Waynesborough Country Club welcomes the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 33rd Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf May 25-26. | Tee times | Media guide | History |
A field of 147 players — ages 25 and over — will compete in the tournament season’s first Major. The Middle-Amateur Championship is a two-day, 36-hole stroke play competition, with the low 70 players and ties advancing into the final round. It is a William Hyndman, III Player of the Year points event.
Although Waynesborough is a first-time Middle-Amateur host, the pleasant Paoli, Pa. track brings Major credentials to the table. It’s hosted the GAP Open Championship (1968, 1988, 1999, 2013), Joseph H. Patterson Cup (1969, 1991, 2008) and BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship (1985).
“I played Waynesborough quite a few times since I’ve been in the area. I know and like the track,” Scott McNeil, the defending Middle-Amateur champion, said. “Waynesborough makes you play your best game everywhere. You’re going to have to drive it well and hit your irons well. When you do get to the greens, they’re slapped with undulation and usually pretty quick. It’s going to be difficult to focus on one thing. The winner is going to have to play well in pretty much every aspect of their game.”
In 2015, McNeil became the first player to win the GAP Middle-Amateur and Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Middle-Amateur Championship in the same year. Practice and playing opportunities are more limited a year later. McNeil is involved in commercial real estate in addition to his responsibilities as the parking facilities manager at 10 Rittenhouse Square. As a result, it’s more 6 a.m. range sessions, less afternoon rounds for the Bala Golf Club member lately.
“My game’s OK,” McNeil, 30, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “If things work well for two days, I’ll be able to be in the hunt. If they don’t, then I’ll keep grinding to get as close as I can. I’m just hoping to go back out, have a solid showing, get somewhere in contention so I’ll be able to have more fun for a couple of days.”
McNeil is scheduled to tee off alongside former Middle-Amateur champions Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club (2001, 2004, 2008, 2013) and Peter Barron, III of Stone Harbor Golf Club (2013). The pairing presents a noteworthy wildcard entering this year’s affair.
McDermott, a five-time William Hyndman, III POY, and Jeff Osberg of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, the Association’s reigning POY, will compete in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball May 21-25 at Winged Foot Golf Club. Should the two reach the semifinals on May 25, a withdrawal from the Middle-Amateur is evident — obviously for good reason. Even a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball quarterfinal run means a long, late night drive back from Mamaroneck, N.Y.
“The Mid.-Am. is almost always the first tournament of the year for me, except for this year,” McDermott, 41, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “There’s a possibility of conflict if Jeff and I do well. We certainly have mixed emotions. We’re going to do our best, and if we don’t, then the Mid.-Am. will be waiting. Waynesborough is a very tough course. It really showed its teeth [during the 2013 Open].”
“It’s definitely nice to be able to go out and know that a player of his caliber has your back. I’m really looking forward to [the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball],” Osberg, 31, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “The Mid.-Am. is something I look forward to every year, too. It’s a tournament I’d really like to win. I really hope I’m not there to play it and maybe I can try to win it next year. But if we don’t make it that far in the U.S. Four-Ball, then I’m really looking forward to playing Waynesborough.”
Osberg, a Huntingdon Valley Country Club member, earned runner-up honors in the Middle-Amateur last year. McDermott holds a record four titles. Their presence — or absence — merits monitoring.
“Obviously, you want them to do well and represent. I’d rather see them do well nationally and hopefully give the rest of us a better chance,” McNeil said. “It’s an interesting dynamic going on.”
McDermott and McNeil aren’t the only Middle-Amateur titleholders expected at Waynesborough. Recent former champions in the field include Philadelphia Cricket Club’s John Brennan (2012), Lu Lu Country Club’s Glenn Smeraglio (2011), Tavistock Country Club’s Thomas Gramigna (2010), Philadelphia Publinks GA’s Michael R. Brown, Jr. (2009) and LedgeRock Golf Club’s Chip Lutz (1998, 2007), the Association’s six-time reigning Senior Player of the Year.
As always, the public is welcome to attend. Aside from offering live scoring on its Web site, the Association will provide Middle-Amateur updates via Twitter. Follow @GAofPhilly and connect by using the hashtag #GAPMidAm.
The inaugural Middle-Amateur Championship was held in 1984, three years after the United States Golf Association (USGA) created the U.S. Mid-Am as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.
The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Middle-Amateur was for players 30 years of age and older.
The Association’s Executive Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower.
For more information on the Middle-Amateur Championship, contact the GAP office at 610-687-2340.
Callaway Golf was founded in 1982 by the late Ely Callaway, a visionary entrepreneur who operated under a simple but profound business promise: Deliver Demonstrably Superior, Pleasingly Different products and services. That philosophy turned what was originally a boutique manufacturer of high-quality wedges and putters into the world’s largest maker of premium, performance golf products. The Callaway mission and vision has remained the same; we passionately pursue advanced, innovative technologies that help golfers of all abilities find more enjoyment from the game. Under the Callaway and Odyssey brands, Callaway manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf apparel, footwear and accessories in more than 110 countries worldwide.
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.