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#USMidAm Qualifier at Indian Valley

Davenport, Ferreira top #USMidAm Qualifier

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TELFORD, Pa. — A proven champion and an unproven newcomer shared medalist honors in a U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier administered by GAP Monday at a steamy Indian Valley Country Club (par 72, 6,769 yards).

Whitemarsh Valley Country Club’s Will Davenport, who captured the GAP Middle-Amateur earlier this year, and Merion Golf Club’s David Ferreira (pictured above), whose round total for 2019 sits in the single digits, carded respective 5-under-par 67s to top the leaderboard and thus grab two of five qualifying positions available. Aronimink Golf Club’s Cory Siegfried and Yaroslav Merkulov of Penfield, N.Y. also advanced in regulation. P.J. Acierno, a Lu Lu Country Club member, dropped a six-footer for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 395 yards) to emerge from a 4-for-1 sudden-death playoff for the final spot.

The U.S. Mid-Amateur will take place Sept. 14-19 at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo.

For Davenport, competitive golf is commonplace this summer. Two weeks ago, he stormed back in the final round of the 117th Joseph H. Patterson Cup, only to see storms wipeout his quest for a second GAP Major. A vacation thereafter, which included a stop at his family’s farm in Benton, Ark., washed away any lingering mental anguish.

“I hadn’t been to that farm since I was 10 years old. It was pretty cool,” Davenport, 26, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “It was good to take a vacation, relax and come back rejuvenated. I wasn’t in a good mental state after the Patterson Cup. When Mother Nature steps in and takes the rug out from you, that’s tough to swallow. I controlled all of the controllables. With each day, I appreciate the fact that I closed that round well. There aren’t accolades to go with it, but I was pleased with myself. I actually took a lot of confidence from that.”

As fate dictates, Davenport also finished at 5 under in Round Two of the Patterson Cup at Applebrook Golf Club, tying Merion Golf Club’s Tug Maude for the top mark in the clubhouse. Two weather delays and darkness thereafter prompted GAP officials to shorten the event to 18 holes.

Storms didn’t impede Davenport Monday. Overnight rain left Indian Valley a tad soft and receptive for the Yale University alum, who played in the day’s first group. A patient Davenport tallied 17 greens in regulation and rode a reliable flatstick.

“The putts I was making today were feel putts. They were breaking pretty hard,” Davenport said. “I was just seeing the greens well.”

Starting on the back nine, Davenport set the tone with a birdie on No. 10 (par 4, 370 yards), where he lifted an 8-iron out of a bare lie from 158 yards to 15 feet.

“I was trying to be aggressive the rest of the day after that. Getting a birdie mindset on the first hole is critical,” he said.

A smoothly-swung 7-iron on the downhill par 3, 158-yard 16th hole resulted in a curling 22-footer for birdie. Davenport’s “biggest moment of the round” occurred on No. 2 (par 4, 447 yards), which ranked as the hardest hole Monday. He stole a shot there after hitting a 6-iron 180 yards and navigating a 20-footer over a ridge and into the jar for birdie. Davenport reached the No. 3 (par 5, 478 yards) green in two with a 7-iron from 165 yards and logged two putts from 15 feet for birdie. Reports of another Davenport theft traveled from No. 6 (par 3, 204 yards). He drained a tricky 25-footer following a 6-iron to the front of the green.

“To get to 5 under with three to play, I knew I was in good shape. I knew it was scoreable today,” Davenport, who is in the MBA program at The Wharton School, said.

Playing in the afternoon, Ferreira matched Davenport’s mark thanks to a fist-pumping chip-in birdie on No. 18 (par 4, 387 yards).

“I had to shape a 9-iron [from 146 yards uphill] in there [for my approach]. It was one of those lies where you had to keep the clubhead moving through the ball,” Ferreira, 37, of Haverford, Pa., said. “I was having a great day. I knew that I was right there. I just wanted to be aggressive. Sometimes you just get lucky. That one went right in the heart, which is awesome.”

Luck also intervened on No. 9 (par 4, 367 yards), where Ferreira’s tee shot ricocheted off a tree and into the fairway. He then knocked a 9-iron 156 yards to 12 feet for birdie.

“I thought from No. 9, things were kind of going my way. I just needed to hang on through the back nine,” Ferreira said.

That he did. Back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 (par 4, 377 yards) and 15 (par 5, 551 yards) separated Ferreira: a wedge 135 yards to 15 feet on the former, an up-and-in on the latter.

“The greens were great today. They rolled true,” Ferreira, a partner at a hedge fund in Chadds Ford, Pa., said. “If you hit your lines, you were in good shape. I hit my lines. I have no clue about any stats. I was taking it one shot at a time.

“I was pretty loose. I was just coming out here having fun. I holed a bunch of putts thanks to my caddie, Des Atkinson. He made sure I got over the line.”

Ferreira, a Bermuda native, moved to the Philadelphia area nine years ago for the sake of matrimony. He grew up “playing regional tournaments against Justin Rose, and I would lose all of the time.” Golf is limited these days — professional and personal (three kids under the age of 6) obligations. But now a national event awaits.

“I’m going to show up, apologize to my wife profusely and have a ton of fun. Zero expectations,” Ferreira said. “I’m thrilled that I put up a great round of golf today. I’m going to really enjoy my first USGA experience.”

Coincidentally, a PGA TOUR star prevented a USGA appearance for Davenport in 2011. He lost to Brooks Koepka in a sudden-death playoff for a spot in the U.S. Amateur.  

“I birdied the first playoff hole to lose. He eagled it,” Davenport said. “He hit his tee ball and I thought it was out-of-bounds. He took an absurd line and carried [a 3-wood] 340 yards. He rolled in a 15-footer for eagle.”

Like Davenport, Siegfried, the 2010 Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur Champion, preached patience at Indian Valley. He carded a 3-under-par 69 to book a ticket to his second USGA event (2012 U.S. Amateur).  

“Having my brother (Max) on the bag was the best thing in the world because he helped me be patient and forgot about everything when I felt nervous. We had a lot of fun,” Siegfried, 29, of Wayne, Pa., said. “I’ve been hitting the ball great this year but making zero putts. It was nice to see some go in today. I’ve been waiting for a good round to happen. I’m happy with where we ended up.”

Siegfried, who works in technology sales, increased practice time tenfold in 2019. That dedication finally bore fruit.

“This is probably the hardest I’ve worked since I graduated college,” Siegfried said. “I’m turning 30 in a month. I got married [in April 2018] and just got a house. My wife wants kids. Real life is setting in. I want to try really hard and see what I can do. It’s getting ready for other things to take precedence.”

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 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers
Name, city, score
William Davenport, Palm City, Fla.67
David Ferreira, Haverford, Pa.67
Yaroslav Merkulov, Penfield, N.Y.69
Cory Siegfried, Strafford, Pa.69
*P.J. Acierno, Flourtown, Pa.70
Alternates (in order)
*Brian Gillespie, Newtown Square, Pa.70
*Conrad Von Borsig, Fort Washington, Pa.70
Failed to qualify
*Colin Brennan, Tyngsboro, Mass.70
Connor McNicholas, Ambler, Pa.71
Patrick Shanahan, Devon, Pa.71
Zach Arsenault, Merchantville, N.J.72
John Samaha, Hatboro, Pa.72
David West, Exton, Pa.72
Zachary Falone, Mickleton, N.J.73
Joe Kerrigan, Jr., Ardmore, Pa.73
Patrick Knott, Bryn Mawr, Pa.73
John Lalley, Philadelphia, Pa.73
Christopher Meares, Sewell, N.J.73
Stephen Seiden, Newtown Square, Pa.73
Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.73
Jamie Slonis, Sewell, N.J.73
Nicholas Verrecchio, Philadelphia, Pa.73
Nick Barrett, Ellicott City, Md.74
Richard Berkmeyer, St. Louis, Mo.74
Matt Dudas, Collegeville, Pa.74
Camron Howell, Queen Creek, Ariz.74
Jeffrey Osberg, Bryn Mawr, Pa.74
Matt Shevlin, Upper Darby, Pa.74
Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.75
Brad McFadden, Bryn Mawr, Pa.75
Eric Murphy, Telford, Pa.75
Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa.75
Robert Bechtold, Avondale, Pa.76
Christopher Binder, Collingswood, N.J.76
Michael Carr, East Norriton, Pa.76
Bryan Keeling, Holland, Pa.76
Vince Kwon, Marlton, N.J.76
Regan Papariello, Philadelphia, Pa.76
Gary Schoeman, Philadelphia, Pa.76
Sean Seese, Rydal, Pa.76
Darren Taillie, Philadelphia, Pa.76
Jason Wilson, Orefield, Pa.76
Rodney Anders, Telford, Pa.77
Joe April, Berwyn, Pa.77
Dan Arison, King Of Prussia, Pa.77
Geoff Cooper, Erdenheim, Pa.77
Quentin Griffith, Pennsauken, N.J.77
Marc Mandel, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.77
Sean Torpey, Doylestown, Pa.77
Michael Valentine, Doylestown, Pa.77
Stephen Barry, Mullica Hill, N.J.78
Nick Desai, West Orange, N.J.78
Daniel Feeney, Ardmore, Pa.78
Frank Kohute, Newfield, N.J.78
Brendan Mahoney, Ambler, Pa.78
Chester Patterson, Basking Ridge, N.J.78
Michael Rogers, Wayne, Pa.78
Dan Bernard, Philadelphia, Pa.79
Mark Czerniakowski, Montgomeryville, Pa.79
Jeffrey Romines, Conshohocken, Pa.79
Robert Savarese, Scottsdale, Ariz.79
Thomas Stewart, Philadelphia, Pa.79
Michael Zupi, Lafayette Hill, Pa.79
Brandon Capone, Columbus, N.J.80
Brendan Clearkin Jr, Ambler, Pa.80
Chris Lange, Jr., Bryn Mawr, Pa.80
John Murphy, Cape May Courthouse, N.J.80
George Petrellis, North Wales, Pa.80
Anthony White, Hatfield, Pa.80
Kevin Hart, Hopewell, N.J.81
Edward Kelly, Maple Glen, Pa.81
Jeff Klagholz, Philadelphia, Pa.81
Larry Martone, Washington, D.C.81
Lance Oberparleiter, Blackwood, N.J.81
JH Park, Blue Bell, Pa.81
Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Ivyland, Pa.81
Brett Wallace, West Grove, Pa.81
Jamie Wallace, Moorestown, N.J.81
Adam Bracy, Edgewater Park, N.J.82
A.J. Donatoni, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.82
Kevin Maguire, Philadelphia, Pa.82
Gregory Merrick, Philadelphia, Pa.82
Christopher Pitts, West Deptford, N.J.82
Daniel Tennekoon, Bryn Mawr, Pa.82
Jesse Brookreson, Warrington, Pa.83
John Ezekowitz, Boston, Mass.83
Ryan Gelrod, Flourtown, Pa.83
Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.83
Matthew Perry, Seaford, Del.83
Michael Lenartowicz, Easton, Pa.84
Oscar Neubauer, New York, N.Y.84
Darren Riddle, Harrisburg, Pa.84
Scott Forrester, Cheltenham, Pa.85
John Oliver, Kingston, N.J.86
Timothy Rimmer, Perkasie, Pa.86
Samuel Varano, Schwenksville, Pa.86
Ryan Taylor, New York, N.Y.89
Eric Aeppli, Jersey City, N.J.WD
John Browndorf, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.WD
Nelson Hargrove, Gladwyne, Pa.WD
Noah Karn, Harrisburg, Pa.WD
Daniel Macdonald, Ridgewood, N.J.WD
Robert Maguire, Pottstown, Pa.WD
William Naylor, Malvern, Pa.WD
Rich Owsik, Bryn Mawr, Pa.WD
Noam Roizman, Blue Bell, Pa.WD
Dan Simonsen, King Of Prussia, Pa.WD
Benjamin Smith, Philadelphia, Pa.WD
Wes Strang, Potomac, Md.WD
Jack Wallace, Cinnaminson, N.J.WD
Timothy Wilmot, Rochester, N.Y.WD
* — determined in playoff
WD — withdrawal