Philly Cricket’s Berman bests Conners in playoff for Jock MacKenzie - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 14, 2014

Philly Cricket’s Berman bests Conners in playoff for Jock MacKenzie

*Photo gallery
*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
Name, club Scores
*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
Name, club Scores
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
Name, club Scores
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
Name, club Scores
Kathleen Mark, Rolling Green Golf Club 59
WD – withdrawal; NS – no show; * – won in playoff

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