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#BMWGTM: Week Two paints clearer Playoff picture

Here is a simple way to examine the Week Two aftermath of the BMW GAP Team Matches. Odd Sections say “win and you’re in.” Even Sections say “points-pending, wins-preferred.”

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  Let’s start with the stalwarts in the event’s top-tier. Reigning Playoff participants Glenmaura National Golf Club, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, Little Mill Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 all remain undefeated entering Week Three. Cricket (2–0), the defending BMW GAP Team Matches champion, cruised past Applebrook Golf Club (0–2), 40–14, to ensure a fateful matchup with Commonwealth National Golf Club (2–0) in Week Three.

Commonwealth National’s last Playoff appearance came in 2009, when it captured its second title (2007).

To preserve such an opportunity, Commonwealth National (2–0) knocked off Saucon Valley Country Club (0–2), 32–22. Two-time Harry Hammond Award winner Ron Robinson accrued 2.5 of a possible three singles points in a match against reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Matthew Mattare. The “Killer Vs” — Mike Valentine and Vincent Varvolis — continue to sting at home. Playing in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots at home, the two again swept their better-ball match in Week Two.

Like Commonwealth National, Llanerch Country Club (2–0) posted a Week Two win to move closer to a postseason berth. It defeated Merion Golf Club (0–2), 34.5–19.5.

“Conditions were very tough at both places with the weather. The wind picked up at Llanerch in the afternoon,” Tom Spano, Llanerch’s captain, said. “It was definitely a factor. [The green speeds at Llanerch] played a role as well.”

Newcomer Michael Quartermain is among those leading the Llanerch charge. He joined the club a year ago and promptly won its men’s championship. Quartermain swept both the singles and better-ball portion of his match against Merion to join Dan Brown as the team’s top scorers through two weeks.

“He doesn’t get a chance to play a lot of tournament golf, but he’s really stepped up the first two weeks (in the BMW GAP Team Matches),” Spano said. “We’re thrilled. He never played Aronimink (Golf Club) and went over there and got points [in Week One]. He never played Merion West. He went there and got points. He’s a road warrior. I’m very pleased that he’s stepped up and is doing what he’s doing.”

Llanerch will encounter Division AA’s top scorers in Zach Arsenault and Thomas Hyland when it faces Little Mill Country Club (2–0). The two, ironically, last met in Week Three of the 2015 BMW GAP Team Matches with a Playoff spot on the line. Llanerch prevailed, 32.5–21.5, that year.

“We have a lot of positive thoughts going into this week,” Spano, 35, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “It really comes down to what away team plays the best since we have such distinct home-course advantages. Little Mill is a very tight course. They have homers there who seem to get a lot of points at home. There is a lot of local knowledge around the Llanerch greens, so we get a lot of points at home. Whatever away team does its job the best is going to come out on top. Little Mill has a very deep team. They’ve had a lot of success in the (BMW GAP) Team Matches over the last decade.”

In Sections 2 and 4, respectively, Glenmaura National (2–0) and Huntingdon Valley (2–0) sit in the proverbial driver’s seat following hard-fought Week Two battles.

Damp and windy conditions complicated an eventual 13-point victory for the first over Philadelphia Cricket Club 2 (1–1).

“We knew it was going to be really tough against (Philadelphia) Cricket (Club) 2. I know the home-weather was nasty, so it was a tough day to play here,” Matthew Dougherty, Glenmaura National’s captain, said. “We had gotten more than an inch and a half of rain in the days preceding yesterday, so I don’t think the course ever really got a chance to dry out from that. It made for difficult conditions for our home team, but they played pretty well yesterday. I couldn’t ask for much more.”

Seeking improvement from Week One at home, Glenmaura delivered by gathering 20.5 points against Philadelphia Cricket Club 2. Dougherty points to the pairing of two-time reigning men’s champion Patrick Mitchell and BMW GAP Team Matches rookie David Mecca as key. The two swept the better-ball portion and accrued a combined 5.5 singles points.

“Pat Mitchell is one of our veterans,” Dougherty, 39, of Alton, Pa., said. “He’s very good at home. He knows the golf course inside-out. I thought it would be helpful for David to play alongside Pat and maybe get some experience. I was able to talk to them both yesterday. David was appreciative of the guidance Pat gave him.”

Glenmaura National leads Philadelphia Cricket Club 2 and Overbrook Golf Club (1–1) by 11.5 points entering Week Three. It faces an Overbrook team coming off a 25.5-point performance at home in Week Two against Makefield Highlands Golf Club (0–2).

“We saw what Overbrook did at home to Makefield, which was eye-opening. We know there’s a home-course advantage there, and their team is loaded with veteran players,” Dougherty said. “We’ll have our full line-up next week, which is nice. We just need to make sure we get the right people to the right place. It’s going to be a tough match. It’s nice to have a lead in points. We can’t take it for granted.”

What Huntingdon Valley lacks in a points-lead it makes up for record-wise. The 32-time BMW GAP Team Matches victors edged Tavistock Country Club by six points to stand atop Section 4.

“Everybody contributed. Everybody got a point. It was great to see,” Dan Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley’s captain, said. “[Conditions were] brutal, windy and cold. Tavistock was in great shape. They’re doing some renovations there and cutting some trees down. You can really feel the winds whipping through that place, which I think will benefit the club in the future.”

Huntingdon Valley’s away team posted 12.5 points to Tavistock’s 14.5. It relied on a 17.5-point performance at home for an ultimate haymaker. Overall, Huntingdon Valley trails Lu Lu Country Club (1–1) by 3.5 and only leads Tavistock by two in the points category. It will oppose LedgeRock Golf Club (0–2), which holds 22.5 points to its credit, in Week Three.

“I know LedgeRock is in last place in our Section right now, but they’re still a tough team to play,” Pinciotti, 46, of Ivyland, Pa., said.

This is the 118th playing of the BMW GAP Team Matches.

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.