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.
|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|