Jun 07, 2011

Manufacturers G&CC set to host 111th Amateur Championship

 The Golf Association of Philadelphia brings its most prestigious tournament to one of the region’s most revered courses June 14-16 & 18.

  The 111th Amateur Championship will be contested at Manufacturers Golf & Country Club in Ft. Washington, Pa. History shows that when the two come together, excellence takes center stage. Howard Everitt of Atlantic City CC won his third Amateur title at Manufacturers in 1961. A budding R. Jay Sigel of Aronimink GC captured his first Amateur crown in 1973 at Manufacturers. And two of Association’s most prominent Senior players struck Amateur gold at Manufacturers: Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC in 1977, and Christopher Lange of Overbrook GC in 1984.

  Both Lange, the Association’s only Grand Slam Champion, and Lutz, a two-time Middle-Amateur Champion and the reigning Senior Player of the Year, represent two of 129 players all striving to attain the coveted J. Wood Platt Trophy. Reigning champion Justin Martinson will not return to defend his title; he turned professional last month. However, eight past winners are hoping to reclaim Amateur glory, including Kyle Davis of Fieldstone GC, the 2006 titleholder.

  “The Amateur is undoubtedly my favorite tournament on my summer schedule,” Davis, of Kennett Square, Pa., said. “It is the most grueling test of golf we face as amateurs in the GAP throughout the summer. The crystal from my Amateur win in 2006 is my most prized possession. No other tournament can test an individual mentally and physically like the Amateur due to the format. It’s as much a marathon as it is a golf tournament.”

  Davis is three weeks removed from his Middle-Amateur Championship debut, where the 25-year-old placed tied for 12th at Laurel Creek CC. He will practice rigorously to sharpen his golf game for Manufacturers.

  “I plan to be logging a ton of hours on the short game area at Fieldstone over the next few weeks to prepare,” Davis said.

  Also adhering to a diligent practice schedule is Philip Bartholomew of Yardley CC, the 2007 Amateur Champion. Summer internships and a knee injury prevented Bartholomew from playing golf competitively over the last three years.

  “I am very excited to jump back into competition again,” Bartholomew, of Yardley, Pa, said. “Over those few summers when I wasn’t in the area, I built up an appreciation for the plethora of talent and tremendous camaraderie that our area has to offer. That being said, it is a great honor to represent the GAP as a past champion and I look forward to playing and reconnecting with a lot of the GAP guys once again.”

  Its structure alone makes the Amateur Championship a true test of mental and physical strength. When the event’s contested on a Willliam Flynn-designed golf course, that test becomes all the more difficult.

  “The shorter, classical design demands some thought off the tee and great wedge play,” Bartholomew said. “Growing up playing a course like Yardley, I am comfortable hitting a bunch of hybrids and 3-woods of tees. At the end of the week, I think it is going to come down to whoever gets hot with the putter.”

  A 36-hole qualifier will be held on the first day — 18 at Manufacturers and 18 at North Hills Country Club. The low 32 finishers advance into the match play draw. A sudden-death playoff will take place to break any ties for the final spots.

  First and second-round matches are set for June 15. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held June 16. It all leads to the 36-hole final on Saturday, June 18.

  In addition to determining the match play field, the Amateur Championship Qualifier also serves as first two rounds of the Silver Cross Award.

  Both the public and media are welcome to attend.

  NOTES – Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC (2001), Michael Hyland of Little Mill CC (2000), Michael McDermott of Merion GC (2008) and Brian Rothaus of Five Ponds GC (1988) are also former Amateur Champions in this year’s field … Manufacturers has yet to field an Amateur Champion. N. Harper Steward reached the 1954 Final, but fell to the legendary John Dyniewski of Whitemarsh Valley CC, 4&3, on Merion’s East Course …Of last year’s 32 match-play qualifiers, 29 have returned to compete this year … Kyle Sterbinsky of Yardley CC is the youngest player in the Amateur field at 14 years old. Michael Rose of Meadowlands CC is the oldest at age 64 … Manufacturers has hosted seven Amateur Championships, most recently in 1996.

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