Philadelphia Cricket Club welcomes 27th Middle-Amateur Championship - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 20, 2010

Philadelphia Cricket Club welcomes 27th Middle-Amateur Championship

Seven years ago, Robert Savarese, Jr. of Philadelphia Cricket Club won the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Middle-Amateur Championship on the Wissahickon Course at his home club.

*History | *2009 Results

 He hopes history will repeat itself when this year’s Championship comes to Philadelphia Cricket’s Militia Hill Course May 26-27. Savarese, of Lafayette Hill, Pa., is one of 130 players looking to capture the Association’s first Major of the season.

Mark Peterson (right), GAP Executive Director,
congratulates Michael Brown of Lookaway GC
following his 2009 Mid.-Am. victory. Brown
will defend his title this year.

  “I’m very excited about it. It’s exciting for me to be able to play at home, and at the same time, I expect to play well,” he said.

  In 2003, Savarese carded a 2-under-par 140 to seize his first GAP Major title. He defended it the following year at Gulph Mills GC and finished in the middle of the pack. This year, Michael Brown of Lookaway GC plays the role of defending champion. He edged Sean Leonard of Tavistock CC in a four-hole aggregate playoff to win his first GAP Major title.

  “My mindset coming in is the same as it was before,” Brown, of Cheltenham, Pa., said. “I try to prepare the same for every tournament. I’m putting in as much practice as I can with the time allowed. I know it’s going to be very difficult to win this year, but I know I can do it.”

  Brown and Savarese must overcome a surplus of strong players to reclaim Middle-Amateur glory. They include Gary D. Daniels of Saucon Valley CC, the 2009 Senior Player of the Year; Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, the 2001 Amateur Champion; Tom Gramigna of Tavistock CC, a three-time New Jersey State Golf Association Mid.-Am. champion; Chris Lange of Overbrook GC, a two-time Middle-Amateur Champion; Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC, the 2007 Middle-Amateur Champion and Glenn Smeraglio of Mercer Oaks GC, a three-time Silver Cross winner and two-time Marston Cup Champion.

  “I feel that the Philadelphia area in particular has some of the best players in the country,” Brown, 37, said. “Any time you can be atop among those players, it lets you know that you’re doing something right.”

  Savarese, 44, also feels that this year’s field features formidable foes.

  “Since I’ve been playing in the GAP, the depth of talent is unbelievable,” he said. “It should be a shoot-out.”

  Tournament golf has taken on a minor role in Saverese’s life over the last few years. He suffered a hand injury in 2006 and had surgery on it two years later.

  “I haven’t been completely healthy to practice and play a lot,” Savarese, a 12-time Philadelphia Cricket Club Champion, said. “I did play in the GAP Team Matches this year. I’m looking forward to playing in the Mid.-Am. It’s been awhile since I’ve played a medal-play event.”

  Brown, too, believes that he’s prepared for success at Militia Hill.

  “I feel like I’m ready to play good golf even though I haven’t yet. I see some things coming together where I have the potential to play good golf,” he said.

  The Middle-Amateur is for players 25 years of age and older. It is a two-day, 36-hole tournament.

  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.

  Members of the media are encouraged to attend this year’s event. For more information, contact the Association’s office at 610-687-2340.

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