Smeraglio surges to victory in 28th Middle-Amateur Championship - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 26, 2011

Smeraglio surges to victory in 28th Middle-Amateur Championship

*Scorecards | *History | *Player of the Year standings | *Event photos | *2011 Middle-Amateur Media Guide | *Day One recap

  MT. LAUREL, N.J.–It’s been a decade of heartbreaks for Glenn Smeraglio when it comes to the Mid-Am. Eight times in the prior 10 years he’s finished in the Top 11 with no victories, including a second-place showing in 2002. On Thursday at a challenging Laurel Creek CC (par 71, 6,704 yards), Smeraglio made certain this year’s Middle-Amateur Championship wouldn’t get away. The 51-year-old Newtown, Pa. resident played his last 10 holes in 4-under par to surge past the Day 1 leaders, post a final-round 69 and clinch his first, and long awaited, Middle-Amateur title. He finished at 2-under (140 total). Andy Achenbach of RiverCrest GC & Preserve posted a spectacular final-round 66, the tournament’s low score, to finish a stroke back in second. Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC and Michael Hyland of Little Mill CC tied for third at even par. Defending Mid-Am Champion Tom Gramigna of Tavistock CC tied for 12th place.

Bob Morey (left), Championship Committee
Chair, with Glenn Smeraglio.
Rich Meehan (left), the GAP
President, with Andy Achenbach

“I’m very excited. I finally got a Mid-Am. It’s been a long time,” said Smeraglio. “I’ve been near the lead pack a bunch of years in row and never got the job done. Someone’s always done better. It was my turn today.”

  Smeraglio cited a par save on No. 8 (par 4, 366 yards) as the genesis for his dramatic late-round push. His 122-yard wedge shot bounced long and to the back of the green complex, leaving a difficult 50-foot birdie chance. His first putt stopped 10-feet short, but Smeraglio converted the ensuing par save to get things going.

  “[My approach] went all the way to the back of the green. I’d been struggling with my longer putts all day, the last two days actually. I putted it and again left it 10 feet short. [My playing partner] Lou Giovi made a great putt [on my line] that didn’t go in. Mine trickled in and I thought at that point maybe something can happen. I hit it close on No. 9 for an eagle [try] and missed it but I hit a good putt. I birdied No. 10 and that was the start of good things. It was more on the eighth than the 10th hole that started [the momentum].”

  Smeraglio, who works in financial planning, trailed leaders Hyland and Ryan McCarty, also a Little Mill CC member, by three strokes at that point (They were 3 under). First-round leader Brian Gillespie had slipped out of contention and only a handful of the 74 competitors who made the Round 2 cut were still in the hunt. However, as the wind kept steady and the pressure of a Major championship reared its head, Smeraglio was just getting started. He went on a birdie bonanza on holes 13-15 to, in essence, seal his fate. On No. 13 (par 4, 397 yards) he punched a 7-iron from 152 yards to six feet. He followed that with another punch 7-iron on No. 14 (par 3, 165 yards) that, too, stopped a short distance away. On No. 15 (par 5, 521 yards), after almost losing his drive in the rough, Smeraglio found his ball, regained his composure and lifted a third shot, a sand wedge from 88 yards, to eight feet.

  Three holes, three birdies and, at that point, the outright lead. Hyland stood at even par and McCarty was at 1 under.

  “I was making quality shots and hitting quality putts,” said Smeraglio.

  Two brilliant up-and-downs on the treacherous 16th (par 4, 428 yards) and 17th (par 3, 219 yards), one from 60 feet and the other from 50 feet, respectively, kept his train going. He made clutch mid-range putts on both holes.

  By this point, only Lutz, a two-time Mid-Am champion himself, remained close at 1-under par. He was two groups behind Smeraglio.

  On No. 18 (par 4, 440 yards), Smeraglio parted the fairway but watched his 9-iron bounce long and 50 feet away from a difficult front hole location. He would three putt after leaving his first try 15 feet short.

  Lutz converted a fantastic 10-foot par save on No. 17 to stay at 1 under but pulled his drive slightly on the last hole and missed the green left with his approach. His 40-foot chip, which he needed to force a playoff, rolled past the hole, securing a Smeraglio title.

  This was Smeraglio’s third Major win. He won the 1998 and 2008 Patterson Cup and is a three-time Silver Cross winner.

  “To win another Major is big for me,” said Smeraglio. “For an old guy it’s not too bad. I like to compete and still think I can compete with everyone. I held my own this week. It’s good to get a W.”

  Achenbach, 38, of Royersford, Pa. almost pulled the ultimate sneak attack.

  Teeing off an hour and a half before the final group, he eagled No. 5 (par 5, 505 yards) with a 5-iron from 215 yards to four feet; birdied No. 6 (par 4, 437 yards) with a wedge from 140 yards that stopped 12 feet from the cup and birdied No. 7 (par 3, 189 yards) with a 6-iron that ended 15 feet away. He would add a birdie on No. 9 (par 5, 553 yards), two putting from 40 feet, to make the turn at 5 under for the day and 1 under for the tournament. A poor approach on No. 13 (par 4, 397 yards) resulted in a bogey but birdies on Nos. 14 (par 3, 165 yards) and 15 (par 5, 521 yards) made him a strong contender for his first Major victory.

  The final three holes are as tough as any around, and for Achenbach, a teacher at Radnor Middle School, it was No. 17 that dragged him down. He pulled his tee shot left, after hitting it right and into the hazard yesterday. He made bogey.

  “I can’t complain about anything today. I got lucky a lot of times finding my ball,” said Achenbach, who hit five provisionals on the day and didn’t use one of them. “Obviously with the way I hit it and how little I’ve played this year I can’t complain about a thing. I wish I was one or two better, though.”

Name, clubScores
Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course71-69–140
Andy Achenbach, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve75-66–141
Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club69-73–142
Michael Hyland, Little Mill Country Club69-73–142
Douglas Zelner, Coatesville Country Club72-72–144
Ryan McCarty, Little Mill Country Club69-75–144
Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club72-73–145
John Brennan, Spring Ford Country Club74-72–146
Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club67-79–146
Michael Brown, Lookaway Golf Club70-76–146
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club70-76–146
Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club75-72–147
Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock Country Club75-72–147
Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club74-74–148
Stephen Seiden, Llanerch Country Club76-72–148
Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club77-72–149
Chris Hynoski, Mercer Oaks Golf Course75-74–149
William McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club72-78–150
Matthew Walsh, Overbrook Golf Club73-77–150
David West, Whitford Country Club74-76–150
Ray Pyontek, Mercer Oaks Golf Course80-70–150
Louis Giovi, Old York CC at Chesterfield72-78–150
Geoffrey Cooper, Laurel Creek Country Club75-76–151
Kenneth Matt, Philadelphia Publinks GA73-78–151
James Donnelly, Merion Golf Club77-74–151
William Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club74-77–151
Michael Moffat, Five Ponds Golf Club78-73–151
Scott McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club74-78–152
Kyle Davis, Fieldstone Golf Club76-76–152
James Gillespie, Wedgwood Country Club73-79–152
Sean Leonard, Tavistock Country Club77-75–152
Robert Cunningham, Overbrook Golf Club71-81–152
Dan Pickering, Indian Valley Country Club76-77–153
Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club78-75–153
Tom DiCinti, Links Golf Club75-78–153
David Smith, Doylestown Country Club74-79–153
Rodney James, Five Ponds Golf Club77-76–153
Robert Good, Merion Golf Club72-81–153
Joseph Russo, Running Deer Golf Club76-77–153
Ryan Gelrod, Commonwealth National Golf Club78-76–154
Anthony Martire, Seaview Resort & Spa76-78–154
Tom Spano, Llanerch Country Club78-76–154
Robert Bechtold, Loch Nairn Golf Club76-78–154
Christopher Lange, Overbrook Golf Club77-77–154
Michael LaGrasso, Little Mill Country Club76-78–154
Tim Freeh, Back Creek Golf Club78-76–154
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club75-80–155
Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club79-77–156
Scott Klee, Indian Valley Country Club76-80–156
Tom Borsello, White Clay Creek Country Club77-79–156
Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club77-79–156
Matthew Finger, Wedgwood Country Club77-79–156
Jim Rattigan, Schuylkill Country Club80-76–156
P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club76-80–156
Brian Kenny, Greate Bay Country Club76-81–157
Michael Rose, Meadowlands Country Club78-80–158
Gregg Angelillo, Moselem Springs Golf Club77-82–159
Lee Cook, Laurel Creek Country Club78-81–159
Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club78-81–159
Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club76-84–160
Christopher Ault, Mercer Oaks Golf Course79-81–160
Steven Budenz, Mercer Oaks Golf Course80-80–160
Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club77-83–160
Alan Lazzarino, Loch Nairn Golf Club78-83–161
Lance Oberparleiter, Little Mill Country Club80-81–161
John Murphy, II, Wildwood Golf & Country Club80-83–163
Rich Pruchnik, West Chester Golf & Country Club78-85–163
Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club76-88–164
Gil Moniz, Jr., Running Deer Golf Club79-86–165
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club79-87–166
Fred Jones, Merion Golf Club76-91–167
Joe Frey, Edgmont Country Club80-90–170
Michael Walker, Loch Nairn Golf Club75-WD–WD
Craig Scott, Huntingdon Valley Country Club78-WD–WD

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