KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. – The United States Naval Academy has been a staple of Paul Mauer’s family for as long as he can remember.
His uncles Vince and Gerry both served in the Navy and Gerry became a 1-star admiral during his 30-plus years of service.
The soon-to-be senior Midshipmen recently was named a captain on the men’s golf team by his teammates, an honor that is only bestowed on seniors.
“Getting that recognition means a lot to me,” said Mauer. “I care so much more about the other guys on the team and whether they do well than about what I do. Being a captain means that you worry about the other individuals. The fact they thought I was deserving of the captaincy means the world.”
Mauer, of Stonewall, where his dad Paul is the General Manager, said his time at Navy has gotten better over the years. There is an adjustment period that most of the newly-minted Midshipmen go through, just like many other college students.
“You take it day-by-day at Navy,” said Mauer. “Honestly, during my first couple of years, golf got me through the tough grind at the Academy. Now, I love everything about the Navy. As a freshman and a sophomore, you obviously miss home and your family. Then trying to play good golf with all of your military requirements is tough.
“The communication between the coach and the captain is crucial because we are trying to get time to practice. We get two hours a week, which is good, but we have a lot of time on the weekends to play and practice.”
Mauer’s game has been trending in the right direction recently. He is coming off a solid performance at the Pennsylvania Amateur at Sunnehanna Country Club. Mauer was in a tie for eighth after the first two rounds, but closed with a 78 to put him in a tie for 38th.
Mauer carded a 1-over-par 72 in the opening round of the 116th Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Gulph Mills Golf Club Wednesday (par 71, 6,501 yards), putting him in a tie for 21st.
“I expected to play well in the Patterson Cup,” said Mauer. “Today was actually the first time I had played the back nine. I have been feeling good about my game recently and this leave period from the Navy is designed to get me prepared for golf season.”
Although Mauer didn’t compete in the starting five for Navy that won this year’s Patriot League Championship, he received a chance to play in the NCAA Norman Regional held at Jimmy Austin Golf Club in Norman, Okla. He carded rounds of 76 and 75 after being placed into the starting lineup on Day 2.
But as Mauer reflected on his decision to attend Navy, he said it was the right path, even though the Academy runs in his blood.
“I didn’t feel any pressure to serve in the Navy because of my relatives,” said Mauer, 21, of Eagleville, Pa. “I wanted to do it and it is a really good school. Being at Navy is something that I have enjoyed and I am proud to serve.”
Marrollo unfazed by power pairing
Usually, when you see Nicky Marrollo on the GAP circuit he isn’t playing. He’s caddying.
The Whitford Country Club member finds himself in #PatCup contention after an opening round of 1-under-par 70, placing him in a tie for seventh.
Marrollo secured his spot in the event as a result of qualifying at Honeybrook Golf Club on July 24.
“I caddie for my buddies on occasion but I like to qualify for the GAP Majors when I can,” said Marrollo. “I was happy to qualify at Honeybrook, which was my home course in high school. The rain delay messed me up a little but I was able to return the next day and par my remaining nine holes.
“Coming into the event, I just wanted to have fun. I played a practice round here on Monday with some buddies of mine and I made a few birdies. The greens here are fast so you have to be really careful. I’ve been playing well this summer so I was excited to get out here and play because I love the game.”
Marrollo found himself surrounded by two GAP Major Champions: 2017 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion Gregor Orlando of Philadelphia Cricket Club and defending Patterson Cup Champion Peter Bradbeer of Merion Golf Club.
Marrollo and Orlando shared the low honor in the group with a round of 70, but the rising Eastern University sophomore wasn’t consumed with his pairing. He was focused on what he and his caddie Andrew Hogan had to do.
“When I caddie for Andrew, we have a pre-shot routine and when he caddies for me, we have the same thought process,” said Marrollo. “We try not to overanalyze things and just make good swings. If it ends up well it does; if not, it doesn’t.”
Marrollo’s card included four birdies, a double bogey and a bogey. It also included some key par saves.
“The key hole for me was No. 9 (par 4, 374 yards),” said Marrollo, 20, of Exton, Pa. “I flew a wedge from 70 yards over the green into the back bunker. The ball plugged in there but I was telling myself to just get it on the green and to make a bogey at worst but I rolled in a seven-footer.”
The accounting major said he was going to head back to Whitford not for relaxation, but for more golf. But he’s ready for the challenge tomorrow.
“I’ll definitely feel nerves tomorrow morning,” said Marrollo. “Feeling nervous is something all golfers have. I like getting nervous because when you execute a shot then you know you can handle it and if you can’t, then you reminisce on how you can handle the situation better.
“I told a Junior golfer at Whitford that I would play with him today. So I’ll go over there and play, and maybe work on my putting. That aspect of my game has to be solid for me to have a chance.”
Silver Cross update
The race for the Silver Cross Award began to take shape after Wednesday’s round.
Ryan Rucinski, playing out of Hartefield National, kept his spot atop the Silver Cross Standings after entering the day in the lead. Heading into the fourth and final round of play, he will look to hold off the rest of the suitors after firing an even-par 71 at Gulph Mills on Day 1, giving him a total of 212 strokes through the three rounds.
Sitting in the second spot is Carlisle Country Club’s Campbell Wolf, who had a breakout performance in this year’s #BMWPhillyAm. He is a shot back at 213. Just two strokes back is Orlando, the 2017 #BMWPhillyAm Champion at 214.
The season-long title, which is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying rounds of the Amateur Championship and the Patterson Cup, will be decided in tomorrow’s concluding 18 holes.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.