It’s status quo atop the BMW GAP Team Matches after Week One.
Reigning Playoff participants Glenmaura National Golf Club, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, Little Mill Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 all emerged victorious as sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s outlined the opening of the event’s 118th playing.
In Division AA, the BMW GAP Team Matches top-tier, defending champion Philadelphia Cricket 1 (1–0) issued a commanding 37-point win over newcomer Saucon Valley Country Club (0–1).
“Everybody played well. It was nice to see points scored in every match,” Kevin Kelly, Cricket’s captain, said. “We were very pleased. Saucon Valley is a good squad with a lot of good players.”
Playing in the No. 1 spot at Cricket, John Brennan, the 2012 GAP Middle-Amateur Champion, won his match against Matthew Mattare, the reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year. Brennan filled in for normal No. 1 and reigning BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion Gregor Orlando, who is currently out of town on his honeymoon.
“[Brennan] volunteered to step into that role and did very well,” Kelly, 51, of Horsham, Pa., said.
Philadelphia Cricket 1 marches its title defense to Applebrook Golf Club (0–1) next week.
“We don’t know much about Applebrook, but we go into all of these matches thinking they’re going to be tough matches. We’re just hoping for a W,” Kelly said.
Glenmaura National (1–0) is coming off a tough 31.50–22.50 victory over Makefield Highlands Golf Club (0–1). It accrued an unexpected yet crucial 19 points on the road.
“I was impressed with the quality of play from Makefield,” Matthew Dougherty, Glenmaura National’s captain, said. “We played really well on the road, which carried us because the home team lost [by two points]. We were fortunate that our road team played as well as it did.”
Glenmaura National expects to be without a couple of key contributors in Week Two, when it opposes fellow unbeaten Philadelphia Cricket Club 2 (1–0).
“They have a tremendous home-course advantage, so we’re going to need to play better at home than we did in Week One,” Dougherty, 39, of Dalton, Pa., said. “I don’t expect to get that kind of production on the road at Cricket.”
Of all Division AA teams, Little Mill (1–0) posted the largest margin of victory in Week One. It defeated Merion Golf Club (0–1), 47-7.
“We never expected to get off to that hot of a start against Merion. They’re a fine team,” Michael Hyland, Little Mill’s captain, said. “Our guys played well. We had a couple of guys who needed to fill in for Week One, and they played beautifully.”
Rookie Daniel Buzgon is one of the aforementioned fill-ins who made an impact. Paired with Zach Arsenault, the two swept their respective singles and better-ball matches at Little Mill.
“[Daniel Buzgon] is probably our most improved player at the club,” Hyland said. “He’s a professional poker player who spends the summers in Las Vegas, so we only have him in the spring and fall.”
Little Mill doesn’t expect to make more calls to the bullpen for its Week Two match-up against Aronimink Golf Club (0–1).
“I will let the cat out of the bag. We are going to be really strong next week,” Hyland, 39, of Medford, N.J., said. “We’re really looking forward to getting to full strength.”
In Section IV, Huntingdon Valley (1–0) rode a strong 20.5-point performance at home to victory over reigning Philadelphia Team Champions Lu Lu Country Club (0–1) in Week One. Playing in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots at Huntingdon Valley, youngsters Conor McGrath and Brian Isztwan swept Lu Lu’s Glenn Smeraglio and Michael Johnson in both the singles and better-ball portions. Overall, Huntingdon Valley grabbed nine better-ball points at home.
“Conor and Brian played out of their minds,” Dan Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley’s captain, said. “That was great to see because Brian wasn’t supposed to play this week. He had a tournament, then he called me last week and said, ‘I think I’ll be able to play.’ That was great. We had another stick we could throw out there because Lu Lu is tough from top to bottom.”
The No. 1 seed is at stake next week when Huntingdon Valley takes on fellow unbeaten Tavistock Country Club (1–0).
“We’re just going to try and peg it and grind it out. Tavistock is tough on their home track,” Pinciotti, 46, of Ivyland, Pa., said. “We’re hoping to keep it close and maybe sneak out a win.”
BMW GAP Team Matches
Since 1897, the BMW GAP Team Matches has been contested annually, save World War II (1943-45) and the severe ice storm of 1994. The Association’s forefathers conceived the Matches to promote spirit, fellowship and camaraderie. It started with the four founding clubs — Belmont Golf Association (now Aronimink Golf Club), Merion Cricket Club (now Merion Golf Club), Philadelphia Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket — each fielding two teams with six players per side. First known as the Interclub Team Matches, the event changed to the Suburban League Matches in 1915 before adopting its current moniker in 1997. BMW returns for a fourth year as the event’s presenting sponsor.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 200 Full Member Clubs and 70,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of 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.