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Top 10 Headlines of 2018

A missing piece in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 2018 puzzle is a Top 10 list of headlines. Whittling down a year’s worth of activity into a small bundle of thoughts wasn’t easy, but we gave it a try.

1.

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia expanded its footprint in 2018. As a result of a new merger, the Anthracite Golf Association, an organization formed in 1951 to foster the game in Northeastern Pennsylvania, slid under the GAP umbrella. GAP members became eligible to compete in AGA events, and vice versa. Furthermore, the Golf Association of Philadelphia extended its outreach in North and Central Pennsylvania through the Central Tournament Series, which consisted of 16 events. The GAP family now includes 260 Full Member Clubs.

2.

  The Women’s Committee of the Golf Association of Philadelphia was formed in 2018 to provide the 16,000-plus female members a voice within the organization. Long since overdue, the Committee’s goal is to promote women’s golf through improved communication and to increase Association women’s programming. Already set for 2019, the Association has added two more tournament playing opportunities and a Women’s Only Rules Seminar.

3.

  The PGA TOUR’s Top 70 players visited Aronimink Golf Club Sept. 5-10 for the BMW Championship, the third leg of the FedExCup. After wet weather postponed Sunday’s final-round and forced a Monday finish, it was Keegan Bradley who emerged victorious by defeating Justin Rose in a one-hole sudden-death playoff. Bradley finish the 72 holes at 20-under-par 260, the lowest 72-hole total in tournament history. Most importantly, all proceeds from the BMW Championship benefitted the Evans Scholars Foundation and Platt Evans Scholars as those young men and women pursue higher education.

4.

  Half snatched victory at the last moment. The other half staked claim through a series of impressive performances. Together, the Player of the Year honorees — Lu Lu Country Club’s Michael R. Brown, Jr. (William Hyndman, III), Don Donatoni (Super-Senior), Chip Lutz (Senior) and Ryan Tall (Junior) — shined in 2018. A Top 5 performance in the Middle Atlantic Amateur Championship and victory in the Tournament of Champions gave Brown and Donatoni, respectively, the push needed for POY titles. Semifinal standouts Lutz (Brewer Cup, U.S. Senior Amateur) and Tall (BMW Philadelphia Amateur) surged throughout the season.

5.

  It was a transcendent year for GAP Junior golfers, as the Association partnered with Youth on Course in order to bring more affordable Junior golf to the region. At $20 per season, Junior golfers (ages 6 to 18) can access courses for $5 or less at any participating YOC courses across the nation (26 regions). Additionally, those who register receive a GAP Membership, granting tournament access and a GHIN Handicap Index. A total of 13 area clubs in the Delaware Valley are currently participating in the program, with more expected to join come 2019.

6.

  The name “Helen Sigel Wilson” is listed prominently among Philadelphia golf history. That name is now enshrined in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame. Wilson, a Philadelphia Country Club icon, became the first female inductee in 2018, joining figures such as William Hyndman, III, J. Wood Platt and R. Jay Sigel. Her career spanned six decades, during which she accrued more than 350 titles. Remarkable.

7.

  What do Pyeongchang and Rolling Green Golf Club have in common? Both hosted the Olympics in 2018. However, the iteration at Rolling Green served as an addendum to the Dawn to Dusk Golf Marathon, the largest one-day fundraiser for the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust. In the Dawn to Dusk Olympics, teams of three competed in longest drive, closest to the hole and chipping and putting challenges for the sake of charity.

8.

  Philadelphia Cricket Club made BMW GAP Team Matches history in 2018. First, it became the first club to ever field two teams in the Playoff; Philadelphia Cricket 2 finished third with 46 points. Second, Philadelphia Cricket 1, for the first time, repeated as BMW GAP Team Matches champions. It also won titles in 2013 and 2015. Philadelphia Cricket Club swept the team circuit by capturing the 99th Team Championship at Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club.

9.

  It’s a record … but not a pleasing one; 2018 was the wettest year to date for many parts of the Philadelphia region, including 61.59″ total precipitation for the city itself. This soppiness caused major grief for golfers, and in result, GAP events. Competitions such as the Marston Cup and Pro.-President, Golf & Green were complete washouts. Winter Series cancellations were a common occurrence. A U.S. Amateur Qualifier held at Chambersburg Country Club took nearly two days to finish, adapting to dangerous flooding along the way.

10.

  The Major slate is, understandably so, a highlight every season. This go around, that general rule of thumb was enhanced with an extra dose of excitement. Professional Billy Stewart’s #GAPOpen victory stopped the streak of eight straight amateur champions crowned in that event. Mainstay names like Little Mill’s Michael Hyland (#GAPMidAm) and Lu Lu’s Michael R. Brown, Jr. (#PatCup) took home hardware. Up-and-comer Jeremy Wall of Manasquan River grabbed the coveted #BMWPhillyAm trophy in extra holes.

Honorable mentions

• Bang! Saucon’s Matt Mattare holed a gap wedge from 115 yards for eagle on No. 1 (par 4, 398 yards), the first playoff hole of a U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier at Cedarbrook, to secure an invitation.
• Among those Philadelphia golf lost in 2018 is a trio of resounding voices: Adele Lebow, Joseph A. Moran and Raymond Thompson. Lebow was a former Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia (1976-77) and Pennsylvania State Women’s Golf Association (1990-91) president. Moran served in that capacity for GAP from 1981-83). Thompson, a GAP fixture and Overbrook Golf Club member, became the first player in GAP history to sweep the Senior circuit (2007).
• Nearly 36,000 viewers got eyes on #BMWPhillyAm live-streaming action through Periscope, including nearly 16,000 viewers on a single Final broadcast.
• Merion Golf Club’s Buddy Marucci and Michael McDermott represented the United States during the Concession Cup, a biennial, international team competition. Team USA defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 23.5–4.5. McDermott closed with a 4&3 singles victory over Matt Clark.
• Llanerch Country Club’s Jack Farkas competed in the Drive Chip & Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. The Ardmore, Pa. resident tied for ninth in the Boys 14-15 Division. Farkas is a sophomore at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) 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 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. 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.