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NOTEBOOK: Thriving Ergood excels in GAP Major debut

  HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. – Doug Ergood is only 16 years old and he’s already made an impactful life decision. | Recap | Round 1 Results | Round 2 pairings | History |

  His difficult choice to hang up his metal bat and baseball cleats in favor of iron sticks and golf spikes wasn’t an easy one. But if this summer is any indication, it’s looking like it was the wise one.

  “I chose golf. I feel that I can take it to the next level in this game,” said Ergood, a Tavistock Country Club member. “I’m fully committed. I’ve been putting work in, five to six days a week, and 18 holes a day with around two hours of practice before each round.”

  There’s no question that the talent is there. Gaining experience in the game – both positive and negative – is something that only comes with time.

  The Mt. Laurel, N.J. native got a taste of both sides of experience Thursday during his GAP Major debut. Sitting 2 under thru 12, his name sat atop the leaderboard for a short while.

  Ergood’s inexperience then came into play.

  “I had a great start to the round. I just have to learn how to finish it off better,” said Ergood. “I got a little tired and hit some shots that just weren’t the right shots to make at the time. I was making mistakes out there, but I’m proud of the way I started [the round].”

  The ultimate result for Ergood ended up as a solid 2-over-round of 72. He currently sits tied for 15th place.

  It’s an understatement to say Ergood’s play has been improving steadily. In fact, it’s no stretch to say his aesthetically-pleasing game, equipped with a powerful, clean swing, has improved at lightning speed since the former middle infielder made the sporting switch.

  In early June, Ergood faced off against Jamie Slonis – whose name sits amongst the plethora of even-par rounds after Round 1 – in Tavistock’s club championship. Although he fell to Slonis that day, 3&2, the fact that a 16-year-old with little competitive experience made it to that point was an accomplishment in itself.

  More recently, Ergood competed in the Junior Boys’ Championship at his home club. He managed to make it through to match play, and then earned a quarterfinal berth with a 5&4 victory over Rolling Green Golf Club’s Andreas Aivazoglou. Ergood eventually fell to Indian Valley Country Club’s Dawson Anders in the quarterfinals, 3&1, but not before making an impression on the region’s Junior golf circuit.

  The early plan for the future is to play collegiately. That thinking process, however, hasn’t even arrived yet for the young gun who is only entering his junior year at Lenape High School.

  “I’m just going to let that come to me. I’m just making my way out here, so I’ll figure it out soon,” said Ergood.

  For the time being, though, he has a championship to potentially win.

  “I’ll just be thinking, overnight, about putting up a good number tomorrow,” said Ergood, who compares himself to Jordan Spieth as someone who can grind out results with a “fairly long game.” “I’m ready to shoot something low. I know I can.”

More Huntingdon Valley success arrives for Isler

  Huntingdon Valley and Josh Isler have a relationship that keeps on giving.

  Two years ago, the storied, classic track and Isler connected for the first time. It resulted in Isler’s only USGA Championship berth to date.

  His even-par-round of 70 that day – which also happened to be his first time playing the course – earned him a spot in the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Saucon Valley Country Club.

  “That was a really special day for me. It was my first USGA Championship, and the fact that it was at Saucon made it even more special,” said Isler, 35, of West Chester, Pa. “I have really, really fond memories of this place.”

  Since his USGA debut, Isler has played just one round, in a charity event, at Huntingdon Valley. He’s played just three rounds total at the club. Their relationship may be young, but it’s definitely proving to be a fruitful one.

  “I like it. It suits my eye on a ton of shots,” said Isler. “I draw the ball, so the outside holes work well for me. There’s a number of holes out there, that when I stand on the tee, they look really good to me.”

  He will try again for the Mid-Amateur on Tuesday at Philadelphia Cricket Club.

  Isler’s round today resulted in much of the same success as his previous competitive one. His 3-over 73 round has him right in the hunt, though a highly-populated one, heading into Round 2.

  “I’m not able to control what everyone else does, so I’ll focus on my game and be proud of it no matter what happens,” said Isler. “It’s going to be tough tomorrow. With big names like [Jeff] Osberg and the rest of those guys, my goal is to come out here and shoot 2 or 3 under par and see what happens.”

Week of the McGrath family continues

  Liam, the oldest McGrath brother, and Conor both finished on the right side of today’s cut line (+6). The lower round of the two, a 3-over 73, went to Liam, while Conor snuck in to the second-day field thanks to a 6-over 76.

  That #PatCup success pairs well with the rest of the McGrath family’s accolades throughout this week.

  Liam and his 3-under-round of 68 earned medalist honors in the Championship’s Qualifier this past Tuesday at Lu Lu Country Club.

  “I played well. It was a good round,” said Liam, 19. “But really, I was just happy to qualify.”

  Their younger brother, Brett, medaled on Monday in the Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship at Moorestown Field Club. He eventually went on to win the match-play portion of the event as well, grabbing the Championship Flight title. Aiding Brett in that title run was Conor, who manned Brett’s bag in the 18-hole Final on Wednesday.

  “We had a great time out there,” said Conor, 16. “It was just a lot of fun to get to experience that with our family.”

  “This kid over here (pointing to Liam) was too old, so I ended up getting on the bag,” said Conor. “I was talking to my mom, and we were talking about whether or not he needed me to caddie since he was killing it without one all week. When we got home, he asked me to step in with him. My goal was to just keep him calm and let him do his thing. And he did.”

  Yesterday, the family celebrated an unforgettable week with a dinner at Huntingdon Valley, a place where the brothers say they are “almost every day.” Tonight, the brothers could be found late into the evening on the putting green. It’s no secret they would sleep at the club if given the option.

  Eventually, on Aug. 18 to be exact, the brothers will be split up for the time being. That morning, Liam will begin his freshman year at Furman University, where he will play on the golf team.

  “Hopefully it made [Brett] happy that I was there. I was actually sweating more than he was – I was going crazy,” said Liam. “I’m going to miss all of this.”

  Until then, the McGraths are hoping to extend their memorable week by just one more day.

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 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 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.