Jersey boys shine in #GAPMidAm Qualifier at North Hills
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.
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 Course||70|
|Marc Fillari, Pennsauken Country Club||70|
|Scott Bergson, Little Mill Country Club||71|
|Rich Owsik, Rolling Green Golf Club||71|
|Sean Seese, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||71|
|Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club||71|
|Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club||72|
|Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club||73|
|Andy Beittel, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||73|
|Bryan Keeling, Spring Mill Country Club||73|
|Steve Skurla, White Manor Country Club||73|
|James Berenato, Llanerch Country Club||74|
|Brendan Borst, Philadelphia Cricket Club||74|
|Adam Bracy, Tavistock Country Club||74|
|Ashley Brasfield, Rolling Green Golf Club||74|
|Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club||74|
|Doug Gordon, Rolling Green Golf Club||74|
|Ryan O’Donnell, Rolling Green Golf Club||74|
|Joe April, Waynesborough Country Club||75|
|Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club||75|
|Nick Madden, Lu Lu Country Club||75|
|P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club||75|
|Dan Ayars, Running Deer Golf Club||76|
|Robert Bechtold, Fieldstone Golf Club||76|
|Dan Bernard, Aronimink Golf Club||76|
|Dan Close, Woodcrest Country Club||76|
|Geoffrey Cooper, North Hills Country Club||76|
|Brett Cybulski, Merchantville Country Club||76|
|Andy Kerestesy, Running Deer Golf Club||76|
|Shawn Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club||76|
|Mark Lowrie, Rolling Green Golf Club||76|
|Brendan May, North Hills Country Club||76|
|Regan Papariello, St. Davids Golf Club||76|
|Jh Park, Blue Bell Country Club||76|
|Michael Rogers, Overbrook Golf Club||76|
|David Waxman, Little Mill Country Club||76|
|Failed to qualify|
|Ryan Beck, Old York Road Country Club||77|
|Frank Boensch, Steel Club||77|
|Andrew Carnevale, North Hills Country Club||77|
|Richard Hendrickson, Aronimink Golf Club||77|
|Alexander Maguire, Jr., Brookside Country Club||77|
|Owen Mulhern, Whitford Country Club||77|
|Kevin Murphy, Llanerch Country Club||77|
|Jeff Nocella, Bala Golf Club||77|
|Nicholas Anderson, White Manor Country Club||78|
|Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club||78|
|Michael DiMeglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||78|
|Drew Garis, North Hills Country Club||78|
|Kyle Ginty, Talamore Country Club||78|
|Matthew Hilbush, Commonwealth National Golf Club||78|
|Edward Kelly, Jr., Old York Road Country Club||78|
|Bo Maguire, Brookside Country Club||78|
|Jordan Mulrain, North Hills Country Club||78|
|Christopher Pitts, Westwood Golf Club||78|
|Bradley Roberts, Little Mill Country Club||78|
|Sean Ryan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||78|
|Justin Schorr, Talamore Country Club||78|
|Patrick Shanahan, Applebrook Golf Club||78|
|Jeremy Arner, Blue Bell Country Club||79|
|Ari Flaisher, McCall Golf Club||79|
|Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club||79|
|Mark Hill, Rolling Green Golf Club||79|
|Brian Keane, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||79|
|Joe Kerrigan, Jr., Llanerch Country Club||79|
|Bobby Kershner, Spring Ford Country Club||79|
|Mike Krantz, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||79|
|Cory Meyer, Philmont Country Club||79|
|Michael Quartermain, Llanerch Country Club||79|
|Mark Wachter, DuPont Country Club||79|
|Brendan Young, North Hills Country Club||79|
|Jesse Brookreson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||80|
|R. John Burnes, Philadelphia Cricket Club||80|
|Ben Keyser, Woodcrest Country Club||80|
|Alec Kissell, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||80|
|Kevin Koch, Spring Ford Country Club||80|
|Jonathan Kruse, Rolling Green Golf Club||80|
|Kevin Maguire, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia||80|
|Steve Mroozian, Philmont Country Club||80|
|John O’Donnell, White Manor Country Club||80|
|Pat Pasquariello, Philadelphia Country Club||80|
|John Simone, Philmont Country Club||80|
|Tom Spano, Llanerch Country Club||80|
|Brian Brannigan, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||81|
|Tim Burden, Cedarbrook Country Club||81|
|Phil Cillo, Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia||81|
|Dan Kelly, Llanerch Country Club||81|
|Wayne LeSage, Jr., Aronimink Golf Club||81|
|Travis Shaffer, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve||81|
|Daniel Simonsen, Green Valley Country Club||81|
|Chip Studer, North Hills Country Club||81|
|Mike Fusarelli, Blue Bell Country Club||82|
|Frank Kohute, Running Deer Golf Club||82|
|Jon Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club||82|
|Ed McCusker, Five Ponds Golf Club||82|
|Steve Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club||82|
|Nick Orlando, The Shore Club||82|
|Daniel Rexon, Tavistock Country Club||82|
|Samuel Varano, Bellewood Country Club||82|
|Nick Verrecchio, Rolling Green Golf Club||82|
|Brian Alling, Blue Bell Country Club||83|
|James Bresnahan, Bala Golf Club||83|
|Mike Cavanaugh, Jericho National Golf Club||83|
|Conner Charlebois, Bala Golf Club||83|
|Sean Coyle, Llanerch Country Club||83|
|Brian Dobisch, Talamore Country Club||83|
|Greg Ferguson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||83|
|Nick Ostash, Five Ponds Golf Club||83|
|Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club||83|
|Tim Slizofski, North Hills Country Club||83|
|Ed Brown, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club||84|
|Brian Bygott, Tavistock Country Club||84|
|Nicholas Corper, Lu Lu Country Club||84|
|Pat Doyle, Lu Lu Country Club||84|
|Greg Dymek, Five Ponds Golf Club||84|
|Ryan O’Leary, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||84|
|Rob Streit, Jr., North Hills Country Club||84|
|Robert Curry, North Hills Country Club||85|
|Kevin Delaney, Stonewall||85|
|Timothy Gaughan, Jericho National Golf Club||85|
|Brian Kelly, Laurel Creek Country Club||85|
|Tim Klagholz, Aronimink Golf Club||85|
|Quentin Griffith, IV, Philadelphia Publinks GA||86|
|Mike Hartsough, The Springhaven Club||86|
|Brendan Mahoney, Philadelphia Cricket Club||86|
|David Marcinowski, Waynesborough Country Club||86|
|Jordan Rosenblatt, Woodcrest Country Club||86|
|Matt Salamone, Philadelphia Cricket Club||86|
|James Schmidt, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||86|
|Dan Smith, Running Deer Golf Club||86|
|Kevin Turner, Llanerch Country Club||86|
|Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club||87|
|David Guertler, Tavistock Country Club||87|
|William O’Brien, Laurel Creek Country Club||87|
|Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club||89|
|Alex Bilinski, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club||89|
|Troy McCloskey, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||89|
|George Petrellis, Commonwealth National Golf Club||89|
|Brian Smarsh, Philadelphia Publinks GA||89|
|Frank Ferrese, Tavistock Country Club||90|
|Brian Kenny, Greate Bay Country Club||90|
|Michael Grimes, Chester Valley Golf Club||91|
|Scott Harrington, Brookside CC of Allentown||91|
|Jeff Owsik, Cobbs Creek Golf Club||92|
|Dan Smith, Rolling Green Golf Club||92|
|Matt Milligan, Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park||93|
|Joseph Zeleznock, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||93|
|Jeffrey Klanderman, Philmont Country Club||96|
|John VanDame, Jr., Talamore Country Club||96|
|Christopher Johnson, Waynesborough Country Club||98|
|Mark Howarth, Rolling Green Golf Club||WD|
|WD — withdrawal|