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#GAPMidAm Qualifying: Spring Ford

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.

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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.

NOTES
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).

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 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.

Qualifiers
Name, clubScore
Pat Curiale, Medford Village Country Club73
Scott Lightbody, Spring Ford Country Club73
Scott McLaughlin, LuLu Country Club73
Patrick Phillips, Spring Ford Country Club74
Jim Sullivan, LuLu Country Club74
Cole Berman, Merion Golf Club75
Joshua Krumholz, Moselem Springs Golf Club75
Josh Bennett, Running Deer Golf Club76
Ronan Culligan, Saucon Valley Country Club76
Joseph Eaton, Philadelphia Cricket Club76
Bobby Kershner, Spring Ford Country Club76
John Lalley, Llanerch Country Club76
Wayne Lesage, Aronimink Golf Club76
Johnny Murphy, The Shore Club76
Luke Smith, Northampton Country Club76
Kevin Turner, Llanerch Country Club76
Garrett Basalyga, Cedarbrook Country Club77
Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club77
Tom DiCinti, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association77
Brian Fisher, Spring Ford Country Club77
Drew Garis, North Hills Country Club77
Kevin Genuardi, Cedarbrook Country Club77
Billy Howard, Applebrook Golf Club77
Rob Johnson, Steel Club77
Ryan McCarty, Huntingdon Valley Country Club77
John Perrine, Medford Village Country Club77
Sean Ryan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club77
Failed to qualify
Jeremy Bingaman, Bluestone Country Club78
Dave Fardon, Green Pond Country Club78
Matt Gaffney, Medford Village Country Club78
Chris Lawler, Riverton Country Club78
Brad McFadden, Merion Golf Club78
Ryan Orcutt, Green Pond Country Club78
Bradley Roberts, Little Mill Country Club78
Jon Rudisill, Little Mill Country Club78
Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia Cricket Club78
George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club78
Nick Verrecchio, Rolling Green Golf Club78
Brian Winters, Spring Ford Country Club78
Nicholas Anderson, White Manor Country Club79
Ricky Johnson, The 1912 Club79
Kevin Koch, Spring Ford Country Club79
Blaine Lafferty, Little Mill Country Club79
Adam Mistretta, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club79
Bill Murray, Burlington Country Club79
Scott Bergson, Little Mill Country Club80
Alex Bilinski, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club80
Adam Bracy, Tavistock Country Club80
Dan Close, Hidden Creek Golf Club80
Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club80
Matt Dolinsky, Honeybrook Golf Club80
Zachary Falone, Little Mill Country Club80
Nathan Fry, Green Pond Country Club80
Joe Kerrigan, Llanerch Country Club80
Bo Maguire, Brookside Country Club80
Keith Matt, Talamore Country Club80
William Smith, Chambersburg Country Club80
Ryan Barrett, Doylestown Country Club81
Chris Esbenshade, Bent Creek Country Club81
Patrick McCusker, Sandy Run Country Club81
Frank Nattle, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association81
Gary Schoeman, Gulph Mills Golf Club81
David Shields, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association81
Geoffrey Cooper, North Hills Country Club82
Tom Coyne, Waynesborough Country Club82
Matt Dietrich, Whitford Country Club82
Michael Rosci, The Springhaven Club82
Matthew Scriff, Steel Club82
Chris Storck, LedgeRock Golf Club82
Kyle Allan, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association83
Kevin Bonner, Bala Golf Club83
Mark Coassolo, Brookside CC of Allentown83
Michael Fusarelli, Blue Bell Country Club83
Salvatore Galati, Woodcrest Country Club83
Curtis Geiger, Raven’s Claw Golf Club83
Matt Milligan, Bluestone Country Club83
John Mullins, Bellewood Country Club83
Jeff Palmer, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club83
Richard Wade, Golden Pheasant Golf Course83
Michael Winton, Tavistock Country Club83
Corey Betham, St. Davids Golf Club84
Daniel Dillon, Medford Village Country Club84
Michael Dimeglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course84
Matthew Hilbush, Commonwealth National Golf Club84
Kevin Kornuszko, Spring Mill Country Club84
Ryan Beck, Old York Road Country Club85
Sal Cucinotti, Talamore Country Club85
Brendan McNamara, Sandy Run Country Club85
Dan Simonsen, Green Valley Country Club85
Mac Walsh, Aronimink Golf Club85
Greg Berdini, Little Mill Country Club86
Jesse Betts, Medford Lakes Country Club86
Michael Schwert, Llanerch Country Club86
Teddy Villanueva, Llanerch Country Club86
P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club86
Ron Jamarowicz, DuPont Country Club87
Richard Marabella, Jeffersonville Golf Club87
Matt McFarlane, Doylestown Country Club87
Sean McKeon, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association87
Conner Charlebois, Bala Golf Club88
Sean Coary, Applebrook Golf Club88
Chris Johnson, Waynesborough Country Club88
Steven Marlow, Jericho National Golf Club88
Brian Brannigan, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club89
Thomas Frawley, Paxon Hollow Country Club89
Shawn Lavin, Rolling Green Golf Club89
John Luca, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association89
Matt Weist, Whitford Country Club89
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club90
Joe Dulka, Bellewood Country Club90
Scott Kalan, Squires Golf Club90
Michael Krantz, LuLu Country Club90
Peter Mountis, Philmont Country Club90
Greg O’Connor, Bellewood Country Club90
Christopher Thude, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale92
Gregory Carey, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association93
Matthew Cool, The Links at Gettysburg93
Paul Leddy, Seaview Country Club93
Jonathan Kruse, Rolling Green Golf Club96
Joe Zeleznock, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club99
Tripp Durham, Chester Valley Golf ClubDQ
David Krausse, Galloway National Golf ClubWD
Aaron Thieme, Green Pond Country ClubWD
Mike Valentine, Commonwealth National Golf ClubWD
DQ — disqualification; WD — withdrawal