Commonwealth National GC returned to the top of the GAP Team Matches world last Saturday, defeating a trio of heavyweights for its second Championship in the last three years.
Commonwealth, which also took the 2007 title, scored 92.5 points to upend Yardley CC, 82 points, Moselem Springs GC, 66 points, and reigning champion Tavistock CC, 38.25 points.
“First we’d like to congratulate Yardley for an awesome performance in the final,” said Commonwealth captain John Robinson. “Normally 80 points [wins the title] but [Yardley] turned in a super performance. Second, I want to congratulate Tavistock on its amazing run over the last five years [four titles]. Also, I want to congratulate Moselem Springs for being in the final and doing very well both at home and at Commonwealth.
“Our guys are very happy to say the least. As I’ve said before, the history and format of this event is second to none. The intricate nature of the point system rewards great play over four golf courses. Both Yardley and Commonwealth performed very well at each venue. We were just lucky to squeak by. Our team works very hard to prepare for these matches. To get it done on the final day provides both relief and a rewarding feeling of accomplishment.
Robinson continued, “This year is just not the same as the first one, though. This was more about execution while the first one, in 2007, felt like we did the impossible. This year we knew we could win. We also knew how we could win. From there, it was up to each person to either win points or limit points lost. This one also validates our 2007 victory. Again, a tribute to the course and the entire club.”
The format for the GAP Team Matches Playoff is individual match play with 12 total players competing from each club. Three-man teams from each club play at the four sites with each individual match worth three points: in, out and overall. An additional quarter point is awarded for margin of victory.
The main factor in Commonwealth National GC’s victory was its consistency.
CNGC scored 32.5 at Tavistock; 25.25 points at home; 17.75 at Yardley and 17 at Moselem Springs. Only Yardley, who scored between 24.5 and 16.25 points at all four courses, were close to Commonwealth.
“The key to victory was the great personal efforts from many players that made our strategy pay off,” said Robinson, who also captained Commonwealth’s only other victorious GAP Team Match team. “The strategy became much easier this year due to our depth and players that can play well away from home.
“This year, even though one of our great junior players Peter Eiler could not play in the final, we had a better team on paper than in 2007. When looking at the scoresheets certain performances jump out. Coming away with 32.5 points at Tavistock was the main reason we won. Glenn Smeraglio winning all three matches 7-up; Brett Diakon winning all three matches and Mike Anderson winning two matches took away the well-known Tavistock home-course advantage. The next key was Ryan Gelrod, who took on the No. 1 spot at Yardley. Ryan shot 71 and did not lose a match. He made us look good for moving Glenn to Tavistock.
“Also we defended our home course with three young players who never played in the final before. That’s major pressure because you’re out there alone with no partner in the final. Matt Teesdale did a great job in the No. 1 spot winning two matches. Scott McLaughlin did not lose a match in the three spot and Connor McNicholas shot an amazing 73, winning all three matches as a junior in high school. Connor is a great ball striker. We had the course set up at 7,000 yards and with all the rain it was playing more like 8,000 yards. So his score, along with a great 73 by Tom Hyland from Moselem, were very impressive.”
As Robinson mentioned, Smeraglio, a long-time Yardley CC member who moved over to Commonwealth National GC this year, scored an unbelievable 14.25 points at Tavistock CC. Smeraglio scored 4.75 points against each of his opponents: Mark Miller of Yardley CC, Jamie Slonis of Tavistock CC and Christopher Storck of Moselem Springs GC – all top GAP players.
Diakon scored 11 and Anderson 7.25 points at Tavistock.
Yardley CC team captain Paul Rogowicz and Moselem Springs GC’s Joe Butto each scored a Playoff high 15.25 points to lead their respective squads.
“Yardley can’t complain,” said Rogowicz. “When the matches started, if you were to tell us would finish second overall I am sure no one would have believed that. Congratulations to Commonwealth. They are the best. Glenn played great. I think that was the difference in the end.”
Added Robinson, “You can’t say enough about Glenn Smeraglio. He shot 68 with no bogeys. Glenn has transformed his game from very good to great. Part of his plan to transform his game to a national championship level was joining Commonwealth where he could hit more long irons, etc. We’re very happy he finally came over and that his hard work has paid off for us in the final. A total of 14.25 pts on the road in the No. 1 spot is amazing.”
NOTES: In the eight Challenge Matches between AA and A, six were won by the Division A team. Only Huntingdon Valley CC and Olde York CC held their position in Division AA … All four of Commonwealth National GC’s teams won their respective division titles … Of the five new clubs that joined the Association this January, Northampton Valley CC; Loch Nairn GC; Galen Hall GC and Miry Run CC each won their respective divisions … Schuylkill CC, the other GAP newcomer, finished 2-1 overall and second in its division.