May 27, 2010

Sensational surge propels Tavistock’s Gramigna to Middle-Amateur title

  PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa.–Tom Gramigna ended two decades of championship frustration in grand fashion on Thursday at Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill Course (par 72, 7,102 yards). Gramigna, 40, of Tavistock CC, carded five back-nine birdies for a spectacular final-round 67 and a one-shot victory in the 27th Middle-Amateur Championship, the first GAP Major of the season. Gramigna finished at an improbable 7-under par for the two days.

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President Rich Meehan (left) presents Bill Jeremiah
of Bidermann GC with the second-place crystal.

 Bill Jeremiah of Bidermann GC bogeyed No. 18 (par 4, 428 yards) to finish a stroke back. Cricket’s own Rob Savarese, Jr. and first-round leader Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC tied for third with a 142 total. Defending champion Michael Brown tied for seventh at 143.

  “I wasn’t sure I was ever going to win one of these things,” said Gramigna, a Haddonfield, N.J. resident. “It feels real good to finally win one of these in Philadelphia. It’s been a long drought.” Gramigna, who has won four Major New Jersey State Golf Association titles, has been a fixture on the Golf Association of Philadelphia circuit since he was “16 or 17.”

  Playing in the next to last group of the day, Gramigna was still a title winning long shot despite posting a level-par 36 on the front side. That’s because Jeremiah, playing in the last group, carded four birdies on his opening nine holes and was well in command at 8-under par. Lutz stood in second at 6 under. Savarese was next at 3 under.

  Gramigna, however, gave himself a mini-pep talk on the No. 10 tee.

  “It was funny. I’ve probably said to myself 50 times in tournaments, ‘You are kind of out it, you are kind of far back, but if you shoot 31 or have this great back nine you can be back in it,’ ” said Gramigna. “Usually I shoot 40 and I’m way out of it. This is the first time it’s happened, so it’s a nice surprise.” He posted an astounding inward 31.

  On No. 10 (par 4, 428 yards), Gramigna started his improbable surge when he knocked a pitching wedge from 125 yards to 25 feet and made the birdie chance. Two holes later, on No. 12 (par 4, 395 yards), he stopped a sand wedge from 102 yards at 15 feet for birdie. Next, he laced a 6-iron from 187 yards on his second shot to 30 feet left of the hole on the shortish par 5, 14th (528 yards) and two-putted for another under-par score. A relentless Gramigna continued the birdie barrage on No. 16 (par 4, 393 yards) when he hammered a driver and then stopped his 60-yard lob wedge three feet from the hole. At the same time as Gramigna pushed, Jeremiah started to teeter just a bit. When he carded a fifth and final birdie on No. 17 (par 5, 559 yards) after getting up-and-down from the right greenside bunker, Gramigna officially seized the lead. At the same time, Jeremiah recorded a three putt on No. 16 from 25 feet for a bogey. Lutz and the others had fallen back. Gramigna would complete his fantastic finish with a par on the last (par 4, 428 yards) to post the day’s lone round in the 60s.

  “I [had] two feet [for par on the final hole] and I asked Brian [Gillespie] if I could putt out,” said Gramigna. “I told him I don’t think I could take it anymore.”

  Jeremiah, however, refused to quit and still had holes to play.

  The 41-year-old from Spring Grove, Pa. showed great resolve on No. 17 when he made an unlikely birdie from 25 feet after his approach stopped short of the hole. On No. 18, knowing he needed a par to force a playoff, Jeremiah pumped a drive down the middle but watched his 6-iron from 199 yards land just short of the green surface. Deciding to chip it from about five yards off the green instead of putting it – he did have two birdie chip ins yesterday – Jeremiah’s try took off after reaching the hole and stopped 18 feet past. His par chance never threatened.

  “I was pretty much relaxed the entire day, until the 15th tee, when I got a little nervous,” said Jeremiah. “After I bogeyed 16 I said to myself ‘Get back to what you were doing.’ I hit a lot of good shots this week. It was a lot of fun.”

NameClubRd. 1Rd. 2Total
Thomas GramignaTavistock Country Club7067137
William JeremiahBidermann Golf Club6870138
Chip LutzLedgeRock Golf Club6775142
Robert Savarese, Jr.Philadelphia Cricket Club6973142
Thomas HylandLittle Mill Country Club7271143
Glenn SmeraglioMercer Oaks Golf Course7273145
John BrennanSpring Ford Country Club7571146
Christopher LangeOverbrook Golf Club7373146
Michael BrownLookaway Golf Club7175146
Robin McCoolSaucon Valley Country Club7176147
Ed ChylinskiChester Valley Golf Club7572147
Thomas E. Timby, Jr.The Bucks Club7374147
Alexander Maguire, Jr.Brookside Country Club7473147
Tom BorselloWhite Clay Creek Country Club7375148
Matthew FingerWedgwood Country Club7573148
Jeff OsbergLlanerch Country Club7375148
Kevin KellyPhiladelphia Cricket Club7573148
Scott McLaughlinCommonwealth National Golf Club7573148
Rich PruchnikWest Chester Golf & Country Club7277149
Douglas ZelnerCoatesville Country Club7278150
Andy AchenbachRiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve7377150
James DonnellyMerion Golf Club7675151
Brian GillespieSt. Davids Golf Club7180151
William McGuinnessTavistock Country Club7378151
John AloisioGreate Bay Country Club7576151
Roc IreyLookaway Golf Club7576151
Daniel Pinciotti, Jr.Huntingdon Valley Country Club7775152
Matthew GaffneyLittle Mill Country Club7676152
Chris EsbenshadeBent Creek Country Club7775152
Francis McFaddenOverbrook Golf Club7874152
Bill MurrayMerchantville Country Club7776153
Stephen SeidenConcord Country Club7875153
Marc MandelWhite Manor Country Club7380153
G. Patrick DoughertyPhiladelphia Cricket Club7677153
David LiottaWhitemarsh Valley Country Club7974153
Sean LeonardTavistock Country Club7677153
Brian CorbettHuntsville Golf Club7876154
George Connell, Jr.Gulph Mills Golf Club7579154
Scott KleeIndian Valley Country Club7876154
Douglas GregorHuntingdon Valley Country Club7579154
Michael RogersOverbrook Golf Club7480154
Peter Barron, IIIStone Harbor Golf Club7381154
Louis GioviMercer Oaks Golf Course7876154
David LivermoreGreate Bay Country Club7975154
Mark PetersonPhiladelphia Cricket Club7580155
Roger StoneDowningtown Country Club7976155
Buddy ReedBack Creek Golf Club7580155
David WestWhitford Country Club7877155
Oscar MestreOverbrook Golf Club7976155
Thomas Bartolacci, Jr.Saucon Valley Country Club7976155
Chris KallmeyerPhiladelphia Cricket Club7976155
Rand MendezFieldstone Golf Club7680156
Christopher StorckMoselem Springs Golf Club7680156
Tom CarterGreate Bay Country Club7977156
Rodney JamesFive Ponds Golf Club7383156
Michael LaGrassoLittle Mill Country Club7482156
Ryan GelrodCommonwealth National Golf Club7681157
David ShieldsPhiladelphia Publinks GA7879157
Tom DiCintiLinks Golf Club7880158
Joe ViechnickiSaucon Valley Country Club7979158
Gerry BaldachinoOld York CC at Chesterfield7682158
Robert HarringtonMerion Golf Club7980159
Robert GillFox Hill Country Club7881159
William LawlerFox Hill Country Club7981160
Frank PolizziWhitemarsh Valley Country Club7882160
Gary DanielsSaucon Valley Country Club7982161
Joseph RussoRunning Deer Golf Club7883161
Neil GordonFive Ponds Golf Club7983162
P. Chet WalshPhiladelphia Country Club7587162
Ron WeaverMeadia Heights Golf Club7983162
Jim GavaghanJericho National Golf Club7986165
Tim SindorfBurlington Country Club7986165
Gary DanielsAronimink Golf Club77WDWD
Sean CoyleLlanerch Country Club78WDWD
John SimonePhilmont Country Club78WDWD
 
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