NOTEBOOK: #BMWPhillyAm Final - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 17, 2017

NOTEBOOK: #BMWPhillyAm Final

Match Play Bracket | RECAP: Final |
 FLOURTOWN, Pa. – The first post-game thank you uttered out of Gregor Orlando’s mouth went to his right-hand man. Lifting the J. Wood Platt Trophy for the first time, Orlando pointed out Hugo Mazzalupi, his caddie for this week’s match play, as his guiding force to the title.

“Like I said before, I couldn’t thank him enough,” said Orlando, 26, of Philadelphia, Pa. “I don’t think I would be standing here today without him.”

The duo’s beginnings date back to last year’s historic BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship played at Merion Golf Club. It was there where the pair teamed up for the first time. Orlando eventually fell in the Quarterfinals to Finalist Jeff Osberg, 3&1, but it was there where a winning bond began to blossom.   The team almost didn’t come together this go around.

“Tuesday night, Gregor called me after he carried while playing in the 36-hole Qualifier. I told him I wasn’t available around 5 p.m. that, because we had a really busy week at work,” said Mazzalupi, a club professional and co-owner of Patriots Glen National Golf Club in Elkton, Md. “Then, around 8:30 p.m., I called him up and said, ‘I’ll see you on the first tee tomorrow morning.’”

“I didn’t want to bother him for Tuesday. After that, I felt like I was about to die so I thought I’d give Hugo a call. He was able to flip some things around on his schedule to join me,” said Orlando.

And if Orlando’s victory speech was any indication, he’s lucky his caddie did.

In Saturday’s Final, Mazzalupi said, “Gregor is a phenomenal player who doesn’t really need me. But there were a few holes where he got a little nervous and all he needed was a good thought. When he says he wants an 8-iron, then he hits the 8-iron flush. When he’s between an 8 and a 7, then you just need to steady him, and then he hits it with confidence.”

Spoken like a true championship caddie, which will be Mazzalupi’s title until his broken right thumb – which he says he suffered due to a field hockey ball shattering a few tendons – is healed up in time for him to compete again.

When not injured, Mazzalupi, Orlando and 20 or so talented players compete every Saturday or Sunday. That group now includes four #BMWPhillyAm Champs: Orlando, Phil Bartholomew (2007), Conrad Von Borsig (2008) and Cole Berman (2015). On the weekends is when the fine-tuning of some of the best games in the region happens.

“We’ve got a great group out here that love to compete. But that’s what keeps everyone sharp, playing at the top of their games,” said Mazzalupi, 48, of Wayne, Pa. “There’s been plenty of times Gregor has lost matches out here, don’t let that guy fool you.”

He’s been with the club for 10 years now. That’s when he says the younger Cricketeers re-ignited his passion for playing the game.

“Those guys got me back out on the course. I really enjoy competing again,” he said. “The whole staff and membership here really pushes golf. We’re lucky here. We’re blessed.”

Blessed champions.

Cricket home to champions

As previously mentioned, four of the last 10 BMW Philadelphia Amateur champions currently reside at Philadelphia Cricket Club.

Bartholomew (2007), Von Borsig (2008), Berman (2015) and newly minted champion Orlando all play out of the most recent host club of the Amateur.

Bartholomew played out of Yardley Country Club in his triumph and Von Borsig out of Concord Country Club during his victory nine years ago.

These four men have formed a close bond over the years and are the reason for the rise of each other’s games and the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s emergence in GAP Majors.

“We have a really tight-knit group,” Von Borsig said about the relationship between him, Berman, Orlando and Bartholomew. “We all in succession got each other into the club.

Phil was my sponsor to get into the club and we have been close since junior golf. Before we even tee it up we are very close and we play a lot of tough matches against each other. We know each other’s games in and out. Even though we want to beat each other’s brains in on the course, it makes you want to root for the guy even more out on the course.”

Von Borsig said the club carries somewhere between 15 to 20 plus handicaps, which helps them prepare themselves for events like these. Congratulations were in order for the latest member of the group.

“Growing up here I have seen a lot of change and a lot of growth,” Berman, a rising senior at Georgetown University said. “The atmosphere and the competitiveness have changed and it is incredible to believe that four of us have won the premier golf tournament in Philadelphia. Everyone knew Gregor would break through. I don’t think this will be his last GAP Major.”

Orlando’s 9&8 victory over LedgeRock Golf Club’s Grant Skyllas came with a lot of support. In total, about 75 spectators were following the Final, a good number of them from the host club.

Orlando’s breakthrough represented the Cricketeer’s continued success.

“It is great to be on the same level with those guys,” Orlando said. “It is those guys who push me to be a better golfer and it is great to be out there with them. Four out of the last 10 winners of the Amateur are currently at Philadelphia Cricket Club and I think that is a statement in and of itself.”

Von Borsig said Orlando now rounds out a foursome and they have been talking about a match between the four recent Amateur champions. He said they would call it the “Cricket Cup.”

“It is exciting to have Gregor join the group of recent Amateur winners currently playing here,” Bartholomew said. “I am so happy for Gregor because he played so well all week. We have done a great job here of getting solid players. Adding a guy of the utmost quality, character and caliber of golfer Gregor is helps us grow and pushes us to be better.”

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 151 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.

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