*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.
“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.”
|Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||71-69–140|
|Andy Achenbach, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve||75-66–141|
|Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club||69-73–142|
|Michael Hyland, Little Mill Country Club||69-73–142|
|Douglas Zelner, Coatesville Country Club||72-72–144|
|Ryan McCarty, Little Mill Country Club||69-75–144|
|Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club||72-73–145|
|John Brennan, Spring Ford Country Club||74-72–146|
|Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club||67-79–146|
|Michael Brown, Lookaway Golf Club||70-76–146|
|Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club||70-76–146|
|Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club||75-72–147|
|Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock Country Club||75-72–147|
|Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club||74-74–148|
|Stephen Seiden, Llanerch Country Club||76-72–148|
|Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club||77-72–149|
|Chris Hynoski, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||75-74–149|
|William McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club||72-78–150|
|Matthew Walsh, Overbrook Golf Club||73-77–150|
|David West, Whitford Country Club||74-76–150|
|Ray Pyontek, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||80-70–150|
|Louis Giovi, Old York CC at Chesterfield||72-78–150|
|Geoffrey Cooper, Laurel Creek Country Club||75-76–151|
|Kenneth Matt, Philadelphia Publinks GA||73-78–151|
|James Donnelly, Merion Golf Club||77-74–151|
|William Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club||74-77–151|
|Michael Moffat, Five Ponds Golf Club||78-73–151|
|Scott McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club||74-78–152|
|Kyle Davis, Fieldstone Golf Club||76-76–152|
|James Gillespie, Wedgwood Country Club||73-79–152|
|Sean Leonard, Tavistock Country Club||77-75–152|
|Robert Cunningham, Overbrook Golf Club||71-81–152|
|Dan Pickering, Indian Valley Country Club||76-77–153|
|Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club||78-75–153|
|Tom DiCinti, Links Golf Club||75-78–153|
|David Smith, Doylestown Country Club||74-79–153|
|Rodney James, Five Ponds Golf Club||77-76–153|
|Robert Good, Merion Golf Club||72-81–153|
|Joseph Russo, Running Deer Golf Club||76-77–153|
|Ryan Gelrod, Commonwealth National Golf Club||78-76–154|
|Anthony Martire, Seaview Resort & Spa||76-78–154|
|Tom Spano, Llanerch Country Club||78-76–154|
|Robert Bechtold, Loch Nairn Golf Club||76-78–154|
|Christopher Lange, Overbrook Golf Club||77-77–154|
|Michael LaGrasso, Little Mill Country Club||76-78–154|
|Tim Freeh, Back Creek Golf Club||78-76–154|
|Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club||75-80–155|
|Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club||79-77–156|
|Scott Klee, Indian Valley Country Club||76-80–156|
|Tom Borsello, White Clay Creek Country Club||77-79–156|
|Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club||77-79–156|
|Matthew Finger, Wedgwood Country Club||77-79–156|
|Jim Rattigan, Schuylkill Country Club||80-76–156|
|P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club||76-80–156|
|Brian Kenny, Greate Bay Country Club||76-81–157|
|Michael Rose, Meadowlands Country Club||78-80–158|
|Gregg Angelillo, Moselem Springs Golf Club||77-82–159|
|Lee Cook, Laurel Creek Country Club||78-81–159|
|Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club||78-81–159|
|Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club||76-84–160|
|Christopher Ault, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||79-81–160|
|Steven Budenz, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||80-80–160|
|Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club||77-83–160|
|Alan Lazzarino, Loch Nairn Golf Club||78-83–161|
|Lance Oberparleiter, Little Mill Country Club||80-81–161|
|John Murphy, II, Wildwood Golf & Country Club||80-83–163|
|Rich Pruchnik, West Chester Golf & Country Club||78-85–163|
|Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club||76-88–164|
|Gil Moniz, Jr., Running Deer Golf Club||79-86–165|
|Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club||79-87–166|
|Fred Jones, Merion Golf Club||76-91–167|
|Joe Frey, Edgmont Country Club||80-90–170|
|Michael Walker, Loch Nairn Golf Club||75-WD–WD|
|Craig Scott, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||78-WD–WD|