Jun 26, 2018

Overbrook’s Bensel wedges way to #GAPOpen Qual. medal

June 26, 2018

WESTAMPTON, N.J. — Trevor Bensel’s putter isn’t his best friend at the moment. Despite that strained relationship, all the Overbrook Golf Club professional needed Tuesday at Burlington Country Club (par 70, 6,665 yards) was his valiant Vokey wedge.

Scorecards | History |

Bensel, an assistant caddiemaster at Overbrook, fired the lone subpar round (1-under 69) to take medalist honors in a #GAPOpen Qualifier. The low number was propelled by back-to-back chip-ins for birdies on the back nine.

  The cut line stopped at 76 by day’s end, with 42 individuals (29 amateurs, 13 pros) advancing. The 114th Open Championship will take place July 18-19 at St. Davids Golf Club.

  In the morning, Little Mill Country Club’s Blaine Lafferty and Radley Run Country Club’s Parker Wine each carded rounds of 1-over 71 to set the early mark. When arriving to the track under sublime skies, the afternoon wave had a good idea of where the cut number would fall. Those over-par morning numbers helped gameplans develop for some, especially the medalist.

   “I thought the cut line would be around five or six over. I was surprised, honestly, by the high scores when I showed up. I play here a good amount, and play here in the Pro-Am., so I knew the course pretty well,” said Bensel, formerly of Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s PGM program. “It ended up being the firmest I’ve seen Burlington play.”

  After making the turn at 2-over 37, Bensel went on to play Burlington’s final nine in 3-under par. The consecutive hole outs came on Nos. 13 (par 4, 447 yards) and 14 (par 5, 561 yards). The crucial chip-ins were almost identical – both coming from above the hole and back from just behind the green.

   “I couldn’t get a putt to fall all day. But that’s alright, because I had my 58-degree wedge,” said Bensel, who medaled in a 2015 GAP Open Qualifier at Running Deer Golf Club.

  The only birdie jarred with the flatstick came on No. 17 (par 4, 409 yards). After smashing a 3-wood right, Bensel lifted a 9-iron 150 yards over the trees and put it to 10 feet. He drained that look – his longest made putt of the day – to get to his eventual final number.

  Bensel, of Denver, Pa, is a frequent player in the Philadelphia PGA Section events, as well as Pennsylvania Golf Association championships. His non-playing days are spent as an assistant caddiemaster at Overbrook. He’s hoping for more success moving forward, as he says his game isn’t where it needs to be at the moment.

   “I’m hitting the ball sideways. It’s a mess, but luckily today wasn’t too bad,” he said.

  At the end of the day, no matter how he played, Bensel did exactly what he set out to do: qualify for the Open Championship, where he finished tied for 21st in last year’s rendition at Philadelphia Country Club. He’ll look to build on that finish, and will bring some needed confidence to the tee in result of the medalist honor.

   “My goal now is to not have to qualify for the championships. I just missed out on those exemptions with my finish last year, so headed to [St. Davids], that will be my focus,” he said.

  Playing partners Ambrose Abbracciamento of Jericho National Golf Club and Bensalem Township Country Club’s Matt Balcer fired even-par 70s to share the runner-up position. Both players agreed Burlington was playing fair, but difficult.

   “There were a good number of holes where you had to play shots into the green eight or 10 feet short and bounce them up. The greens don’t break a ton around the holes, and they’re in really good shape, which we enjoyed,” said Abbracciamento, a sophomore standout at University of Hartford who will be transferring to San Diego State University in the fall.

   “It was a good showing today overall,” said Balcer, who returns to the Open field after a year hiatus due to a blood infection. “Hitting a ton of fairways was key here. That made it easier than it should have been.”

  The qualifier at Burlington was one of two being conducted on the day. Commonwealth National Golf Club’s Ron Robinson took medalist honors at Woodstone Country Club with a 1-under 71.

   The Golf Association of Philadelphia expanded its Open Championship field to 132 players in 2017. The format remains 36 holes of stroke play. It is contested over two days instead of one — a change also made in 2017. A cut to the low 60 and ties takes place after Day One.

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 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 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
Trevor Bensel, Overbrook Golf Club 69
(a) Ambrose Abbracciamento, Jericho National Golf Club 70
(a) Matthew Balcer, Bensalem Township Country Club 70
(a) John Barone, Glenmaura National Golf Club 71
(a) Blaine Lafferty, Little Mill Country Club 71
(a) Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club 71
(a) Brian Todaro, Rolling Green Golf Club 71
(a) Parker Wine, Radley Run Country Club 71
(a) Keith Matt, Talamore Country Club 72
Corey McAlarney, Squires Golf Club 72
Kevin Nicholson, White Manor Country Club 72
John Spina, Philadelphia Cricket Club 72
John Allen, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 73
(a) Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club 73
Christopher Dymek, Manasquan River Golf Club 73
(a) Sean Seese, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 73
(a) Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club 73
(a) Michael Davis, Aronimink Golf Club 74
(a) Bryan Keeling, Spring Mill Country Club 74
(a) Kevin Sarlo, Jr., Burlington Country Club 74
Bill Walker, Riverton Country Club 74
(a) Dan Close, Woodcrest Country Club 75
(a) Dominic Digiacomo, Greate Bay Country Club 75
(a) Zachary Falone, Sakima Country Club 75
(a) Ryan Gelrod, Philadelphia Cricket Club 75
Richie Krebs, Briarwood Golf Club 75
(a) Griffin Smith, Jericho National Golf Club 75
(a) Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club 76
Matthew Episcopo, Pine Valley Golf Club 76
Michael Ferguson, Philadelphia Cricket Club 76
(a) Matthew Gaffney, Little Mill Country Club 76
(a) Hayden Greer, Laurel Creek Country Club 76
Robert Hennefer, Indian Spring Country Club 76
Eric Keeler, Gulph Mills Golf Club 76
Ryan Lagergren, Stonewall 76
(a) Brad McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club 76
(a) Scott McLaughlin, Lu Lu Country Club 76
(a) Alex Mulrooney, DuPont Country Club 76
(a) Jonathan Radick, Spring Mill Country Club 76
(a) Erik Reisner, The ACE Club 76
(a) John Samaha, Old York Road Country Club 76
(a) Jack Wallace, Burlington Country Club 76
Failed to qualify
(a) Dan Ayars, Running Deer Golf Club 77
Dean Halterman, Galloway National Golf Club 77
(a) Joseph Markmann, Talamore Country Club 77
(a) Noah Schwartz, Woodcrest Country Club 77
(a) Jim Allen, Concord Country Club 78
Dave Henry, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 78
(a) Ben Keyser, Woodcrest Country Club 78
(a) Alexander Kim, Blue Bell Country Club 78
(a) Frank Kohute, Running Deer Golf Club 78
(a) Mike Sydnes, Talamore Country Club 78
(a) Todd Baron, Philadelphia Publinks GA 79
Alec Brown, Gulph Mills Golf Club 79
(a) Eric Dekarski, Greate Bay Country Club 79
(a) Connor McNicholas, Lu Lu Country Club 79
(a) Chris Meares, Running Deer Golf Club 79
(a) Kevin Morita, Philadelphia Publinks GA 79
(a) Brent Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club 79
(a) Erik Settelen, Bensalem Township Country Club 79
James Shukdinas, Old York CC at Chesterfield 79
(a) Jack Sterbenz, Little Mill Country Club 79
Cavan Birmingham, Moorestown Field Club 80
(a) David Kim, Commonwealth National Golf Club 80
(a) Casey Lyons, Medford Village Country Club 80
(a) Caleb Rossi, Sea Oaks Golf Club 80
(a) John Venne, Laurel Creek Country Club 80
(a) Chuck Briggs, Bala Golf Club 81
(a) Jimmy Cunningham, Aronimink Golf Club 81
(a) Bennett Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club 81
(a) Dante Devuono, Running Deer Golf Club 82
(a) Tom DiCinti, Mercer Oaks Golf Course 82
(a) Andrew Kotler, Cherry Valley Country Club 82
(a) Alex Mayernik, Old York CC at Chesterfield 82
(a) Brendan McNamara, The ACE Club 82
Andrew Pierson, Camden County Golf Academy 82
(a) David Waxman, Little Mill Country Club 82
(a) Michael Mitnick, Galloway National Golf Club 83
(a) Brendan Bacskai, Applebrook Golf Club 84
William Fox, Jr., Bensalem Township Country Club 84
(a) Phillip Held, Jr., Blue Bell Country Club 84
(a) Tyler Miller, Stonewall 84
(a) Steve Mroozian, Philmont Country Club 84
(a) Eric Palumbo, Rolling Green Golf Club 84
(a) Andrew Ring, Bluestone Country Club 84
Anthony Shields, The ACE Club 84
(a) Mark Kelly, Middletown Country Club 85
(a) Max Rubin, Little Mill Country Club 85
(a) Mark Grilli, Yardley Country Club 86
(a) Chris Warner, Yardley Country Club 86
(a) Dan Brown, Llanerch Country Club 87
(a) Nic Portonova, Coatesville Country Club 87
(a) Jack LaRosa, Philmont Country Club 88
(a) Shawn Gensbauer, Northampton Valley Country Club 90
(a) John Mallozzi, Talamore Country Club 91
(a) Michael Torrissi, Jr., Trump National Golf Club – Philadelphia 92
(a) Nicholas Corper, Lu Lu Country Club 93
(a) Bernie McCole, The Bucks Club 101
(a) Garrett Conway, Little Mill Country Club WD
(a) Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club WD
(a) Sam Soeth, The ACE Club WD
(a) Jeff Wood, Wedgwood Country Club WD
(a)-denotes amateur

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