Northampton's Casella heads Mid.-Am. Qual. at Bellewood - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 02, 2012

Northampton’s Casella heads Mid.-Am. Qual. at Bellewood

  POTTSTOWN, Pa. — Wanting to increase his competitive golf intake, Michael Casella of Northampton Country Club decided to audition for the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 29th Middle-Amateur Championship Wednesday. He promptly earned a role after carding a 1-over-par 72 to earn medalist honors in a Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier at a cool and damp Bellewood Golf Club (par 71, 6,678 yards).

  Casella led a field of 156 players attempting to earn one of 49 qualifying spots and ties available for the Championship proper, set for May 23-24 at Chester Valley Golf Club. The Easton, Pa. resident tallied 27 putts on the day.

  “That was the key. I putted very well,” he said. “The greens were wet from the rain, so you could be aggressive on your putts.”

  That aggressiveness didn’t serve Casella well early. Starting on the back nine, he blocked his drive left on the dangerous No. 13 (par 4, 363 yards). Casella then equipped a 6-iron to address a challenging approach from 130 yards.

  “I had to go underneath a tree and run it up the green,” he said. “It rolled past the hole and off the back of the green.” Casella chipped on and left his par putt short.

  Casella, 42, carded consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15 (par 4, 381 yards) and 16 (par 4, 387 yards). Unfamiliarity contributed to the first as Casella misjudged a 9-iron approach from 130 yards.

  “I didn’t realize the green sloped from right to left so hard, and the ball just spun to the left just off the green,” he said.

  A similar 9-iron story and ending occured on the uphill 16th hole for Casella. However, he leveled his play with three red figures to begin his inward tour. On No. 1 (par 4, 385 yards), Casella hit a sand wedge 107 yards to eight feet left of the flagstick. He powered a 3-wood 240 yards to 60 feet on No. 2 (par 5, 505 yards). Casella ran his eagle try three feet past the jar, but cleaned up the birdie putt. On No. 3 (par 4, 383 yards), he knocked a gap wedge 117 yards and drained an uphill 20-footer.

  “It literally went in on the last rotation,” Casella, a pharmaceutical representative, said.

  A hiccup on No. 5 (par 4, 432 yards) put Casella one above the blue. With less than180 yards to the flagstick, he tried to negotiate a 5-iron onto the green. It came out low and flew to the rear of the green. Casella left a six-footer to save par on the front lip.

  “Some of the downhill putts I expected to be faster than they were,” he said.

  Wednesday marked Casella’s first attempt to qualify for the Middle-Amateur Championship. He did so under the encouragement of Gary Hardin, Northampton’s head professional.

  “He says I’m better than I think I am,” Casella said. “I’ve only played in club events and the Lehigh Valley Amateur the last couple of years. I just thought that if I’m ever going to be good, then I need to play in some of these events to get used to tournament competition.”

  Now that he’s forged a spot in the Championship proper, Casella hopes to make an impression among a crowd of new faces.

  “I don’t know any of these guys or what the competitions like,” he said. “I just feel like if I can control my emotions and be confident, then I could put up a good score.”

  The cut line stopped at 81. Wednesday’s qualifier was the last event used to determine who will play in the Championship Proper next month. Thirty-one players advanced from an April 26 qualifier at Wedgwood Country Club.

  The GAP Middle-Amateur started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Am as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.

  The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Mid-Am was for players 30 years of age and older.

  The Association’s Executive Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. The field begins with 132 players. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower.

  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 145 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.

Name, club Score
Michael Casella, Northampton Country Club 72
Ryan Gelrod, Philadelphia Cricket Club 75
Brian McDermott, Llanerch Country Club 75
Gordon Jamieson, Merion Golf Club 75
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club 76
Ivan McBride, Five Ponds Golf Club 76
Michael Beran, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 77
Grant Skyllas, Moselem Springs Golf Club 77
John Simone, Philmont Country Club 77
Scott Orr, Brookside Country Club 77
Simon Hagger, Fieldstone Golf Club 77
Robert Good, Merion Golf Club 77
Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club 78
Tom Piersanti, Saucon Valley Country Club 78
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club 78
Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club 78
Santo Lafoca, Huntsville Golf Club 78
Sean Coyle, Llanerch Country Club 78
Jim Braunsberg, Blue Bell Country Club 78
John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club 78
Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club 79
Jonathan Shevlin, North Hills Country Club 79
Joshua Isler, Chester Valley Golf Club 79
Paul Kupcha, Fieldstone Golf Club 79
Brian Fisher, Philadelphia Publinks GA 79
Patrick Phillips, Spring Ford Country Club 79
Brian Corbett, Huntsville Golf Club 79
Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club 79
Bill Albertus, Penn Oaks Golf Club 79
Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club 79
Michael Domenick, Phoenixville Country Club 79
Anthony Apostolico, Back Creek Golf Club 79
Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club 80
Tim Anderson, Philadelphia Publinks GA 80
Thomas Brennan, Five Ponds Golf Club 80
Mark Hodgson, Burlington Country Club 80
Robert Loftus, Overbrook Golf Club 80
William Naylor, Applebrook Golf Club 80
Arthur Herling, III, Cedarbrook Country Club 80
Christopher Lucci, Brookside Country Club 80
Jason Barkley, Moselem Springs Golf Club 80
Patrick McCusker, Jr., Plymouth Country Club 80
Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club 81
Peter Landreth, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club 81
Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 81
Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club 81
Chris Hunger, Wedgwood Country Club 81
Elias Chua, Fieldstone Golf Club 81
George Griffaton, Brookside Country Club 81
Mark Coassolo, Brookside C.C. of Allentown 81
Patrick McCauley, Applebrook Golf Club 81
Timothy Whartenby, Northampton Valley Country Club 81
Andrew Carnevale, North Hills Country Club 81
Michael Fagan, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 81
Failed to qualify
Tino Calantoni, Saucon Valley Country Club 82
Brian Shevland, Waynesborough Country Club 82
Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club 82
John Donnelly, Concord Country Club 82
Mark Wachter, DuPont Country Club 82
Tim Westfall, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 82
Vincent Craven, Jr., Commonwealth National Golf Club 82
David Liotta, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 82
Ian Kessler, Penn Oaks Golf Club 82
Matthew German, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 82
Scott Storck, Philadelphia Cricket Club 83
Tom Borsello, White Clay Creek Country Club 83
Kevin Dougher, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club 83
David Atkinson, Llanerch Country Club 83
Patrick Conroy, Llanerch Country Club 83
Tim Sindorf, Burlington Country Club 83
David Smith, Doylestown Country Club 83
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club 83
Joe Kerrigan, Jr., Llanerch Country Club 83
Bradley Bernosky, French Creek Golf Club 83
James O’Connor, Penn Oaks Golf Club 84
Chris Esbenshade, Bent Creek Country Club 84
Gavin Grimes, Chester Valley Golf Club 84
Kevin Bair, Loch Nairn Golf Club 84
Matt Brady, Penn Oaks Golf Club 84
Hudson Green, Brookside Country Club 84
Kenneth Croney, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club 84
Burton McHugh, Sunnybrook Golf Club 84
James Wybar, Philadelphia Cricket Club 84
Ryan Felpel, Honeybrook Golf Club 84
Casey Murray, Philadelphia Cricket Club 84
Brad George, Golf Course at Glen Mills 84
Joseph Greenwald, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 85
John Poole, III, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 85
Damon Zappariello, North Hills Country Club 85
Craig Lozak, Jr., Makefield Highlands Golf Club 85
Todd Cappelli, Philadelphia Publinks GA 85
David Gibbons, Spring Ford Country Club 85
Jeffrey Moyher, Merion Golf Club 85
Anthony Piazza, The ACE Club 85
William Keane, Jr., Philadelphia Country Club 85
Thomas Mallouk, Ph.D., Lookaway Golf Club 85
Robert Galbreath, Sr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club 85
Faust Capobianco, IV, Saucon Valley Country Club 86
Pat Pasquariello, Philadelphia Country Club 86
Michael Hodges, The Springhaven Club 86
Jim Simmons, Stonewall 86
Gerald Bowes, Jr., Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 86
Joseph Dulka, Jr., Bellewood Golf Club 86
Stephen Brown, Chester Valley Golf Club 87
John Robinson, Commonwealth National Golf Club 87
Patrick Murray, North Hills Country Club 87
Brad Sokol, Green Valley Country Club 87
Timothy Chow, Indian Valley Country Club 87
Alan Lazzarino, DuPont Country Club 87
George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club 87
Sean Remington, Green Valley Country Club 87
Chris Lilley, Yardley Country Club 87
Lynn Kilduff, Huntsville Golf Club 87
Nicholas Damm, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 87
Lee Calfo, Rolling Green Golf Club 88
Joe Frey, Edgmont Country Club 88
Lucas Serbun, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 88
Scott Bogdan, French Creek Golf Club 88
Frank Natale, Sunnybrook Golf Club 88
Adam Gelwarg, Green Valley Country Club 88
Chuck Kraatz, Talamore Country Club 88
Justin Cifra, Sunnybrook Golf Club 89
Taylor Stansberry, Jericho National Golf Club 90
James Bell, III, Makefield Highlands Golf Club 90
John Mullins, Five Ponds Golf Club 90
Jason Kowalski, Yardley Country Club 90
Peter Mark, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 90
Brian Foxx, Cherry Valley Country Club 90
Fred Luck, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 90
Andrew Winn, Radnor Valley Country Club 90
Randy Kruse, Sandy Run Country Club 91
Michael Costonis, Philadelphia Cricket Club 91
Duane Pinnock, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 91
Nicholas Stoyer, Bent Creek Country Club 94
Linc Treadwell, Saucon Valley Country Club 96
Douglas Rodio, Little Mill Country Club 96
Art Brosius, Golf Course at Glen Mills DQ
Craig Larsen, Aronimink Golf Club NS
Jimmy Taylor, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve WD
Bennett Meyer, Philmont Country Club WD
George Petrellis, Blue Bell Country Club WD
Jack Clough, Wilmington Country Club WD
Christopher Baggini, Applebrook Golf Club WD
Richard Blumberg, Philmont Country Club WD
John Cobb, Tavistock Country Club WD
Michael Pastorius, Ravens Claw Golf Club WD
Matt Dietrich, Whitford Country Club WD
James Della Guardia, Spring Ford Country Club WD
Michael Rogers, Llanerch Country Club WD
Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club WD

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