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Final Four teams prepare for battle

   Commonwealth National Golf Club, Tavistock Country Club and Yardley Country Club are each finalists in the GAP Team Matches Playoff for the second straight year. That trio joins Moselem Springs Golf Club (3-0), who defeated Huntsville GC (1–2) Sunday, 42–29.25, in the Final Four. It is Moselem’s first Playoff berth in club history.

   Commonwealth National GC, Tavistock CC and Yardley CC have each competed in and won a GAP Team Matches Championship this decade. Furthermore, the three teams have won six of the eight GAP Team Matches titles since 2000.

   “It will be a great opportunity for us to play such perennial powerhouses as Tavistock, Commonwealth and Yardley,” Bill West, captain of Moselem Springs GC Team 1, said. “We are excited about the opportunity to play with the best that GAP has to offer.”

   In Moselem Springs’ victory over Huntsville, Joe Butto carded a team-high six points. Butto, along with teammates Don Kozik and Tom Soares, have been “exceptional point scorers” throughout the GAP Team Matches, according to West.

   “It was definitely a team effort and came down to a few close matches both home and away,” he said. “Our home course advantage was a key factor in the first and third matches of the year. The conditions of the course have been the best we have ever seen for this time of year and with the fast greens, course knowledge is paramount.”

   Commonwealth GC (3-0) secured a Playoff spot with a 44.25–19.75 victory over Huntingdon Valley CC (1–2) Sunday. It led all Division AA teams with 149 points.

   Captain John Robinson believes his squad’s younger players have contributed greatly to Commonwealth’s Team Matches success.

   “We’re very happy that our Junior Program started years ago has helped us get by Huntingdon Valley, Merion and Manufacturers. The unsung heroes are Dr. Grant Liu, who’s the member who runs the program along with our Assistant Professional Travis Deibert. We’re very proud of the program and the juniors who started here when they were 12.

   “Matt Teesdale, Peter Eiler and Connor McNicholas were kept off the team in previous years, but this year, the players unselfishly voted them eligible and they are some of our many on-course heroes. Adding the current Patterson Cup Champion in Glenn Smeraglio to our veteran anchors Mike Moffat, Brett Diakon and Ryan Gelrod certainly helps as well. They’re all playing very well.”

   Commonwealth feels proud to again be in the Playoff, according to Robinson.

   “It’s a tribute to our entire club that we’ve now made the final for the fifth year in a row,” he said. “From the Arnold Palmer’s course design, conditions and facilities, to the support we get from the staff and membership, it’s the kind of place that builds and attracts great players. That’s really the key to why we’re in the final again with our best team ever. From here, it’s all about going out there one more time and grinding it out in the final.

   “Tavistock is the clear favorite,” Robinson added.

   Tavistock CC (3–0) triumphed over previously undefeated Llanerch CC (2–1) Sunday, 47–18.75. Ryan Jordan led Tavistock’s visiting team with 4.75 points while Sean Leonard carded 4.75 points for the home squad.

   “Our team played hard and we were able to grind out a win against tough opponents and weather conditions,” Mark Kemenosh, captain of Tavistock CC Team 1, said.

   Tavistock CC hopes to earn its fifth title in six years.

   “We are looking forward to this week and are trying to find the right players to fit the courses as this is a whole different format, which is really exciting,” Kemenosh said.

   Like Tavistock, Yardley CC (3–0) edged a previously unbeaten team in Philadelphia Cricket Club (2–1), 34.75–32.50, Sunday to secure a Playoff spot. Joseph Gunerman earned 4.75 points for Yardley’s visiting squad in the win.

   The GAP Team Matches Playoff begins at 12 p.m. The format 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. An additional quarter point is awarded for margin of victory.