Trio tops #GAPMidAm Qual. at Spring Ford
ROYERSFORD, Pa. — Three individuals carded respective 1-over-par 73s to share medalist honors in GAP Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifying at Spring Ford Country Club (par 72, 6,669 yards) Thursday.
Medford Village Country Club’s Pat Curiale, Spring Ford’s own Scott Lightbody (pictured above) and LuLu Country Club’s Scott McLaughlin grabbed three of 26 qualifying positions and ties for the Championship proper. The cut line stopped at 77 by day’s end.
The 38th Middle-Amateur Championship will take place May 26-27 at Lookaway Golf Club.
Playing in the morning wave, Lightbody and McLaughlin set the scoring bar.
“Starting out making pars on Nos. 1 (par 4, 457 yards) and 2 (par 4, 420 yards) here gets you settled,” Lightbody, 44, of Royersford, Pa., said. “The wind was down for pretty much the whole round until No. 16, so the course played pretty easy for a while I thought. We weren’t really fighting anything.”
“I made up for the bogeys with some birdies. It was kind of a scrappy round,” McLaughlin, 41, of Ambler, Pa., said. “I hit a lot of good wedge shots. All of my birdies were inside five feet. I’ve been playing between between par or a couple over lately.”
Curiale exhibited portions of his co-medalists. Like Lightbody, he settled into the round with a par on No. 1. Like McLaughlin, he stockpiled quality wedge shots that created birdie opportunities.
“I made a couple of good pars that got me going and settled me down a little bit. On No. 1, I was behind a tree and managed to get it up-and-down [for par]. I thought I was going to break my club [on the tree],” Curiale, 50, of Marlton, N.J., said. “I made a really good two-putt from above the ridge (on No. 5), which really kind of got me started. I was OK making pars, and waited to make a couple of birdies. That’s about it.”
Curiale, who works in wireless sales, entered the medalist conversation thanks to back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 (par 3, 170 yards) and 15 (par 5, 513 yards). He knocked an 8-iron to eight feet on the former, and logged two putts on the latter following a 4-iron from 208 yards. A bogey on No. 17 (par 4, 411 yards) stripped Curiale of outright honors. He turned over a gap wedge from 115 yards and soon missed a 15-footer to save par.
Three bunker saves reassured Lightbody, who works in computer software for Vanguard. After finding the back right bunker on No. 7, Lightbody splashed out to a foot. From the front bunker to a front hole location on No. 11 (par 4, 354 yards): a six-footer for par. From the left bunker on the downhill, par-3 16th hole (210 yards): a one-footer.
“It kept the momentum going. I knew I didn’t need to go super low to qualify, but I needed to hang on,” Lightbody, a Spring Ford member of five years, said. “I’m just getting back into the tournament swing. This is the first year I’m getting into the qualifiers again.”
Conversely, McLaughlin, who started on the back nine, is a GAP regular. His best Middle-Amateur finish came in 2018, when he cracked the Top 10 at Llanerch Country Club.
“I think this is my first qualifier in like 10 years,” McLaughlin, who works for an insurance agency, said. “I don’t know if my game’s good enough to win anything right now. If I can avoid having to play in these qualifiers, it would be a good thing. Although it’s good tournament practice.”
Seems like practice, which is limited these days with 16-month-old Nolan at home, paid off Thursday. Three McLaughlin birdies of note (in order of occurrence): a wedge from 144 yards to three feet on No. 17, a front bunker extrication to a foot on No. 18 (par 5, 518 yards) and a wedge 138 yards to six feet on No. 3 (par 4, 383 yards).
McLaughlin will carry co-medalist honors into Week Three of the BMW GAP Team Matches. LuLu takes on Glenmaura National Golf Club with a Playoff spot at stake.
“We have a lot of pressure being put on us by [LuLu team member] Jon Rusk. I’m hoping we’ll pull through. We have the squad to do it,” McLaughlin said.
A few weeks ago, Lightbody didn’t appear to carry the tools necessary to qualify.
“I’d just been fighting everything leading up to this,” he said.
A fundamental adjustment this week changed Lightbody’s prospects. He opened his left foot to free his hips more, which resulted in improved contact Thursday.
“I’m happy to qualify. It’s all going to be kind of gravy at this point,” Lightbody said. “If I can shoot around par, that’s good for me. Hopefully the numbers will keep getting lower and lower the more I play.”
Curiale hopes the putt totals will lessen as the Middle-Amateur approaches.
“I need to hole a few more putts. I usually scramble pretty well, and my short game’s pretty good,” Curiale said. “I’ve never been to Lookaway, but I’ve heard great things. I hope to have a great showing.”
A William Hyndman, III Player of the Year points event, the 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. GAP followed suit in creating a Middle-Amateur, 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 only available to players 30 years of age or older.
The GAP 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 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.
The Springhaven Club’s Michael Rosci aced No. 4 (par 3, 142 yards) with an 8-iron. It marked his second career hole-in-one (2019, Springhaven, No. 3).
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 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|Pat Curiale, Medford Village Country Club||73|
|Scott Lightbody, Spring Ford Country Club||73|
|Scott McLaughlin, LuLu Country Club||73|
|Patrick Phillips, Spring Ford Country Club||74|
|Jim Sullivan, LuLu Country Club||74|
|Cole Berman, Merion Golf Club||75|
|Joshua Krumholz, Moselem Springs Golf Club||75|
|Josh Bennett, Running Deer Golf Club||76|
|Ronan Culligan, Saucon Valley Country Club||76|
|Joseph Eaton, Philadelphia Cricket Club||76|
|Bobby Kershner, Spring Ford Country Club||76|
|John Lalley, Llanerch Country Club||76|
|Wayne Lesage, Aronimink Golf Club||76|
|Johnny Murphy, The Shore Club||76|
|Luke Smith, Northampton Country Club||76|
|Kevin Turner, Llanerch Country Club||76|
|Garrett Basalyga, Cedarbrook Country Club||77|
|Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club||77|
|Tom DiCinti, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||77|
|Brian Fisher, Spring Ford Country Club||77|
|Drew Garis, North Hills Country Club||77|
|Kevin Genuardi, Cedarbrook Country Club||77|
|Billy Howard, Applebrook Golf Club||77|
|Rob Johnson, Steel Club||77|
|Ryan McCarty, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||77|
|John Perrine, Medford Village Country Club||77|
|Sean Ryan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||77|
|Failed to qualify|
|Jeremy Bingaman, Bluestone Country Club||78|
|Dave Fardon, Green Pond Country Club||78|
|Matt Gaffney, Medford Village Country Club||78|
|Chris Lawler, Riverton Country Club||78|
|Brad McFadden, Merion Golf Club||78|
|Ryan Orcutt, Green Pond Country Club||78|
|Bradley Roberts, Little Mill Country Club||78|
|Jon Rudisill, Little Mill Country Club||78|
|Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia Cricket Club||78|
|George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club||78|
|Nick Verrecchio, Rolling Green Golf Club||78|
|Brian Winters, Spring Ford Country Club||78|
|Nicholas Anderson, White Manor Country Club||79|
|Ricky Johnson, The 1912 Club||79|
|Kevin Koch, Spring Ford Country Club||79|
|Blaine Lafferty, Little Mill Country Club||79|
|Adam Mistretta, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||79|
|Bill Murray, Burlington Country Club||79|
|Scott Bergson, Little Mill Country Club||80|
|Alex Bilinski, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club||80|
|Adam Bracy, Tavistock Country Club||80|
|Dan Close, Hidden Creek Golf Club||80|
|Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club||80|
|Matt Dolinsky, Honeybrook Golf Club||80|
|Zachary Falone, Little Mill Country Club||80|
|Nathan Fry, Green Pond Country Club||80|
|Joe Kerrigan, Llanerch Country Club||80|
|Bo Maguire, Brookside Country Club||80|
|Keith Matt, Talamore Country Club||80|
|William Smith, Chambersburg Country Club||80|
|Ryan Barrett, Doylestown Country Club||81|
|Chris Esbenshade, Bent Creek Country Club||81|
|Patrick McCusker, Sandy Run Country Club||81|
|Frank Nattle, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||81|
|Gary Schoeman, Gulph Mills Golf Club||81|
|David Shields, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||81|
|Geoffrey Cooper, North Hills Country Club||82|
|Tom Coyne, Waynesborough Country Club||82|
|Matt Dietrich, Whitford Country Club||82|
|Michael Rosci, The Springhaven Club||82|
|Matthew Scriff, Steel Club||82|
|Chris Storck, LedgeRock Golf Club||82|
|Kyle Allan, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||83|
|Kevin Bonner, Bala Golf Club||83|
|Mark Coassolo, Brookside CC of Allentown||83|
|Michael Fusarelli, Blue Bell Country Club||83|
|Salvatore Galati, Woodcrest Country Club||83|
|Curtis Geiger, Raven’s Claw Golf Club||83|
|Matt Milligan, Bluestone Country Club||83|
|John Mullins, Bellewood Country Club||83|
|Jeff Palmer, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||83|
|Richard Wade, Golden Pheasant Golf Course||83|
|Michael Winton, Tavistock Country Club||83|
|Corey Betham, St. Davids Golf Club||84|
|Daniel Dillon, Medford Village Country Club||84|
|Michael Dimeglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||84|
|Matthew Hilbush, Commonwealth National Golf Club||84|
|Kevin Kornuszko, Spring Mill Country Club||84|
|Ryan Beck, Old York Road Country Club||85|
|Sal Cucinotti, Talamore Country Club||85|
|Brendan McNamara, Sandy Run Country Club||85|
|Dan Simonsen, Green Valley Country Club||85|
|Mac Walsh, Aronimink Golf Club||85|
|Greg Berdini, Little Mill Country Club||86|
|Jesse Betts, Medford Lakes Country Club||86|
|Michael Schwert, Llanerch Country Club||86|
|Teddy Villanueva, Llanerch Country Club||86|
|P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club||86|
|Ron Jamarowicz, DuPont Country Club||87|
|Richard Marabella, Jeffersonville Golf Club||87|
|Matt McFarlane, Doylestown Country Club||87|
|Sean McKeon, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||87|
|Conner Charlebois, Bala Golf Club||88|
|Sean Coary, Applebrook Golf Club||88|
|Chris Johnson, Waynesborough Country Club||88|
|Steven Marlow, Jericho National Golf Club||88|
|Brian Brannigan, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||89|
|Thomas Frawley, Paxon Hollow Country Club||89|
|Shawn Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club||89|
|John Luca, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||89|
|Matt Weist, Whitford Country Club||89|
|Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club||90|
|Joe Dulka, Bellewood Country Club||90|
|Scott Kalan, Squires Golf Club||90|
|Michael Krantz, LuLu Country Club||90|
|Peter Mountis, Philmont Country Club||90|
|Greg O’Connor, Bellewood Country Club||90|
|Christopher Thude, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale||92|
|Gregory Carey, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association||93|
|Matthew Cool, The Links at Gettysburg||93|
|Paul Leddy, Seaview Country Club||93|
|Jonathan Kruse, Rolling Green Golf Club||96|
|Joe Zeleznock, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club||99|
|Tripp Durham, Chester Valley Golf Club||DQ|
|David Krausse, Galloway National Golf Club||WD|
|Aaron Thieme, Green Pond Country Club||WD|
|Mike Valentine, Commonwealth National Golf Club||WD|
|DQ — disqualification; WD — withdrawal|