Huntingdon Valley wins inaugural event
As the poll curtains began to close on the inaugural BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches Playoff, Billy Reube stared at a six-foot putt.
Not on the 18th hole at LuLu Country Club. Not on the practice green at Huntingdon Valley Country Club. Not on the sheik carpet in his basement.
In his mind, Reube recreated the six-foot par putt he sank a year ago to give Huntingdon Valley its 33rd BMW GAP Team Matches title. He replicated that putt, that heroic conversion, that defining moment in the BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches Playoff.
Reube, playing in the pivotal No. 3 spot at LuLu, accrued three points, which, in turn, contributed to Huntingdon Valley’s total of 36. It defeated LuLu (21 points), Old York Road Country Club (15 points) and LedgeRock Golf Club (0 points) for the first — and hopefully only — BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches crown.
“I don’t see myself as a hero,” a modest Reube said. “I did what all of my teammates did this week and told all of my friends and family members to vote. And they came through, thankfully. Last year, I gave credit to [LuLu team member] Connor McNicholas for helping me with my short game. Shoutout to Connor for helping me this year with his computer. He wasn’t using it enough to drum up more votes than me.”
“Billy delivered for the team once again,” Dan Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley’s captain, said. “We decided to send Billy to compete at LuLu because of his reputation among the guys there. He’s well-respected, so we thought he could sway a few votes in our favor. For him to come away with three points was unexpected yet critical.”
In the actual BMW GAP Team Matches Playoff a year ago, Huntingdon Valley, on the wings of Reube’s six-foot heroics, snuck past LuLu by two points. A spirited rivalry developed between the two. Connections to Temple University stem from both sides. That seemed to fuel the flames in 2020. Which nest professed the better Owls? A question like that certainly bounced around text and email exchanges throughout the Playoff.
“It was cool to see that turn into an artificial rivalry,” Reube said. “Obviously, everyone was bummed out to hear the cancellation of the BMW GAP Team Matches. But we all knew it had to be done because of the COVID-19 crisis. We were just glad we had a chance, albeit digital, to do battle with LuLu once again.”
In the thick of an artificial rivalry stood Jon Rusk, LuLu’s captain. Huntingdon Valley, according to Reube, felt a twinge of concern once Rusk regained his amateur status last year. His playing prowess, coupled with his ability to set a potent Team Matches lineup, threatened a triumph.
But Huntingdon Valley’s Liam McGrath, playing in the No. 3 spot at Old York Road, neutralized LuLu’s driving force. A redshirt junior at Temple, McGrath earned three points, Rusk one.
“We were glad that Jon Rusk wasn’t actually playing at Old York Road, since he shares the course record there,” Reube said. “Still, Rusk can bring the firepower in an online fight. Huntingdon Valley got the better of him this time.”
“I said last week that the LuLu guys are great guys. Jon Rusk leads by example over there,” Pinciotti added. “But hey, with this team victory, Huntingdon Valley hangs onto the bragging rights.”
As the virtual dust, the curtains begin to peel — slightly, of course, because of COVID-19 restrictions — on the prospect of an on-course battle.
“We’re happy to host the LuLu team at Huntingdon Valley for a match once this is all over,” Reube said. “We can find out who the real winner then. Of course, it won’t count as a Team Matches victory. Bragging rights and whatever side bets are made will be on the line.”
Another six-footer is sure to come into play. Not a putt; a Wawa Shorti wager.
BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches
In the absence of the actual BMW GAP Team Matches due to COVID-19, GAP created the BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches in 2020.
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 288 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.