GAP is back.
LANCASTER, Pa.-The Association returned to the golf course Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic with its most prestigious tournament, the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, at Lancaster Country Club (par 70, 6,629 yards). A field of 80 players teed it up for the 18-hole Stroke-Play Qualifying round amidst a multitude of COVID-19 protocols and procedures to keep players and staff safe.
Two players cracked red numbers to share medalist honors. Will Davenport of Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and Jalen Griffin of Five Ponds Golf Club both carded 1-under par 69s. Davenport drew the No. 1 seed and Griffin the No. 2 seed, the result of a blind draw, for the 32-player match play bracket. The cut line fell at 5-over-par 75. A nine-player-for-four-spots playoff begins at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Tee times for the match play bracket proper begins at 8 a.m.
In addition to the medalists, Jeremy Wall, the two-time defending champion, kept his historic hopes alive with a 2-over 72 to advance. No player has ever won three straight Philadelphia Amateurs. Last year, Wall defeated Pine Valley Golf Club’s Jeff Osberg, 3&2, at Stonewall, to become the 10th player in Amateur history to repeat. Wall, the No. 15 seed, faces 2001 Amateur Champion Brian Gillespie of St. Davids Golf Club, the No. 18 seed, at 9:37 a.m. Osberg is the only other former Amateur Champion to make it through qualifying.
Like most in the field, both Davenport and Griffin’s games were a little tournament rusty. But both grinded out pars throughout at a perfect Lancaster Country Club sporting pure greens.
Griffin, a former GAP Junior golf standout, made his Amateur plans around a family visit. He graduated from the University of San Francisco a couple years ago and returned this season to his alma mater as assistant men’s golf coach. This is his first Amateur since 2015 when he fell in the first round of match play at Llanerch Country Club.
It was his first trip to Lancaster. He registered 15 pars, two birdies and a bogey.
“I tried to keep things as simple as possible, swing the club and stay out of my own way,” said Griffin, 24, of San Francisco, Calif. “I wanted to get off to a quick start and I did that with a birdie on No. 2. To be bogey free all the way up the No. 17 is something I am proud of for sure. Especially with the speed of the greens.”
Griffin’s last tournament action came in February in the San Francisco City Golf Championship.
Similar in format to the Amateur, he qualified for match play before losing after winning one match.
“I just wanted to get into the dance,” Griffin said.
He birdied No. 2 (par 4, 372 yards) by knocking a pitching wedge from 138 yards to 15 feet and making the putt. His other under-par score came on No. 14 (par 4, 400 yards) with a pitching wedge from 130 yards that he lifted to seven feet before converting.
Griffin’s lone blemish came on No. 17 (par 3, 180 yards) when he charged a 35-birdie putt and missed the five-foot comebacker.
Davenport, 27, of Lansdale, Pa., is the reigning GAP Middle-Amateur Champion. He spent a chunk of quarantine with family in Florida in the hopes of keeping his game in shape. And, in the end, it was time well spent.
Initially, it wasn’t as smooth a ride as he hoped. He a three-putted No. 1 (par 4, 410 yards) for bogey and a poor drive on No. 2 (par 4, 372 yards) left him searching. However, a solid second shot on the second hole helping him save par and instilled some confidence. He birdied No. 4 (par 4, 342 yards) with a 56-degree wedge from 116 yards that stopped three feet from the cup, and No. 8 (par 3, 192 yards) after dropping a 6-iron to 10 feet. In between, he bogeyed No. 7 (par 5, 528 yards) when his second shot found the water. He turned in even par.
A wedge on No. 13 (par 5, 550 yards) from 75 yards stopped 15 feet from the hole. He drained that to card one birdie and eight pars on the backnine.
“I was petrified of the greens to start,” said Davenport. “I haven’t putted on greens this fast in many years, which was awesome. The course was so pure. The swing felt shaky as first but came around. I knew I had to be really cognizant of leaving the ball under the hole and that’s what I did the rest of the day.”
Davenport is in his second year in The Wharton School MBA Program.
The course scoring average was 76.18. The hardest hole was the par 3, 12th measuring 180 yards. It played to a 3.84 scoring average.
NOTES: GAP tournament protocols included: Groups limited to two players; no caddies or spectators allowed; players could not touch the flagstick and there were no rakes in the bunker. A limited GAP staff with no volunteers administered the event.
Typically, the Amateur field is about 150 players competing over 36 holes at two courses for qualifying. The pandemic restrictions forced the reduction of both.
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, 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 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|William Davenport, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||69|
|Jalen Griffin, Five Ponds Golf Club||69|
|Zachary Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club||70|
|Peter Barron, III, Galloway National Golf Club||70|
|Lukas Clark, Galloway National Golf Club||70|
|Michael Davis, Aronimink Golf Club||70|
|Jeff Osberg, Pine Valley Golf Club||70|
|Dawson Anders, Indian Valley Country Club||71|
|Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu Country Club||72|
|Christopher Cerminaro, Elkview Country Club||72|
|Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club||72|
|Michael O’Brien, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||72|
|Patrick Sheehan, Talamore Country Club||72|
|J.T. Spina, Spring Ford Country Club||72|
|Ryan Tall, Spring Ford Country Club||72|
|Jeremy Wall, Manasquan River Golf Club||72|
|Campbell Wolf, Carlisle Country Club||72|
|P.J. Acierno, LuLu Country Club||73|
|Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club||73|
|Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club||73|
|Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||73|
|Patrick Knott, Merion Golf Club||73|
|Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||73|
|Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||73|
|Cory Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club||73|
|Nate Menon, Ledgerock Golf Club||74|
|Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club||74|
|Grant Skyllas, Ledgerock Golf Club||74|
|*Austin Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club||75|
|*Dougie Ergood, Tavistock Country Club||75|
|*Benjamin Feld, Green Valley Country Club||75|
|*Jack Irons, Little Mill Country Club||75|
|*Richard Riva, Bent Creek Country Club||75|
|*Ron Robinson, Commonwealth National Golf Club||75|
|*Calen Sanderson, Jericho National Golf Club||75|
|*Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club||75|
|*Nicholas Vecellio, Moselem Springs Golf Club||75|
|Failed to qualify|
|Peter Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club||76|
|John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club||76|
|Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook||76|
|Scott Ehrlich, Waynesborough Country Club||76|
|Andrew Keeling, Kennett Square G&CC||76|
|Vince Kwon, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||76|
|Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club||76|
|Marty McGuckin, Philadelphia Cricket Club||76|
|Connor McNicholas, The 1912 Club||76|
|Joe Parrini, Country Club of York||76|
|Phil Bartholomew, Philadelphia Cricket Club||77|
|Garrett Engle, Country Club of Harrisburg||77|
|Casey Lyons, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||77|
|Gregor Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club||77|
|Joshua Ryan, GAP Youth on Course||77|
|Griffin Smith, Jericho National Golf Club||77|
|Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia Cricket Club||77|
|Ambrose Abbracciamento, Jericho National Golf Club||78|
|Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club||78|
|Alex Butler, Bluestone Country Club||78|
|Zach Juhasz, Northampton Country Club||78|
|David Powers, Country Club at Woodloch Springs||78|
|Kevin Scherr, Woodstone Golf Club||78|
|Connor Schmidt, Lu Lu Country Club||78|
|Eric Williams, Honesdale Golf Club||78|
|Andreas Aivazoglou, Rolling Green Golf Club||79|
|Gary McCabe, Jr., The 1912 Club||79|
|Brandon Raihl, Hartefeld National||79|
|Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club||79|
|Evan Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club||80|
|Andy Beittel, Manufacturers’ G&CC||80|
|Andy Butler, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||80|
|Richie Kline, Kennett Square G&CC||80|
|Jack Wall, Manasquan River Golf Club||81|
|Dan Close, Hidden Creek Golf Club||83|
|Zachary Falone, Sakima Country Club||83|
|Andrew Curran, Philadelphia Cricket Club||84|
|Bryan Keeling, Spring Mill Country Club||84|
|Eric Schram, Lookaway Golf Club||84|
|Adam Armagost, Medford Village Country Club||85|
|Kyle Deisher, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||86|
|Benjamin Pochet, Spring Ford Country Club||88|
|Ben Keyser, Woodcrest Country Club||89|
|* – will compete in 9-for-4 playoff Tuesday a.m.|