close_icon

Whitford’s Conners claims 15th Christman Cup at St. Davids

*Scorecards
*Photo gallery
*Junior Player of the Year Award Standings
*Harry Hammond Award Standings
*History

WAYNE, Pa. — Kevin Conners, Jr. knew a tournament victory existed deep down. His rising game just needed to meet a friendly venue to bring it out.

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Christman Cup, presented by Global Golf Post, served as the event, St. Davids Golf Club (par 70, 6,387 yards) the venue for a Conners breakout Thursday. He carded a 1 under 139 to capture the tournament’s 15th edition by two strokes. A late charge allowed Burlington Country Club’s Blaine Lafferty to secure runner-up status.

  “It feels great. I’ve been pretty close the last couple of years,” Conners, 17, of Downingtown, Pa. “It was good to know where I was going into the second round and to play well when the pressure was on. It’s a pretty good field, so I knew if I just played my game, I had a shot. It’s definitely nice to get one.”

  Tough scoring conditions and challenging green complexes made a subpar score seem out of reach for the 77-player field early on. Round One presented a field scoring average of 79.7. Conners, a Whitford Country Club member, shared the clubhouse lead with six others at 2 over.

  “I played much better than that, so I knew if I just played the same and rolled in a few more putts, I’d be fine,” he said.

  Another reason for Conners’ optimism? The Donald Ross design suited his style

Blaine Lafferty

  “Right now, I’m just striking my irons really well, and you need to be on the proper side of the green here,” Conners, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine Player to Watch in 2014, said. “I was hitting most of targets into the greens. I play really well on tight courses where you need to hit it straight.”

  Conners separated from a jumbled pack in the afternoon session. On No. 2 (par 4, 431 yards), he pumped a 5-iron 185 yards to 10 feet for a 3. He stopped a pitching wedge at six feet for a birdie on No. 6 (par 3, 144 yards). Conners powered a 3-iron 215 yards to 30 feet lipped a left-to-right breaker for eagle on the par 5, 490-yard No. 8. A 3 under outward tour put Conners four clear of all chasers.

  “I actually wasn’t thinking about my score too much,” he said. “I knew to win tournaments, you can’t really wait for the field to come back to you; you have to keep your foot on the pedal.”

  Conners, an incoming senior at Bishop Shanahan High School, pressed that pedal to the floor. He stuffed a 5-iron to three feet for a birdie on No. 10 (par 3, 166 yards). On the downhill par 5, 541-yard 11th hole, a dialed-in and determined Conners launched a 4-iron from 220 yards to 25 feet below a front hole location and cozied the eagle try into kick-in range.

  However, Conners wasn’t the only one hurdling hopefuls on the leaderboard. Lafferty, who started on No. 10 (par 3, 166 yards), bolted up to 1 over thru 27 holes thanks to birdies inside 10 feet on Nos. 17 (par 3, 153 yards) and 18 (par 4, 378 yards). He smacked a sand wedge 100 yards to five feet for a 3 on No. 3. At the point, Lafferty, who will attend the University of Delaware in the fall, stood at 1 over.

  Meanwhile, a “bad swing” resulted in a bogey for Conners on No. 12 (par 4, 450 yards) and changed his lead to three. It dropped to two after Conners’ watched his pitching wedge peel off the false front on No. 14 (par 3, 116 yards). On the other side of the golf course, Lafferty gave a shot back on No. 7 (par 4, 460 yards), but recovered with a dazzling eagle on No. 8, where he holed out from the front bunker.

  “I had a clean lie and just tried to land it halfway between the hole and the cup,” Lafferty, 18, of Marlton, N.J., said. “It just rolled up to the lip and dropped right in. I figured I’d probably need a birdie on the last hole.”

  Lafferty came close to one. Although he pushed a 4-iron right on No. 9 (par 3, 220 yards), Lafferty, a semifinalist in the Junior Boys’ Championship two weeks ago, then saw his next shot deflect off the flagstick and stop six feet from the hole. He missed the ensuing par putt. Conners exhaled.

  The victory marked his second on the GAP circuit. Conners won the Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship in 2010.

  The Christman Cup is named in honor of J. Fred Christman, a longtime Director of Competitions for the Golf Association of Philadelphia who retired in January 2000. It is a 36-hole stroke play event.

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 150 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.

Results
Name, club Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club 72 67 139
Blaine Lafferty, Burlington Country Club 73 68 141
Trey Croney, Overbrook Golf Club 72 72 144
Mark Benevento, Jr., Greate Bay Country Club 72 74 146
Connor Goodrich, Merchantville Country Club 74 74 148
Liam Murphy, Hartefeld National 74 74 148
Mike Bliss, Jericho National Golf Club 78 70 148
Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club 75 74 149
Brock Kovach, Berkshire Country Club 72 77 149
Jalen Griffin, Talamore Country Club 75 74 149
Michael Reed-Price, Sunnybrook Golf Club 72 78 150
Benjamin Kotler, Squires Golf Club 74 76 150
Griffin Colvin, Concord Country Club 72 78 150
Michael Burns, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club 76 74 150
Davis Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club 77 74 151
Matthew Bastian, Jr., Rolling Green Golf Club 77 75 152
Gary McCabe, Jr., RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 72 80 152
Sam Soeth, White Manor Country Club 76 76 152
Thomas Fisher, North Hills Country Club 75 77 152
Ryan Cleary, Wilmington Country Club 73 79 152
Jack Quirk, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 77 76 153
Paul Mauer, Stonewall 77 76 153
J.B. Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club 78 75 153
Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 76 77 153
Nicolas McCook, Applecross Country Club 79 74 153
Daniel Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club 74 80 154
Gregory Szrom, GAP Junior eClub 76 79 155
Evan Brown, Hartefeld National 74 81 155
Jacob Klaus, Tavistock Country Club 79 77 156
Jacob Klaus, Tavistock Country Club 79 77 156
Kevin Kramarski, Riverton Country Club 79 77 156
Carlos Fullerton, Brookside C.C. of Allentown 77 79 156
Peter Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club 84 72 156
Cody Fitzpatrick, Commonwealth National Golf Club 78 78 156
Joshua Madarang, Applecross Country Club 78 78 156
Matthew Ade, Riverton Country Club 81 76 157
John Foley, Spring Ford Country Club 74 83 157
Brandon Raihl, Heidelberg Country Club 79 78 157
David Gall, Riverton Country Club 79 78 157
Ben Litt, Riverton Country Club 79 79 158
Ben Litt, Riverton Country Club 79 79 158
Liam Lafferty, Burlington Country Club 75 83 158
Tyler Sokolis, Commonwealth National Golf Club 82 76 158
Chris Binet, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 84 75 159
Jack Henderson, Gulph Mills Golf Club 82 77 159
Jacob Hanzel, Running Deer Golf Club 83 76 159
Brian Zinman, Saucon Valley Country Club 84 75 159
John Barone, Glenmaura National Golf Club 83 77 160
Andrew Willner, Phoenixville Country Club 82 79 161
Drew Guarino, Old York CC at Chesterfield 79 82 161
Tom Gravina, Aronimink Golf Club 79 83 162
Brad Ebersole, The Ridge at Back Brook 83 79 162
Blake Kurtzman, Bala Golf Club 79 83 162
Otis Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club 81 81 162
Patrick Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf Club 89 73 162
Justin Elwell, Running Deer Golf Club 85 78 163
Ryan Bree, Fieldstone Golf Club 84 80 164
Jack Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 87 78 165
Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 81 84 165
Jay Losty, Merion Golf Club 83 82 165
Phillip Held, Jr., Blue Bell Country Club 84 81 165
Drew Petri, Jericho National Golf Club 83 83 166
Jake Sitzler, Burlington Country Club 85 81 166
Greg Welsh, Talamore Country Club 81 85 166
Matthew Cleary, Wilmington Country Club 86 81 167
Eric Carlidge, North Hills Country Club 84 83 167
Ryan Bowman, Aronimink Golf Club 83 86 169
David Pontari, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 83 87 170
Troy Thierolf, Commonwealth National Golf Club 82 88 170
Frankie Brigidi, Philadelphia Cricket Club 84 87 171
Austin Dunlap, St. Davids Golf Club 87 84 171
Michael Duffy, Saucon Valley Country Club 89 83 172
Hugh Farris, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 84 93 177
Ryan Brennan, Rolling Green Golf Club 86 92 178
Ryan Zinsky, Burlington Country Club 93 85 178
Patrick Rafferty, Jr., Blue Bell Country Club 89 93 182
Austin Bond, Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club 88 97 185
Kyle Kost, Lookaway Golf Club 85 WD WD
Trey Swanson, Penn Oaks Golf Club 78 WD WD
WD – withdrawal