Lu Lu rises above Team Championship Qualifier at Radley Run - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 30, 2017

Lu Lu rises above Team Championship Qualifier at Radley Run

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Lu Lu Country Club is becoming the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s version of a phoenix. Its regeneration and ascension continued Tuesday in the Team Championship Qualifier at Radley Run Country Club (par 72, 6,692 yards).

Scorecards | Photo gallery | History |

  Amid cloudy skies and scattered sprinkles, Lu Lu filed a 4-over-par 292 to top the event. The Glenside, Pa. venue will now make its third Team Championship appearance (2016, 2000) in the club’s 115-year history.

  Joining Lu Lu in the Championship proper are Commonwealth National Golf Club, Little Mill Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club. The 98th Team Championship will take place June 29 at Galloway National Golf Club.

  In October 2015, Lu Lu lost its clubhouse to a fire. It’s gained a crop of talented amateur golfers since to rise in the team ranks. Lu Lu advanced to Division AA in the BMW GAP Team Matches with a 41–13 victory over Lancaster Country Club in a Challenge. It returns to the Team Championship aiming to avenge a half-point loss to Little Mill a year ago (24.5–24).

  P.J. Acierno and Michael R. Brown, Jr. carded respective 1-under-par 71s to lead the Lu Lu contingent Tuesday.

  Acierno, playing Radley Run for the first time, opened with a square-circle sandwich. On No. 2 (par 5, 559 yards), he hammered a 2-iron 260 yards into the right greenside bunker and executed a 20-yard extrication into kick-in range. Acierno, a recent La Salle University graduate, bashed a driver greenside left on the gettable par 4, 318-yard No. 3. He then hit a wedge 50 yards to three feet for birdie. A tugged drive and missed green baked the bogey buns.

  During his inward nine, Acierno converted a pair of right-to-left sliders for birdie to finish in red figures. Hold a 90-yard sand wedge to seven feet on No. 14 (par 4, 401 yards), 95 yards to six feet on No. 17 (par 4, 368 yards) responsible.

  Like Acierno, Brown buried two back nine birdies to secure a 71. Using driver on the par 4, 349-yard 15th hole, Brown missed short right but stopped his ensuing pitch at a foot. On No. 16 (par 5, 528 yards), he nearly reached the green in two with a 3-wood. Another textbook pitch to two feet for birdie followed.

  “I sprayed the ball and my short game picked me up. I was pitching the ball close,” Brown, 44, of Maple Shade, N.J., said. “I probably missed six or seven greens and pitched it into tap-in [range] every time. That’s what I’m latching onto. I’ve been working very hard at it, but I’m not where I want to be yet. I’ve got to clean things up if I’m going to be competitive this summer. Today was something to build on for sure.”

  Brown joined Lu Lu during the winter for two of golf’s simple pleasures: competition and camaraderie.

  “We have really competitive games, and the more times I can play with good players, the better. I drive 45 minutes to do that,” he said.

  Acierno, too, relishes the camaraderie among the Lu Lu crew. Countless group texts — complete with rally cries and the usual ribbing — circulated in advance of the Team Championship Qualifier.

  “We were pretty amped up. [Jon Rusk, Lu Lu’s head professional] always makes sure we’re ready to play,” Acierno, 23, of Flourtown, Pa., said.

  Commonwealth National’s Brett Diakon carded a 3-under-par 69 to earn individual medalist honors Tuesday.

  “It was a great score for me,” Diakon, 37, of Perkasie, Pa., said. “I hit it pretty solid. I made a couple of putts that you’re supposed to make and missed a couple you’re supposed to make. I didn’t have to hit a lot of drivers today. It’s a good course and a little on the shorter side, which probably favors me. I was able to hit a lot of 3-woods and hybrids. I had a lot of wedges in my hands.”

  Those wedges set up three of Diakon’s four birdies on the day. He knocked a sand wedge 80 yards to 10 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 423 yards); a wedge 60 yards to two feet on No. 3 and another one 80 yards to 12 feet on No. 14. Diakon also birdied the par 3, 149-yard 13th hole, stopping a 6-iron at 12 feet.

  Commonwealth National will make its seventh straight and ninth overall Team Championship appearance. It triumphed in 2009 and 2014.

  Diakon, a champion of Commonwealth’s participation in team events, is thrilled to see his group in the Final once more.

  “It’s the event that I make sure I have time for on the calendar. If you make it to the championship, it’s one of the best days of the year,” Diakon, who works in marketing, said. “We had a great (BMW GAP) Team Matches season this year. We kind of had a shot I thought. We just couldn’t get the guys together every week. We were always a few short, so when this event comes around, we get kind of excited about it. We get all hands on deck and give it a lot of thought.”

  In addition to 2016, Little Mill advanced to the Team Championship 2005 and 2011. Philadelphia Cricket won titles in 2015 and 2013. It’s appeared in the Championship proper on nine occasions overall.

  The Team Championship Qualifier determines which four Member Clubs will compete in the Team Championship. Participants must field at least six players to be eligible. The low four scores of each team make up the qualifying total. In the event of a tie, the fifth player’s score is used.

  The Championship proper features eight-man teams playing an alternate shot format in the morning, with singles matches in the afternoon.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.

Team Total
Lu Lu CC 292
Michael R. Brown, Jr. 71
P.J. Acierno 71
Connor McNicholas 74
Scott McLaughlin 76
Glenn Smeraglio 76
Jim Sullivan 78
Commonwealth National GC 298
Brett Diakon 69
Ron Robinson 75
Mike Valentine 77
Matthew Teesdale 77
David Kim 80
Daniel Furman 84
Philadelphia Cricket Club 298
Conrad Von Borsig 74
Scott Storck 74
Cole Berman 75
John Brennan 75
Robby Walizer 77
Ryan Gelrod 81
Little Mill CC 300
Zach Arsenault 72
Vincent Kwon 75
Troy Vannucci 75
Blaine Lafferty 78
Michael Dunn 78
Jack Sterbenz 87
Failed to qualify
Tavistock CC 307
Jamie Slonis 76
Doug Ergood 76
Adam Warner 76
Daniel Rexon 79
Thomas Gramigna 80
Sean Leonard 81
Running Deer GC 309
Chris Meares 75
Stephen Barry 76
Thomas Alestock 79
Norman Charlesworth 79
Frank Kohute 81
Chris Bevelheimer 95
Old York Road CC 312
John Samaha 74
Brendan Clearkin, Jr. 76
Jim Rosenbaum 81
Edward Kelly, Jr. 81
Dan Clark 83
Bryan Marvin 86
Overbrook GC 314
Michael Rogers 76
Oscar Mestre 77
Tucker Koch 79
Jason Early 82
Matt Walsh 82
Christopher Lange 84
Mercer Oaks GC 319
Brian Keane 77
Matt O’Connell 80
Brian Sokolowski 81
Douglas Mills 81
Kevin Heyeck 92
Mark Cubberley WD
Bala GC 321
Scott McNeil 78
Andrew Kelly 80
Jack Glacken 81
Jeff Nocella 82
Douglas Christensen 90
Brian Kreamer 92
Dupont CC 321
Alan Lazzarino 77
Joseph Dulka 80
Scott Cahayla 82
Chase Miller 82
Mark Wachter 84
Scott Brittingham 86
Five Ponds GC 322
Drew Panebianco 77
Rodney James 79
Brian Rothaus 83
Nick Rocha 83
Neil Gordon 83
Joe Corcoran 84
Whitford CC 323
Peter Moran 80
Ryan Conners 80
Owen Mulhern 80
Charles Meadows 83
Marc Bricker 87
Matt Dietrich WD
Woodcrest CC 327
Dan Close 79
Ben Keyser 80
Stephen Scott 83
Bill Murray 85
Alex Hargaden 87
Zane Buckley WD
WD – withdrawal
Top 4 scores counted toward team total

Share This: