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#GAPJunior: Day One

Phoenixville’s Lofland fires 64, tops Junior Boys’ Qual.

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — Win, win, tie for second. Morgan Lofland’s tournament results of late “ignited the flame” for a peak performance Tuesday in the 106th Junior Boys’ Championship.

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The Phoenixville Country Club member added medalist to an already convincing résumé. He scorched The 1912 Club (par 70, 6,645 yards) to the tune of 6-under-par 64. As a result, Lofland earned the No. 1 seed and fell a stroke shy of tying the event’s scoring record (in relation to par), set in 2016 by Nicholas Gianelos at Tavistock Country Club.

The cut line for the Championship flight stopped at 72. A seven-for-four sudden-deathplayoff begins tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. The Round of 16 starts at 8 a.m.; the quarterfinals will follow.

Lofland won the Philadelphia Junior Tour’s Precision Pro Golf Open June 11-12 and Rehoboth Junior Open June 16. He tied for second in the Philadelphia Boys Junior PGA Championship yesterday at Bellewood Country Club.

Pair that stretch with Lofland’s last visit to The 1912 Club, and a 64 stands to reason.

“I haven’t been here since [the 2019 Christman Cup],” Lofland, 17, of Paoli, Pa., said. “I shot 76 in the first round and was 3 under through five in the second. Then there was a weather delay, and the event was shortened to 18 holes. But it gave me a lot of confidence. I was sitting in the fairway on No. 6 last year with the same shot I had in today.”

That shot — a 7-iron from 189 yards — served as a precursor to Lofland’s leap on the scoreboard. After catching the left greenside bunker on No. 6 (par 5, 508 yards), he holed out for eagle to move to 3 under.

“I was kind of just finding my way, catching my breath a little bit. That really propelled me into the rhythm that I needed,” Lofland, a rising senior at Conestoga High School, said.

Not to say Lofland lollygagged until then. He went birdie-bogey-birdie, a roller coaster start. More kid-friendly than Kingda Ka, though. On No. 1 (par 4, 432 yards), he knocked a pitching wedge 138 yards to 12 feet. Two-putts told different stories thereafter. Lofland missed a six-footer for par on No. 2 (par 3, 165 yards) after an overly firm lag. He reversed fortunes on the next hole (par 5, 516 yards) after leaving a 6-iron from 205 yards short of the putting surface.

The par 5, 530-yard 12th hole chalked an identical formula: 5-iron short of the green, two putts from 50 feet for birdie. Lofland rocked back to 3 under following a bogey on No. 14 (par 3, 192 yards), where he yanked a knockdown 6-iron into the left greenside bunker.

Birdies on three of his last four holes launched Lofland into the limelight. On No. 15 (par 4, 342 yards), he hit a 56-degree wedge 110 yards to six feet. He buried a left-to-right slider on the next hole (par 3, 155 yards) after knocking a 9-iron to 15 feet. The 1912 Club’s closer (par 4, 422 yards) nearly ushered Lofland offstage. His drive barely crept into fescue right. With a promising lie, Lofland muscled a gap wedge from 125 yards over a tree and six feet below the hole location.

Red was a foregone conclusion on this day.  

“The greens were rolling really nice, so it was easy to find my way around them. They were true. All you had to do was look at the grain and it showed you the line,” Lofland said. “My ball-striking is what really stood out and helped me get in position to have those birdie opportunities.”

Ball-striking, turns out, is Lofland’s immediate reference when reflecting on his Junior Boys’ Championship history. He captured the event’s First Flight title in 2018 and lost in the First Flight Final a year ago at Coatesville Country Club.

From Championship Flight hopeful to Championship Flight forerunner.

“The difference between my game this year and last year is astronomical. My ball-striking is a whole lot better, which is making a difference,” Lofland said. “Also, my mental game has improved. The cut was always in my head last year. I was always thinking about what the cut might be at the start of the round, play a couple of holes and then feel my way around. I wasn’t going to do that today. I was just thinking to stay around even par.”

He did six better.

Philadelphia Country Club, represented by David Fitzgerald, James Gradisek and Tyler Zimmer, won its first Junior Team Championship with a score of 217. The Junior Team Championship runs concurrently with the Junior Boys’ Championship Qualifier. Three of four scores count toward the team total.

The Junior Boys’ Championship is the premier Major in the GAP Junior Division. It is open to members pf GAP Member Clubs 14-18 years of age who have not started their college education and who hold a handicap index of 14.4 or lower. Sixteen players qualify for match play; an additional 16 advance into the event’s First Flight.

The Junior Boys’ Champion is awarded the Peg Burnett Trophy, named in honor of the Association’s Executive Secretary from 1951-76. Ms. Burnett was an ardent Junior golf supporter who emphasized sportsmanship and respect for the game. “I was very strict about checking the rule book. I didn’t make the rules, but since they are there, you have to abide by them.”

GAP
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.

Qualifiers
Name, clubScore
Championship Flight
Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville Country Club64
John Cooley, Bidermann Golf Club68
Thomas Larkin, Paxon Hollow Country Club68
Win Thomas, Concord Country Club69
Shane Lawler, Chester Valley Golf Club70
Joey Morganti, Llanerch Country Club70
Charlie Baker, Merion Golf Club71
James Gradisek, Philadelphia Country Club71
Matt Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club71
Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink Golf Club71
John Peters, Carlisle Country Club71
Jacob Sokalsky, Penn Oaks Golf Club71
*Evan Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club72
*Christopher Dorey, Metedeconk National Golf Club72
*Corey Haydu, Spring Mill Country Club72
*Matthew Homer, Wilmington Country Club72
*Joshua Ryan, GAP Youth on Course72
*Calen Sanderson, Jericho National Golf Club72
*Matthew Zerfass, Brookside CC of Allentown72
First Flight
David Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Country Club73
Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ G&CC73
Ryan McCabe, The Springhaven Club73
Connor Strine, Bent Creek Country Club73
Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia Country Club73
Ross Charlton, Concord Country Club74
Jack Davis, Aronimink Golf Club74
Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club74
Elijah Ruppert, Golden Oaks Golf Club74
William Pabst, Elmhurst Country Club75
Kevin Smith, The Springhaven Club75
*Jackson Debusschere, The Springhaven Club76
*James Flickinger, CC of Scranton76
*Michael Lynch, CC of Scranton76
*Thomas Lynch, CC of Scranton76
*Mario Ventresca, Cedarbrook Country Club76
Failed to qualify
Stephen Butler, Indian Valley Country Club77
Evan Drummond, Applecross Country Club77
Jack Hamilton, Merion Golf Club77
Darren Nolan, LuLu Country Club77
Henry Pilliod, GAP Youth on Course77
Andrew Wallace, Green Valley Country Club77
Jacob Zeng, Applecross Country Club77
Michael Fioravante, Ledgerock Golf Club78
Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club78
Roy Anderson, Kennett Square G&CC79
Conrad Benford, Spring Ford Country Club79
Keller Mulhern, Whitford Country Club79
Jason Rieger, Sunnybrook Golf Club79
Anthony Ciconte, Wilmington Country Club80
Luke Corcoran, Cedarbrook Country Club80
Hayden Greer, Laurel Creek Country Club80
Christian Matt, Talamore Country Club80
Hunter Stetson, Aronimink Golf Club80
Matthew Vital, Northampton Country Club80
Jack Kearns, Trenton Country Club81
Matthew Normand, Riverton Country Club81
Ryan D’ariano, Penn Oaks Golf Club82
Carter Gates, Huntingdon Valley Country Club82
Chad Kemmerer, Waynesborough Country Club82
Adam MacMillan, Mercer Oaks Golf Course82
Collin McDonald, Cedarbrook Country Club82
Zachary Sandler, Bluestone Country Club82
Lucas Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club82
Luke Watson, Rivercrest GC & Preserve82
Jack Yearley, Merion Golf Club82
John Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club83
Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington Country Club83
Milo Jezzeny, The Bucks Club83
Nick Hano, Commonwealth National Golf Club84
Ryan Kennedy, Applecross Country Club84
Luke Marvin, Commonwealth National Golf Club84
Nathan Guertler, Tavistock Country Club85
Benjamin Saggers, Concord Country Club86
Seamus Leonard, Talamore Country Club88
Andrew Ranaudo, Chester Valley Golf Club89
Peter Ryan, Philadelphia Cricket Club89
Max Strout, Westwood Golf Club90
Will Milligan, Burlington Country Club95
* — will compete in sudden-death playoff for match play spot
Junior Team Championship results
TeamTotal
Philadelphia Country Club217
The Springhaven Club224
Aronimink Golf Club225
CC of Scranton228
Concord Country Club229
Merion Golf Club230
Huntingdon Valley Country Club234
Wilmington Country Club235
Applecross Country Club238