*Junior Player of the Year Award standings
*Harry Hammond Award standings
ORELAND, Pa. — Love-hate best describes the relationship between Cole Berman and the Jock MacKenzie Memorial the last two years. Berman loves the scores that he’s posted in one of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Junior Majors. Both ultimately helped the Philadelphia Cricket Club youngster secure consecutive Harry Hammond Awards. Berman hates that those scores haven’t been good enough to capture the trophy.
The relationship turned into a full-on love affair Monday. Berman, playing in his final Junior event, bested Whitford Country Club’s Kevin Conners, Jr. in a sudden-death playoff to win the tournament’s 30th edition at Sandy Run Country Club (par 72, 6,370 yards). Both players carded respective 3-under-par 69s in regulation.
“This event has been really frustrating for me in my career,” Berman, 18, of Rosemont, Pa., said. “I lost in a playoff [for the Junior-Junior Division] when I was 13. I’ve lost by one the past two years. It was win or nothing today.”
What a dramatic curtain call it was.
Berman, playing in the day’s fifth group, seized the clubhouse lead early, yet the ghosts of chasers past kept his nerves on edge. Conners, who teed off three hours after Berman, birdied three of his final four holes to jolt up the leaderboard. A two-hour weather delay kept both players waiting in the scoring area, hardware hopes intact.
“I’ve been playing well the last couple of weeks, so I was excited to come here and give it a shot,” Conners, 17, of Downingtown, Pa., said. “I knew Cole would probably be my biggest competition. We both played well. Congrats to him on the birdie in the playoff.”
On No. 1 (par 4, 351 yards), the first playoff hole, Berman lifted a gap wedge 120 yards to 10 feet. Conners found the fairway with a 4-iron and knocked his approach to 15 feet. He missed the ensuing birdie try. Berman wasted little time in addressing his putt and deposited a triumphant right-to-left breaker. He looked to the sky, pointed and smiled.
“I don’t think my eyes were open on that last putt,” Berman said. “It was awesome.”
In regulation, Berman started his title quest in titlist fashion, hitting a pitching wedge 125 yards to 15 feet for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 351 yards). Berman went back-to-back on Nos. 7 (par 4, 319 yards) and 8 (par 5, 546 yards) — the first being a bit more conventional. He sent a 58-degree wedge 92 yards to three feet on No. 7. On the next hole, a wayward 3-wood put Berman beside a tree on the left-hand side. With a tedious lie, he smacked a sand wedge 60 yards to two feet. Berman’s birdie ways continued on the par 5, 556-yard 11th hole, where he executed a brilliant up-and-down after powering a 260-yard 3-wood shot greenside left.
Three holes heading in — Nos. 13 (par 4, 358 yards), 15 (par 5, 475 yards) and 17 (par 4, 373 yards) — represented untapped scoring opportunities. Berman missed makeable six-footers for birdies on each. A wedge from 102 yards on No. 16 (par 4, 370) painted the flagstick but landed on the back fringe. Overly cautious with the ensuing chip, Berman advanced his golf ball three feet and then failed to convert a 15-footer for par.
“Today has been my whole summer: playing well but just not scoring,” Berman said. “I won Player of the Year two years in a row, but I actually haven’t won a tournament. I haven’t won any tournament [IJGT Bridgestone Series event] since March 2012. I wanted to win, especially since it was my last GAP Junior event.”
Berman will head Georgetown University in the fall, where he plans to major in finance.
Conners, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine Player to Watch in 2014, is four days removed from capturing the Christman Cup. Conservative play Monday thrust the incoming senior at Bishop Shanahan High School into contention.
“I played smart throughout the whole round,” Conners said. “I kind of laid up to specific yardages that I like around 100 yards. I put it inside 10 feet a lot; I just wasn’t converting. I just knew birdies where out on the back. I just had to stay patient.”
Knowledge was power for Conners. He drilled a 4-iron 210 yards to 15 feet and left his eagle attempt inches shy on the par 5, 475-yard 15th hole. Conners whacked a 56-degree wedge 105 yards to five feet for birdie on No. 16 (par 4, 370 yards), a 60-degree wedge 80 yards to four feet on No. 17 (par 4, 373 yards). His outward tour was less exhilarating. Conners fired a birdie on No. 5 (par 4, 384 yards) after cranking a gap wedge 110 yards to eight feet. His lone blemish occurred on No. 4 (par 4, 318 yards) courtesy of a push 3-iron that traveled into the trees.
Harry Hammond Award
Three days ago, Blaine Lafferty thought that only the qualifying round in the Junior Boys’ Championship and both rounds in the Christman Cup comprised the Harry Hammond Award. He realized that the Jock MacKenzie Memorial also counted toward the honor late Friday and scrambled to become a part of the field.
After all, the Burlington Country Club member held a five shot lead over Merchantville Country Club’s Connor Goodrich heading in.
“I e-mailed Chris [Roselle, GAP Tournament Director] and luckily I was able to slide in here,” Lafferty, 18, of Marlton, N.J., said. “As far as the award goes, I knew I had a pretty nice cushion. I wasn’t hitting it as well as I wanted, but I knew if I went out there and tried to grind out pars, I could hold on.”
That he did. Lafferty, who will attend the University of Delaware in the fall, carded a 75 to Goodrich’s 74 Monday to secure his first and final Harry Hammond Award. Coaching counsel continues to boost Lafferty’s game this summer. He finished as a semifinalist in the Junior Boys’ Championship and runner-up in last week’s Christman Cup.
“I feel like my ball-striking has really been my biggest asset, but then I met up with Mike Dynda and he helped me with my putting. That took me to a whole new level,” Lafferty, a recent Cherokee High School graduate, said. “I finally got those things combined to click together during the summer. I feel pretty confident right now with where I’m at. I’m sure I’ll be playing a lot of these kids in college, and it’s good to know that I can compete.”
Daniel Bastian earned bragging rights in his household with a victory in the tournament’s Junior-Junior Division. The Rolling Green Golf Club member, whose older brother Matthew is a regular on the Association’s Junior circuit, carded a 4 over 40 to prevail by a stroke.
“It feels pretty good. I won a tournament before my brother, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Daniel, 13, of Media, Pa., said.
Daniel trailed playing partner Billy Civitella of Aronimink Golf Club by two strokes entering the par 4, 300-yard 18th hole. He pulled ahead with a textbook par, slapping a sand wedge 90 yards to 20 feet and two putting. Civitella carded a double bogey to fall back.
NOTES — Play was delayed two hours due to lightning in the area … Jock MacKenzie served as Sandy Run Country Club’s head professional for more than three decades. The Memorial tournament, which originated in 1985, is named in his honor. It is open to Junior golfers — both male and female — from GAP Member Clubs. Sandy Run hosts the event each year.
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 150 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.
|Junior Boys’ Division|
|*Cole Berman, Philadelphia Cricket Club||69|
|Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club||69|
|Steve Cerbara, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||72|
|Cody Fitzpatrick, Commonwealth National Golf Club||73|
|Griffin Colvin, Concord Country Club||73|
|Liam Murphy, Hartefeld National||73|
|Peter Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club||73|
|Thomas Fisher, North Hills Country Club||73|
|Connor Goodrich, Merchantville Country Club||74|
|Daniel Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club||74|
|Drew Guarino, Old York CC at Chesterfield||74|
|Jack Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||74|
|Liam McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||74|
|Paul Mauer, Stonewall||74|
|Ryan Bowman, Aronimink Golf Club||74|
|Benjamin Kotler, Squires Golf Club||75|
|Blaine Lafferty, Burlington Country Club||75|
|Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||75|
|Jack Henderson, Gulph Mills Golf Club||75|
|John Barone, Glenmaura National Golf Club||75|
|Michael Burns, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club||75|
|Nicholas Cappetti, Burlington Country Club||75|
|Quinn Dolan, Rolling Green Golf Club||75|
|Trey Croney, Overbrook Golf Club||75|
|Brock Kovach, Berkshire Country Club||76|
|Davis Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club||76|
|Gary McCabe, Jr., RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve||76|
|Hugh Farris, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||76|
|Kevin Kramarski, Riverton Country Club||76|
|Matthew Cleary, Wilmington Country Club||76|
|Patrick Corcoran, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||76|
|Seamus Gibbons, Talamore Country Club||76|
|Brandon Raihl, Heidelberg Country Club||77|
|Andrew Kotler, Cherry Valley Country Club||78|
|Cole Swiger, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||78|
|David Gall, Riverton Country Club||78|
|Jacob Molnar, Talamore Country Club||78|
|Matthew Bastian, Jr., Rolling Green Golf Club||78|
|Nicolas McCook, Applecross Country Club||78|
|Phillip Held, Jr., Blue Bell Country Club||78|
|Brad Ebersole, The Ridge at Back Brook||79|
|Frankie Brigidi, Philadelphia Cricket Club||79|
|Mark Lunney, Jr., Sandy Run Country Club||79|
|Matthew Ade, Riverton Country Club||79|
|Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club||79|
|Nick Fizzano, Rolling Green Golf Club||79|
|Reid Worster, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||79|
|Ryan Cleary, Wilmington Country Club||79|
|Chris Binet, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||80|
|Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||80|
|Nolan Dirienzi, Rolling Green Golf Club||80|
|Jack St. Amour, Llanerch Country Club||81|
|R.J. Wren, Applecross Country Club||81|
|Chris Ferguson, North Hills Country Club||82|
|David Pontari, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||82|
|Max Harrington, Brookside C.C. of Allentown||82|
|Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||83|
|Francis McVeigh, III, Llanerch Country Club||83|
|Nat Gallen, Berkshire Country Club||83|
|Robert Olseski, Sandy Run Country Club||83|
|Sawyer Wolfers, GAP Junior eClub||83|
|Wills Montgomery, Whitford Country Club||83|
|John Hansel, Sandy Run Country Club||85|
|Michael Barychewsky, Spring Mill Country Club||86|
|Otis Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club||86|
|Archie Filshill, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club||87|
|Kyle Kost, Lookaway Golf Club||88|
|Ryan McHugh, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||88|
|Ryan Ledwith, Blue Bell Country Club||89|
|James Gavaghan, Sandy Run Country Club||90|
|Michael O’Neill, Overbrook Golf Club||90|
|Jeff St. Amour, Llanerch Country Club||91|
|Justin Hershey, Applebrook Golf Club||91|
|Michael Zeng, Applecross Country Club||91|
|Matthew McGettigan, Sandy Run Country Club||94|
|Christopher Dirienzi, Rolling Green Golf Club||96|
|Michael Bonacci, Jr., Sandy Run Country Club||96|
|Gavin Schmitt, Sandy Run Country Club||132|
|Jalen Griffin, Talamore Country Club||WD|
|Tom Hamilton, Merion Golf Club||WD|
|Junior Girls’ Division|
|Annika Vandayar, Penn Oaks Golf Club||80|
|Meghan Fahey, Overbrook Golf Club||83|
|Emily Gilbert, Brookside Country Club||85|
|Maggie Schoeller, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||88|
|Cassidy Gavaghan, Sandy Run Country Club||90|
|Georgia Naples, White Manor Country Club||90|
|Danielle Carr, Sandy Run Country Club||108|
|Cameron Fisher, Talamore Country Club||119|
|Junior-Junior Boys’ Division|
|Daniel Bastian, Rolling Green Golf Club||40|
|Billy Civitella, Aronimink Golf Club||41|
|Colman Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club||41|
|Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club||41|
|Kevin Civitella, Aronimink Golf Club||45|
|Frankie Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||46|
|Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||46|
|Jack Burton, Overbrook Golf Club||53|
|David Kratz, Flourtown Country Club||54|
|Matthew Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club||54|
|Andrew Curran, Overbrook Golf Club||NS|
|Junior-Junior Girls’ Division|
|Kathleen Mark, Rolling Green Golf Club||59|
|WD – withdrawal; NS – no show; * – won in playoff|