WARMINSTER, Pa. — Joe April’s name occupied the top slot on the 2013 Middle-Amateur Championship leaderboard at Fieldstone Golf Club after Round One. Loose swings during the event’s final round changed his status and ultimately precipitated a 20th place finish. | Scorecards | Photo gallery |
A visit with Michael Mack, Burlington Country Club’s head professional, tightened things up and readied April for a return to leaderboard supremacy. The Philadelphia Cricket Club member carded a 3-under-par 68 to earn medalist honors in a Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier presented by Callaway Golf at Five Ponds Golf Club (par 71, 6,559 yards) Saturday.
April led a field of 64 players hoping to earn one of 16 qualifying spots and ties for the Championship proper, set for May 20-21 at St. Davids Golf Club. The cut line fell to 77 by day’s end.
“[The 2013 Middle-Amateur] was a new experience for me, so obviously, I didn’t handle the pressure all that well,” April, 30, of Conshohocken, Pa., said. “I just needed to tighten some things up with my overall swing. My swing’s a little bit loose at times, and I think when you get to a pressure situation like that, it’s tough to convert when you’re under the gun. That was really the catalyst of trying to make some real changes over the offseason this year.”
Those changes left April well-prepared for Five Ponds. He missed three fairways and made a handful of up-and-ins from 40 yards to maintain momentum.
“I felt confident coming into today,” April, who works in the private equity field, said. “I just wanted to play steady out there. I really hit the tee ball great today. There weren’t many holes where I was out of position.”
April played the par 5s Saturday in 3 under. On No. 5 (par 5, 553 yards), a 20-yard chip to two feet for birdie complimented a fabulous 4-wood set-up from 260 yards. April’s “best drive of the day” facilitated an eagle on the difficult par 5, 495-yard 12th hole. He hit a 7-iron 175 yards to 20 feet hole-high left. April followed with a birdie on No. 13 (par 4, 365 yards) after knocking a 58-degree wedge 70 yards to 15 feet. The par 3, 200-yard 11th hole prevented a clean card. April left a 5-iron 20 feet from the flagstick, lagged the birdie try to three feet and became “careless” with the par save.
April certainly cares about the upcoming Middle-Amateur Championship and its venue. He qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2012 at St. Davids.
“I’ve had a good history there and I like the golf course,” April, a Drexel University alum, said. “That’s one that I had circled on my calendar. I wanted to play well today to get in.”
April’s clubmate Brendan Borst carded an even-par 71 to place second Saturday. The two will be paired tomorrow when Philadelphia Cricket takes on Mercer Oaks Golf Course in Week One of the BMW GAP Team Matches.
Saturday’s qualifying event was one of three used to determine who will compete in the Championship proper. The next will take place on Thursday, April 30 at Galloway National Golf Club. Meadowlands Country Club hosts the final qualifier on Monday, May 4.
The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Middle-Amateur Championship started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Amateur 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 Middle-Amateur 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.
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.
Joe April, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Brendan Borst, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Steve Oh, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club
Brad McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club
Joe Perese, Philmont Country Club
Jason Whaley, Sakima Country Club
Leland Weaver, Hartefeld National
Drew Garis, North Hills Country Club
Frank Petrash, IV, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Patrick Phillips, Philadelphia Publinks GA
Will Holt, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club
Brandon Murdock, Llanerch Country Club
J.J. Berenato, Llanerch Country Club
Scott McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club
Andrew Jaskel, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale
Brian Corbett, Huntsville Golf Club
Kenneth Matt, Philadelphia Publinks GA
Matthew Welsh, St. Davids Golf Club
Trevor Seufer, Stonewall
Failed to qualify
Andy Beittel, Bala Golf Club
Gary Sagan, Huntsville Golf Club
James Schmidt, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
Michael Walker, Hartefeld National
David Sim, Applecross Country Club
James Chojnacki, Valleybrook Country Club
Nick Madden, Lu Lu Country Club
Robert Good, Merion Golf Club
Cory Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club
Kevin Sosna, PineCrest Country Club
Matthew Vassil, Makefield Highlands Golf Club
Ryan Cass, Merchantville Country Club
Samuel Varano, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve
Eric Kubilus, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
James Wybar, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Larry Gauger, Radnor Valley Country Club
Michael Diemer, Riverton Country Club
Trever Mertz, Golden Oaks Golf Club
Alexander Liebman, Mercer Oaks Golf Course
Brian Dobisch, Talamore Country Club
Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club
Joe Corcoran, Five Ponds Golf Club
Ryan McDonald, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Ryan O’Leary, Mercer Oaks Golf Course
John VanDame, Talamore Country Club
Kenny Engel, Jr., North Hills Country Club
Kevin Bair, Hartefeld National
Nicholas Damm, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
Royce Yeager, Cedarbrook Country Club
Thomas Mallouk, Lookaway Golf Club
Tom Piersanti, Saucon Valley Country Club
Ken Pedraz, Makefield Highlands Golf Club
Philip Damico, Five Ponds Golf Club
Brian Smarsh, Paxon Hollow Country Club
Jerry Newell, Jr., Fieldstone Golf Club
Rob Cook, DuPont Country Club
Ed McCusker, Five Ponds Golf Club
Walt Lucki, Golden Oaks Golf Club
Paul McMacken, Makefield Highlands Golf Club
Bernie McCole, The Bucks Club
Jim Gibbons, Limekiln Golf Club
Bill Albertus, Penn Oaks Golf Club
Frank Kohute, Running Deer Golf Club
Jason Barkley, Huntsville Golf Club
Joseph Costanzo, Five Ponds Golf Club
Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club
Timothy Zurybida, Huntingdon Valley Country Club