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#GAPMidAm Qualifier: North Hills

Jersey boys shine in #GAPMidAm Qualifier at North Hills

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NORTH HILLS, Pa. — A pair of unprovens proved proficient in a GAP Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier at North Hills Country Club (par 71, 6,487 yards) Tuesday.

Mercer Oaks Golf Course’s Brandon Capone, a mid-amateur sophomore at age 26, and Pennsauken Country Club’s Marc Fillari, a GAP newcomer altogether, carded respective 1-under-par 70s to share medalist honors. The two headlined a class of 34 qualifying positions and ties for the Championship proper. The cut line stopped at 76 by day’s end.

The 36th Middle-Amateur Championship will take place May 22-23 at Rolling Green Golf Club.

Capone and Fillari relied on smart positioning off the tee and even smarter reads on the green to share subpar scores. The golf paths delineate once you pass North Hills strategy.

When his work day as a mechanical engineer ends, Capone heads to Old York Country Club at Chesterfield for practice sessions. He competes frequently on the GAP circuit and even cited an experience in Week Two of the BMW GAP Team Matches as a key Tuesday.

“Luckily, we had a (BMW GAP) Team Match here on Sunday, so it was really helpful to play with the members here. I gained a lot of insight,” Capone, 26, of Columbus, N.J., said.

Such fortune didn’t follow Fillari to North Hills. Tuesday marked his fourth round of golf since June 2018. That’s right. Ten months, 72 holes of golf.

“I just played competitively in college. I took a break from competitive golf since then. I was a little burned out,” Fillari, who graduated from Washington & Jefferson College in 2009, said. “I just wanted to get back out there and see if I could still compete. I’ve seen some names [playing in GAP events] that I played against in Junior golf. I figured, ‘Let me give it a go and see if I can still compete.’”

Yes, he still can.

Fillari, who teed off in the afternoon, carded five front-nine birdies to turn in 3 under. It started with a kick-in on No. 1 (par 4, 346 yards) following a 54-degree wedge from 104 yards. Fillari snuck in a slippery downhiller from 30 feet above the hole location on the monstrous par 5, 610-yard No. 4.

“I smashed that one in. That was probably a three-putt if it didn’t hit the cup,” he said.

Another 30-footer for birdie collided into the back of the No. 8 (par 4, 418 yards) cup. Fillari’s pitching wedge from 130 yards hung above the flagstick instead of responding the perceived slope. He followed that conversion with an eight-footer for birdie on No. 9 (par 3, 190 yards) courtesy of a perfectly cut 5-iron. Fillari also birdied No. 6 (par 4, 427 yards) after knocking a 9-iron 133 yards to 12 feet. His lone misstep occurred on No. 3 (par 3, 186 yards. Attempt to ram a six-footer for par, miss the comebacker, make 5.

Those five birdies atoned.

“I stole a few putts there on the front nine. I probably smashed a few into the back of the hole that I didn’t deserve,” Fillari, 32, of Collingswood, N.J., said. “But the ball-striking was there all day. I tried to hold it together, but I lost a few shots at the end. I think the putting magic kind of wore off on the back nine.”

That magic slipped — albeit slightly — on No. 14 (par 3, 224 yards), where Fillari missed a six-footer for par after a well-executed recovery shot from greenside left. He misjudged the wind on the par 4, 389-yard 16th hole, leaving a pitching wedge from 125 yards a club short. A bogey there meant a shared spotlight with Capone, who, coincidentally, used an early miscue to his medal benefit.

Capone, who started on the back nine, felt indecisive standing over a 280-yard shot on the par 5, 535-yard 12th hole. He attempted to steer a 6-iron right of the water hazard, to no avail.

“The rough was so thick. It turned the club down, and [the ball] went in the water. I had to take a drop. I got up-and-down for a bogey. It minimized the damage. It was good to do that in the beginning of the round. I reminded myself of how much the rough could affect your second shot.”

A solid second shot on the next hole (par 4, 374 yards) — a sand wedge from 113 yards — set up a 15-footer for birdie. Capone dropped it to move back to even. He remained stayed off the tee as the round progressed. A loose swing on No. 6 (par 4, 427 yards), however, left Capone near a boundary fence.  

“I had just enough room to pitch out with a 9-iron. It went into the rough on the right side of the fairway, but it was sitting up nice,” Capone said. “I really wanted to make that putt.”

He did. A 10-footer following an uphill 9-iron from 145 yards. Capone then made a two-footer for birdie on No. 8 after a crisp 8-iron to set the subpar standard.

Today’s effort, not to mention continued Chesterfield sessions, may raise his standards for Rolling Green.

“My partner (Ashley Brasfield) today is a member of Rolling Green. I also have a friend, Ryan O’Donnell, who is a member there,” Capone said. “He qualified today. We’re looking to get out together for a practice round. Maybe we’ll be paired together in the Middle-Amateur. I’ll need all of the help I can get.”

Doesn’t seem like Capone or Fillari require assistance when it comes to results these days. The latter, for his part, helped his case as a contender Tuesday.

“I belong here. My game’s in good shape,” Fillari, an accountant, said. “I’m excited for Rolling Green.”

The GAP Middle-Amateur Championship started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Amateur as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.

The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Middle-Amateur was for players 30 years of age and older.

The Association’s Executive Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. At that point, the Committee also changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round.

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 274 Full 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, club, score)
Brandon Capone, Mercer Oaks Golf Course70
Marc Fillari, Pennsauken Country Club70
Scott Bergson, Little Mill Country Club71
Rich Owsik, Rolling Green Golf Club71
Sean Seese, Huntingdon Valley Country Club71
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club71
Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club72
Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club73
Andy Beittel, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club73
Bryan Keeling, Spring Mill Country Club73
Steve Skurla, White Manor Country Club73
James Berenato, Llanerch Country Club74
Brendan Borst, Philadelphia Cricket Club74
Adam Bracy, Tavistock Country Club74
Ashley Brasfield, Rolling Green Golf Club74
Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club74
Doug Gordon, Rolling Green Golf Club74
Ryan O’Donnell, Rolling Green Golf Club74
Joe April, Waynesborough Country Club75
Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club75
Nick Madden, Lu Lu Country Club75
P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club75
Dan Ayars, Running Deer Golf Club76
Robert Bechtold, Fieldstone Golf Club76
Dan Bernard, Aronimink Golf Club76
Dan Close, Woodcrest Country Club76
Geoffrey Cooper, North Hills Country Club76
Brett Cybulski, Merchantville Country Club76
Andy Kerestesy, Running Deer Golf Club76
Shawn Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club76
Mark Lowrie, Rolling Green Golf Club76
Brendan May, North Hills Country Club76
Regan Papariello, St. Davids Golf Club76
Jh Park, Blue Bell Country Club76
Michael Rogers, Overbrook Golf Club76
David Waxman, Little Mill Country Club76
Failed to qualify
Ryan Beck, Old York Road Country Club77
Frank Boensch, Steel Club77
Andrew Carnevale, North Hills Country Club77
Richard Hendrickson, Aronimink Golf Club77
Alexander Maguire, Jr., Brookside Country Club77
Owen Mulhern, Whitford Country Club77
Kevin Murphy, Llanerch Country Club77
Jeff Nocella, Bala Golf Club77
Nicholas Anderson, White Manor Country Club78
Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club78
Michael DiMeglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course78
Drew Garis, North Hills Country Club78
Kyle Ginty, Talamore Country Club78
Matthew Hilbush, Commonwealth National Golf Club78
Edward Kelly, Jr., Old York Road Country Club78
Bo Maguire, Brookside Country Club78
Jordan Mulrain, North Hills Country Club78
Christopher Pitts, Westwood Golf Club78
Bradley Roberts, Little Mill Country Club78
Sean Ryan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club78
Justin Schorr, Talamore Country Club78
Patrick Shanahan, Applebrook Golf Club78
Jeremy Arner, Blue Bell Country Club79
Ari Flaisher, McCall Golf Club79
Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club79
Mark Hill, Rolling Green Golf Club79
Brian Keane, Mercer Oaks Golf Course79
Joe Kerrigan, Jr., Llanerch Country Club79
Bobby Kershner, Spring Ford Country Club79
Mike Krantz, Mercer Oaks Golf Course79
Cory Meyer, Philmont Country Club79
Michael Quartermain, Llanerch Country Club79
Mark Wachter, DuPont Country Club79
Brendan Young, North Hills Country Club79
Jesse Brookreson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club80
R. John Burnes, Philadelphia Cricket Club80
Ben Keyser, Woodcrest Country Club80
Alec Kissell, Huntingdon Valley Country Club80
Kevin Koch, Spring Ford Country Club80
Jonathan Kruse, Rolling Green Golf Club80
Kevin Maguire, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia80
Steve Mroozian, Philmont Country Club80
John O’Donnell, White Manor Country Club80
Pat Pasquariello, Philadelphia Country Club80
John Simone, Philmont Country Club80
Tom Spano, Llanerch Country Club80
Brian Brannigan, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club81
Tim Burden, Cedarbrook Country Club81
Phil Cillo, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia81
Dan Kelly, Llanerch Country Club81
Wayne LeSage, Jr., Aronimink Golf Club81
Travis Shaffer, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve81
Daniel Simonsen, Green Valley Country Club81
Chip Studer, North Hills Country Club81
Mike Fusarelli, Blue Bell Country Club82
Frank Kohute, Running Deer Golf Club82
Jon Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club82
Ed McCusker, Five Ponds Golf Club82
Steve Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club82
Nick Orlando, The Shore Club82
Daniel Rexon, Tavistock Country Club82
Samuel Varano, Bellewood Country Club82
Nick Verrecchio, Rolling Green Golf Club82
Brian Alling, Blue Bell Country Club83
James Bresnahan, Bala Golf Club83
Mike Cavanaugh, Jericho National Golf Club83
Conner Charlebois, Bala Golf Club83
Sean Coyle, Llanerch Country Club83
Brian Dobisch, Talamore Country Club83
Greg Ferguson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club83
Nick Ostash, Five Ponds Golf Club83
Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club83
Tim Slizofski, North Hills Country Club83
Ed Brown, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club84
Brian Bygott, Tavistock Country Club84
Nicholas Corper, Lu Lu Country Club84
Pat Doyle, Lu Lu Country Club84
Greg Dymek, Five Ponds Golf Club84
Ryan O’Leary, Mercer Oaks Golf Course84
Rob Streit, Jr., North Hills Country Club84
Robert Curry, North Hills Country Club85
Kevin Delaney, Stonewall85
Timothy Gaughan, Jericho National Golf Club85
Brian Kelly, Laurel Creek Country Club85
Tim Klagholz, Aronimink Golf Club85
Quentin Griffith, IV, Philadelphia Publinks GA86
Mike Hartsough, The Springhaven Club86
Brendan Mahoney, Philadelphia Cricket Club86
David Marcinowski, Waynesborough Country Club86
Jordan Rosenblatt, Woodcrest Country Club86
Matt Salamone, Philadelphia Cricket Club86
James Schmidt, Huntingdon Valley Country Club86
Dan Smith, Running Deer Golf Club86
Kevin Turner, Llanerch Country Club86
Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club87
David Guertler, Tavistock Country Club87
William O’Brien, Laurel Creek Country Club87
Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club89
Alex Bilinski, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club89
Troy McCloskey, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club89
George Petrellis, Commonwealth National Golf Club89
Brian Smarsh, Philadelphia Publinks GA89
Frank Ferrese, Tavistock Country Club90
Brian Kenny, Greate Bay Country Club90
Michael Grimes, Chester Valley Golf Club91
Scott Harrington, Brookside CC of Allentown91
Jeff Owsik, Cobbs Creek Golf Club92
Dan Smith, Rolling Green Golf Club92
Matt Milligan, Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park93
Joseph Zeleznock, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club93
Jeffrey Klanderman, Philmont Country Club96
John VanDame, Jr., Talamore Country Club96
Christopher Johnson, Waynesborough Country Club98
Mark Howarth, Rolling Green Golf ClubWD
WD — withdrawal