Surprises aplenty surface in Week 3
If you’re a fan of professional wrestling — or sports entertainment, as some purists call it, then you’ll appreciate how Week 3 of the BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches transpired.
The crowd favorite (see Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 and Overbrook Golf Club) enters the ring with the upper hand. Then the opponent (see Philadelphia Cricket 2 and Tavistock Country Club) rises from the mat and delivers a devastating move to the crowd’s surprise.
Then the bout breaks down entirely once unexpected guests (see LedgeRock Golf Club and Old York Road Country Club) storm the ring, hit their finishers and pin for the three-count.
Ring the bell. Here are your winners and BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches Playoff participants: the aforementioned LedgeRock and Old York, in addition to digital darlings Huntingdon Valley Country Club and LuLu Country Club.
Before diagnosing each team like judges on “The Masked Singer,” here is a pertinent BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches rule. In the event of a tie in the number of team wins, the winner shall be determined by the head-to-head winner. If there was a tie in the regular season match, or more than two teams tied with the same record, then the tie will be broken by the greatest total number of points from the three regular matches.
LedgeRock, Philadelphia Cricket 1 and Philadelphia Cricket 2 all finished the regular season at 2–1. However, thanks to a stunning 36–0 shutout over Little Mill Country Club in Week Three, LedgeRock accrued 70.5 points — 8.5 clear of Philadelphia Cricket 1. Also, Philadelphia Cricket 1 succumbed to a 19–17 loss at the hands of club brethren Philadelphia Cricket 2.
“We can’t believe it,” Larry Schultz, Jr., LedgeRock’s captain, said. “We needed all of the stars to align in order for us to make the Playoff, and it happened. We certainly didn’t expect to blank Little Mill. And we certainly didn’t expect Philadelphia Cricket 1, a powerhouse in the actual Team Matches over the last decade, to lose.”
Essentially, with the Crickets clashing outside the ring, LedgeRock jumped off the top rope and slammed Little Mill. The same can be said when analyzing Old York Road’s Playoff appearance. It executed a remarkable frog splash in the form of a 36–0 blanking of Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. Meanwhile, Tavistock dazed Overbrook and walked back to the locker room with a 19–17 victory in tow.
Old York Road matched Overbrook in record (2–1) yet prevailed in point total (76.5–66).
“Old York Road is a small club and our team is comprised of guys who have been friends for a long time, both on and off the course, so it is seems fitting that we were successful when golf was not being played out on grass,” Edward Kelly, Jr., Old York Road’s captain, said. “Considering only Huntington Valley has more Team Match championships then we at ‘The Road,’ we are hoping this virtual stuff will get us closer to catching them.”
In this writer’s desperate attempt to maintain a wrestling analogy, think of LuLu (2–1) and Huntingdon Valley (3–0) as The Rock and John Cena of the BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches. In Week Three, LuLu (59 points), despite leading all teams in votes the first two weeks, fell to a woken Glenmaura National Golf Club, 22–14. However, it still managed to persevere thanks to a head-to-head triumph over Running Deer Golf Club (2–1, 68.5 points) in Week One.
Point to Jim Sullivan, Jr. as LuLu’s MVP to this point. Jon Rusk, LuLu’s captain and Sullivan’s partner in an upcoming U.S. Amateur Four-Ball appearance, knows why.
“Sully’s got 15-year-old kids who are pretty handy on Twitter right now. You can quote me on that,” Rusk said. “My kids are too young to vote, so that’s why I benched myself. I knew there was going to be heavy voting between the LuLu guys and the Huntingdon Valley guys against each other. I stayed out of it in Week Three.”
LuLu may need Rusk and his social media savvy for the Playoff. In a “win and you’re in” scenario, Huntingdon Valley (80.5 points) accumulated a whopping 4,685 votes to slip past a surging Llanerch Country Club, 32.5–3.5, in Week Three.
“The refresh button was our best friend. All of the matches were so close as the week went on,” Dan Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley’s captain, said. “At first, it wasn’t looking good for Huntingdon Valley. Then it was. Then it wasn’t. In the end, our guys rallied to pull it off. We’ll need that kind of commitment in the Playoff if we want to walk away as the first, and hopefully only, BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches champion.”
The 2019 BMW GAP Team Matches came down to a photo finish between Huntingdon Valley and LuLu. Will the #VirtualGAPMatches follow suit?
“No doubt that LedgeRock and Old York Road are both carrying a lot of momentum into the Final. But LuLu is squarely in our crosshairs,” Pinciotti said. “They’re a great group of guys, and they know how to win, both on the golf course and online. We’ll give it our best shot.”
“The Huntingdon Valley guys are good guys. They have a lot of college kids on their team who obviously aren’t too busy right now, so they’ve had a lot of time on their hands,” Rusk added. “We’ll have our hands full. I have a bad feeling about this. Huntingdon Valley will probably roll everybody up in these votes.”
Or maybe LuLu and Huntingdon Valley will roll out of the ring to fight, leaving the crowd agape as LedgeRock and Old York Road trade blows for the title.
Cue the Playoff entrance themes.
Week 3 results
Glenmaura National 22, LuLu 14
Running Deer 24, Hartefeld National 12
Philadelphia Cricket 2 19, Philadelphia Cricket 1 17
LedgeRock 36, Little Mill 0
Tavistock 19, Overbrook 17
Old York Road 36, Whitemarsh Valley 0
Huntingdon Valley 32.5, Llanerch 3.5
Commonwealth National 24, Aronimink 12
BMW Virtual GAP Team Matches: Final standings
LuLu: 2–1, 59 Points
Running Deer: 2–1, 68.5 Points
Hartefeld National: 1–2, 44.5 Points
Glenmaura National: 1–2, 44 Points
LedgeRock: 2–1, 70.5 Points
Philadelphia Cricket 1: 2–1, 61.5 Points
Philadelphia Cricket 2: 2–1, 56.5 Points
Little Mill: 0–3, 25.5 Points
Old York Road: 2–1, 76.5 Points
Overbrook: 2–1, 66 Points
Tavistock: 2–1, 47.5 Points
Whitemarsh Valley: 0–3, 26 Points
Huntingdon Valley: 3–0, 80.5 Points
Llanerch: 2–1, 59 Points
Commonwealth National: 1–2, 44.5 Points
Aronimink: 0–3, 32 Points
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.