn’t able to convert,” Stetson, a rising senior, said. “I made about five or six 25-30 footers today. I learned after a few early on that I just have to take a little break out and be a little more aggressive. They were going in fast, but they went in.”

Stetson has experienced steady success this summer. 

The Aronimink Golf Club member finished tied for second in the 24th Christman Cup and made the Round of 16 of the U.S. Junior Amateur. Most recently, he won the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Golf Performance Center Junior in New York.

Winning an end-of-summer event is a special way to start the golf season. 

Bodge wins Girls’ trophy

Kiersten Bodge, an incoming freshman at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, captured the Girls’ Individual Title (par 73, 4,850 yards) with a sizzling 8-under-par 65. 

“I am super excited,” Bodge, 14, of West Chester, Pa., said. “This was a great start to my my high school career and I can’t wait to play [this season].” 

She carded seven birdies, an eagle and one bogey to get to her impressive number. 

Her eagle came on No. 9 (par 5, 315 yards) after she landed a 60-degree wedge 20 feet from the hole. She rolled in the lengthy attempt for a double circle on her scorecard.

On No. 10, her 60-degree settled 10 feet from the hole for another birdie. A chip-in from 10 feet after her tee shot landed short of the green on No. 12 (par 3, 155 yards) resulted in another birdie. On No. 13 (par 4, 215 yards), she chipped a 56-degree wedge from 15 yards to eight feet for another red figure. She captured another birdie on No. 14 (par 5, 392) after her pitching wedge from 110 yards stopped 35 feet from the hole. On No. 15 (par 4, 218 yards) she drove the green with a 4-wood and left herself 40 feet to the hole. She two-putted for another red number. On the par 3, 96-yard, 17th, she knocked a pitching wedge to ten feet to continue her birdie barrage. Finally, on No. 18 (par 4, 242 yards), she lifted a 60-degree wedge to three feet for one last birdie. 

This round marks Bodge’s best score in a competition. Previously, her best round was at the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour 2023 DuPont Girls Classic where she shot 1-under 71.

“I’m so happy that Llanerch could host and [put on] this great event,” Bodge, an Overbrook Golf Club member, said. “It was an awesome day.”

St. Joe’s Prep and Mount Saint Joseph win team titles

In the boys’ team competition, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School carded a combined 8-over-par 292 to secure the Marty Lyons trophy.

The team collectively carded 12 birdies to top the leaderboard. Aidan Farkas (70), Declan McLane (72), Jack Dare (73), Liam Shearn (77) and Christian Dawley (87) represented the team.

The girls from Mount Saint Joseph Academy captured the Dorothy Porter Trophy with a team score of 51-over 343.

The team’s card featured seven birdies. Representatives included Jewel Schaefer (77), Amelia Nace (85), Gillian Holt (90), Michaela Lanieri (91) and Taylor Delli (99).

The four lowest scores are included in the team total.


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 organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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