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McGuckin keeps truckin; RiverCrest member claims Christman Cup

 PITTSGROVE, N.J. — Marty McGuckin entered the summer with two golf goals in mind: perform well in tournaments and prepare for college golf. The RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve youngster is achieving both with flying colors. | Scorecards | History | Photo gallery | Junior POY standings | Harry Hammond Award standings |

  McGuckin, runner-up in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Junior Boys’ Championship two weeks ago, filed a 3-under-par 141 to capture the 17th Christman Cup presented by GlobalGolfPost at a humid Running Deer Golf Club (par 72, 6,666 yards) Thursday. He was the only player to finish the 36-hole affair under par.

  Spring Ford Country Club’s Benjamin Pochet, playing in his first GAP event, placed second at 144.

  “I really wanted to win the Junior Boys’ (Championship) and I just ran into [David Colleran, Jr.], who played really well. I really wanted to win this championship to show that I can do it,” McGuckin, 18, of Valley Forge, Pa., said. “I’m really happy that I did. It was important to rebound.”

  He pried a trophy from the rim and dunked it Thursday.

  At a venue that preaches tee precision, McGuckin, a burly basher who favors ball-striking, put his driver on standby and focused on distance control to take command of the leaderboard. A driving 2-iron and 3-iron did the weightlifting throughout the day. McGuckin also ingested a Running Deer prescription: avoid fairway bunkers at all costs.

  “If you hit it in the fairway bunkers here, you’re probably not going to make par unless you hit really good shots out of them,” he said. “You have to keep the ball in the fairway and you have to hit the ball on the greens. They’re very sloped, and some of the pins are tough to get up-and-down from.”

  In the morning, McGuckin, who started on the back nine, birdied four of his last seven holes to emerge as the event’s 18-hole leader. On No. 3 (par 4, 365 yards), he knocked a 9-iron 142 yards to 15 feet. He walloped a 6-iron 233 yards to 15 feet on the par 5, 520-yard No. 5 and logged two putts for a 4. Tight approaches on Nos. 7 (par 3, 157 yards) and 8 (par 4, 392 yards) also led to red. He stopped a 9-iron at three feet on the first, a gap wedge 152 yards to a foot on the latter.

  McGuckin held a two-stroke lead over Austin Barbin of the GAP Junior Players Club and Matt Graeff of Cedarbrook Country Club. That margin quickly ballooned to five. McGuckin’s chasers gave a few back while he started Round Two the same way he started Round One: by stuffing wedges for birdies. On No. 1 (par 4, 384 yards), he hit a lob wedge 106 yards to a foot. McGuckin used a gap wedge from 132 yards on No. 10 (par 4, 378 yards) in the morning. Same result.

  As temperatures escalated into the mid-90s, the 78-player field struggled to keep pace. Pochet, 16, of Royersford, Pa., remained McGuckin’s closest threat at even par. He netted 14 greens per round, but only turned four into birdies on the day.

  “My game is where I want it to be. ‘Was I going to make putts?’ was the only question coming into today,” Pochet, a rising junior at Spring-Ford Senior High School, said. “It didn’t really happen all day. On a hot day like this where you’re just going to get tired, mental mistakes are likely to happen. I had four bogeys and no doubles. I was really happy with how I performed out there.”

  Through 27 holes, McGuckin, a Malvern Prep graduate, remained at 5 under. He encountered bunker trouble on No. 10 and made bogey after hopping from fairway to right greenside. With his wits in check, McGuckin birdied the next hole (par 4, 355 yards), cutting a 7-iron 167 yards to 25 feet — the putt swerving like a stunt driver in an avalanche.

  “It was a putt that went left up the hill, right down the hill and then left at the end. I just poured it in the middle of the hole,” he said.

  McGuckin relied on the guidance of good friend and caddie Tim Irvine to secure victory. Two bogeys coming in — a failed sand save on No. 15 (par 4, 340 yards) and a short-sided situation on No. 16 (par 3, 171 yards) — didn’t seem to sting.

  “It was nice to have Tim on my bag for me,” McGuckin, who will attend Temple University in the fall, said. “He helped me out with a lot of reads and club choices. He really kept me focused for the last nine. The second round was a lot more difficult mentally because I knew what I had to do to win, and the golf course was playing much harder because the greens were harder.”

  McGuckin’s interest in competitive golf deepened when he earned a spot on the Malvern Prep golf team during his junior year. He worked on improving over the winter, his sights set on the collegiate level.

  Thursday’s triumph is a sign he’s ready.

  “Thirty-six holes is mentally tough on me and probably most kids,” McGuckin said. “You have to stay strong and focus. I think in college, it’s important to mentally be strong: focus on your targets, focus on the greens and focus on what you want to do with the ball.”

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for the Golf Association of Philadelphia who retired in January 2000.

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 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. 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.

Name, club R1-R2–Total
Marty McGuckin, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 68-73–141
Benjamin Pochet, Spring Ford Country Club 73-71–144
Wills Montgomery, Whitford Country Club 71-75–146
Billy Civitella, Radnor Valley Country Club 73-73–146
Matt Graeff, Cedarbrook Country Club 70-77–147
David Kim, Commonwealth National Golf Club 75-73–148
Ron Robinson, Talamore Country Club 77-71–148
Austin Barbin, GAP Junior Players Club 70-78–148
Daniel Rieger, Sunnybrook Golf Club 76-74–150
Nicholas Scott, GAP Junior Players Club 71-79–150
Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 79-72–151
Jake Calamaro, Rolling Green Golf Club 77-74–151
Matt Marino, Waynesborough Country Club 75-76–151
Eric Carlidge, North Hills Country Club 75-76–151
Doug Ergood, Tavistock Country Club 74-78–152
Connor Boham, Spring Ford Country Club 76-77–153
Luca Jezzeny, The Bucks Club 76-77–153
Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 78-75–153
Jack Melville, Lu Lu Country Club 76-77–153
David Colleran, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club 76-77–153
Danny Dougherty, DuPont Country Club 74-79–153
Zachary Barbin, GAP Junior Players Club 81-72–153
Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club 78-76–154
Ryan Bree, Fieldstone Golf Club 78-76–154
Ben Wiseman, The Bucks Club 76-78–154
Anthony Barr, Blue Bell Country Club 80-74–154
Caleb Ryan, GAP Junior Players Club 77-77–154
Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club 78-77–155
Max Harrington, Moselem Springs Golf Club 77-78–155
Alex Cook, Waynesborough Country Club 78-77–155
Andrew Simpson, Indian Valley Country Club 79-76–155
Matthew Davis, Aronimink Golf Club 77-78–155
Case Hummer, Aronimink Golf Club 74-81–155
Greg Welsh, Talamore Country Club 79-77–156
Samuel Walker, St. Davids Golf Club 79-77–156
Dawson Anders, Indian Valley Country Club 77-80–157
Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country Club 78-79–157
Caleb Rossi, Sea Oaks Golf Club 77-80–157
Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club 81-77–158
Greg DeLuca, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 77-81–158
Andrew Kotler, Cherry Valley Country Club 78-81–159
Akhil Giri, Laurel Creek Country Club 79-80–159
Evan Brown, Hartefeld National 76-84–160
Frankie Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 78-82–160
Nicky Marrollo, Whitford Country Club 79-81–160
Shravann Raja, Laurel Creek Country Club 75-85–160
Daniel Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 84-76–160
Noah Harrington, Cedarbrook Country Club 77-83–160
Shane Nocito, Philmont Country Club 82-78–160
Cal Buonocore, Llanerch Country Club 79-81–160
Thomas Bird, Bent Creek Country Club 84-77–161
Andrew Wallace, Green Valley Country Club 85-77–162
Tyler Roland, Overbrook Golf Club 80-82–162
Jack Mitchell, V, Waynesborough Country Club 81-82–163
Andrew Curran, Overbrook Golf Club 77-86–163
Luke Sliwowski, Greate Bay Country Club 79-84–163
Frankie McVeigh, Llanerch Country Club 79-85–164
David Hurly, White Manor Country Club 83-81–164
Dante DiStefano, Commonwealth National Golf Club 82-83–165
Michael Zeng, Applecross Country Club 81-86–167
Ward McHenry, Spring Ford Country Club 87-80–167
Francis Rosato, Aronimink Golf Club 77-91–168
Joseph Dougherty, Rolling Green Golf Club 84-86–170
Brandon Jensen, Sandy Run Country Club 85-86–171
D.J. Pinciotti, III, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 83-88–171
Billy Matthews, North Hills Country Club 86-86–172
Bobby Beck, Lehigh Country Club 86-86–172
Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 91-82–173
Davis Flannery, Overbrook Golf Club 88-86–174
Joseph Polidoro, GAP Junior Players Club 86-89–175
Frank Rauscher, IV, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale 91-85–176
Andreas Aivazoglou, Rolling Green Golf Club 86-92–178
Griffin Kennedy, Overbrook Golf Club 94-84–178
Kyle Kellenbenz, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 97-91–188
John Updike, Aronimink Golf Club 75-WD–WD
Griffin Smith, Jericho National Golf Club 78-WD–WD