GULPH MILLS, Pa.–Eric Schmehl of Moorestown Field Club didn’t need or want the extra time on Friday afternoon, but a drenching thunderstorm forced an 1:30 delay to his possible tournament clinching eagle chance. An opportunity he knew would result in the biggest victory of his career in the 6th Christman Cup at Gulph Mills GC.
“I was thinking about how it was going to break and how the water was going to affect the speed,” said Schmehl, 17, of Shamong, N.J. “Sitting for an hour messes with your head a little bit.
“[Then] before play restarted, I stood over the putt and visualized what it was going to do.”
What it did was go in.
Schmehl canned the 30-foot uphill, 1½ cup right to left breaker on No. 18 (par 5, 431 yards) and walked away in disbelief.
“It was a little skill and a little luck,” said the stunned Schmehl of the putt. “I realized the situation. I needed to two putt for the playoff so I didn’t try anything crazy. I knew if I could two putt I could have another chance to win later on.”
The Seneca High School senior raised an arm and smiled when the putt dropped. The eagle also clinched the Harry Hammond Award (see below).
Schmehl carded a morning round even-par 71 and was a shot behind first-round leader Tony Perla of Radnor Valley CC after 18 holes. Jason Cohan of The ACE Club was in second place with a 1-under 70.
However, the heat and pressure started to take its toll. Perla fell back to the pack, and Cohan, who made the afternoon turn at 1-under-par 34, went double-bogey, bogey on Nos. 10 (par 4, 411 yards) and 11 (par 4, 318 yards). He eventually finished with an even-par 71 and held the lead until Schmehl’s heroics.
Schmehl, too, made the second-round turn in 1-under-par 34. He moved to 2-under through 15 holes with birdies on Nos. 14 (par 3, 183 yards) and 15 (par 4, 394 yards) before the thoughts of a potential victory creeped into his mind.
“I started getting nervous,” said Schmehl, whose father Butch has been the head professional at Moorestown Field Club for the last 20 years. “I got a little too tentative on 16 (par 4, 400 yards) and blocked my drive into the trees and on 17 (par 3, 211 yards) I landed my 5-iron on the down slope and it rolled to the back of the green. Then I three putted.”
Schmehl made bogeys on both those holes before heading to 18.
He hit his 19-degree rescue club into the right rough off the tee. He used the same club for his second shot and landed it about 15 yards short of the putting green. It rolled up, about three feet on and left him that eagle chance.
Cohan finished in second-place at 1-under par (70-71) and Cole Willcox of Philadelphia CC placed third (73-72).
“This is a good event with a lot of solid local players,” said Cohan, 16, of Wayne, Pa. “I didn’t look at the scoreboard. I went out and wanted to have fun and play a round like I do with my friends.”
Harry Hammond Award
The Christman Cup also serves as the final two rounds for the Harry Hammond Award. The Harry Hammond is given to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying round of the Junior Boys’ Championship and the two rounds of the Christman Cup.
Schmehl defeated Perla by four strokes for the Award.
|Name||Club||Rd 1||Rd 2||Total|
|Eric Schmehl||Moorestown Field Club||71||69||140|
|Jason Cohan||The ACE Club||70||71||141|
|Cole Willcox||Philadelphia Country Club||73||72||145|
|Robert Galbreath, Jr.||Huntingdon Valley Country Club||76||70||146|
|Tony R. Perla||Radnor Valley Country Club||69||77||146|
|Michael J. Gross||Glenmaura National Golf Club||74||74||148|
|James Kania, Jr.||Overbrook Golf Club||75||75||150|
|Jordan Wycoff||Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||79||75||154|
|Reed M. Valutas||Overbrook Golf Club||80||74||154|
|Brian C. Creghan||Plymouth Country Club||77||77||154|
|Richard J. Marabella||Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||78||76||154|
|Philip J. Bartholomew||Yardley Country Club||79||76||155|
|Samuel Ryder||Aronimink Golf Club||74||81||155|
|Chip Culp||Philadelphia Cricket Club||79||76||155|
|Duncan Zeiders||Old York Road Country Club||80||75||155|
|Nicholas DeLuca||Lookaway Golf Club||77||79||156|
|Stephen Dressel||Spring Ford Country Club||75||81||156|
|Jason Bernstein||White Manor Country Club||83||75||158|
|Daniel Rexon||Tavistock Country Club||79||80||159|
|Erik Fischer||Merion Golf Club||83||76||159|
|Michael Kania||Overbrook Golf Club||84||76||160|
|Grant L. Gaugler, III||Makefield Highlands Golf Club||79||81||160|
|Colin P. Smith||Radley Run Country Club||85||76||161|
|Zach Smith||Doylestown Country Club||85||79||164|
|Cory Siegfried||Philadelphia Country Club||77||87||164|
|Christopher A. Gunsel||Spring Mill Country Club||88||87||175|
|Dan Gallagher||Riverton Country Club||88||WD||WD|
|Adam Pifer||Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club||80||WD||WD|