AMBLER, Pa. — Medalist honors followed by a pleasant dinner among family. Michael Fireman certainly celebrated his 51st birthday in style Thursday.
Playing on his home course of 20-plus years, Fireman carded a 2-under-par 69 to top a Golf Association of Philadelphia Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier presented by Callaway Golf at Talamore Country Club (par 71, 6,162 yards). He led a field of 99 players hoping to earn one of 21 qualifying spots and ties for the Championship proper, set for May 23-24 at Llanerch Country Club.
The cut line stopped at 78 by day’s end.
“When I woke up, my son Nathan asked me, ‘What do you want for your birthday?’ I said, ‘Three birdies,’” Fireman, of Ambler, Pa., said. “That was my wish. Three birdies are good because I know there are a lot of double bogeys out here. I didn’t make any of those.”
No double bogeys, and not three but five birdies on the day for Fireman. His pitching wedge set-up conversions of six and 12 feet, respectively, on Nos. 2 (par 4, 344 yards) and 5 (par 5, 541 yards). Fireman fired back-to-back birdies on Nos. 9 (par 4, 301 yards) and 10 (par 4, 382 yards). His “best shot of the day” — a gap wedge from 80 yards — led to a three-footer on the first. On No. 10, he hit an 8-iron 140 yards to the back edge of the green and drained a 15-footer. Following a solid drive on the par 4, 307-yard 17th hole, Fireman bunted a gap wedge 80 yards to seven feet for his fifth birthday birdie.
Only three bogeys diluted Fireman’s scorecard Thursday. Deem an awkward stance in the left fairway bunker on No. 1 (par 4, 403 yards) as the culprit there. Fireman spun a pitching wedge off the No. 6 (par 4, 366 yards) green and missed a four-footer for par. He flew the 14th green (par 3, 157 yards) with a 5-iron and failed to get up-and-down.
Familiarity with his surroundings allowed Fireman, a five-time (2002, 2012-14, 2017) men’s champion at Talamore, to avoid major catastrophe.
“Home course knowledge is a big advantage here. I know where to miss it, and I miss it a lot,” he said.
With it being his birthday, one may assume that good vibes flowed from the beginning. That wasn’t the case, but fortunately for Fireman, home course knowledge came to the rescue.
“I’ve hit it awful the last two days. I was chunking it on the driving range this morning,” Fireman said. “I woke up all wrong. But I know that a bad warm-up can sometimes be a really good round. I’ve had that experience here before, so I wasn’t worried about it. I was frustrated and I wasn’t feeling it, but I found a couple of things and hit it well.”
Fireman’s only played in less than a handful of Middle-Amateur Championships. A performance of note came in 1998, when he tied for third at Talamore.
It’s a clean slate come Llanerch.
“I’ve never played Llanerch. I have no expectations,” Fireman, who is self-employed in the paper recycling business, said.
The next Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier presented by Callaway Golf will take place Tuesday, May 1 at Moselem Springs Golf Club.
The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Middle-Amateur Championship started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Amateur as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.
The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Middle-Amateur was for players 30 years of age and older.
The Association’s Executive Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. The field begins with 132 players.
Callaway Golf was founded in 1982 by the late Ely Callaway, a visionary entrepreneur who operated under a simple but profound business promise: Deliver Demonstrably Superior, Pleasingly Different products and services. That philosophy turned what was originally a boutique manufacturer of high-quality wedges and putters into the world’s largest maker of premium, performance golf products. The Callaway mission and vision has remained the same; we passionately pursue advanced, innovative technologies that help golfers of all abilities find more enjoyment from the game. Under the Callaway and Odyssey brands, Callaway manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf apparel, footwear and accessories in more than 110 countries worldwide.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 200 Full Member Clubs and 70,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. 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.
|Michael Fireman, Talamore Country Club||69|
|Mike Korcuba, Medford Village Country Club||71|
|Brian Davis, DuPont Country Club||73|
|Philip Mortell, III, Honeybrook Golf Club||73|
|Ashley Brasfield, Rolling Green Golf Club||75|
|Mark Czerniakowski, Lu Lu Country Club||75|
|Scott Ehrlich, White Manor Country Club||75|
|Ari Flaisher, McCall Golf & Country Club||75|
|Keith Matt, Talamore Country Club||75|
|Tom Grady, Radley Run Country Club||76|
|Will Holt, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||76|
|Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club||76|
|Chris Wagner, Bluestone Country Club||76|
|P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club||76|
|Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club||77|
|Daniel Charen, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||77|
|Jason Kowalski, Downingtown Country Club||77|
|John Murphy, II, Stone Harbor Golf Club||77|
|John Samaha, Old York Road Country Club||77|
|Luis Diaz, Rancocas Golf Club||78|
|Alex Hargaden, Woodcrest Country Club||78|
|Edward Kelly, Jr., Old York Road Country Club||78|
|Daniel Rexon, Tavistock Country Club||78|
|Daniel Wu, Blue Bell Country Club||78|
|Failed to qualify|
|Gregory DaPron, Hartefeld National||79|
|Joseph Dulka, Bellewood Country Club||79|
|Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club||79|
|Kevin Koch, Spring Ford Country Club||79|
|Nicholas Anderson, White Manor Country Club||80|
|Kyle Ginty, Talamore Country Club||80|
|Patrick Knott, Merion Golf Club||81|
|Steve Lubin, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||81|
|Johan van Schalkwyk, Tavistock Country Club||81|
|C.J. Bell, McCall Golf & Country Club||82|
|Brendan Borst, Philadelphia Cricket Club||82|
|Donald Burgess, Lancaster Country Club||82|
|Matthew Ciarmella, Hartefeld National||82|
|Nick Madden, Lu Lu Country Club||82|
|Billy Reube, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||82|
|Bradley Roberts, Little Mill Country Club||82|
|Peter Sharkey, Jr., Philadelphia Country Club||82|
|Brad Sokol, Green Valley Country Club||82|
|Chip Studer, North Hills Country Club||82|
|Alex Bilinski, Hershey’s Mill Golf Club||83|
|Richard Hendrickson, Aronimink Golf Club||83|
|Steve Mroozian, Philmont Country Club||83|
|John Mullins, Bellewood Country Club||83|
|Jeff Nocella, Bala Golf Club||83|
|Marc Pellicane, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||83|
|Gary Schoeman, Gulph Mills Golf Club||83|
|Matt Brainard, Loch Nairn Golf Club||84|
|Conner Charlebois, Bala Golf Club||84|
|Ed McCusker, Five Ponds Golf Club||84|
|Ryan Rigby, Doylestown Country Club||84|
|Mark Agnew, Hartefeld National||85|
|Patrick Hennigan, Tavistock Country Club||85|
|William Keane, Jr., Philadelphia Country Club||85|
|Kenneth Matt, Talamore Country Club||85|
|Angus Catterson, Llanerch Country Club||86|
|Michael Decker, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||86|
|Kevin Delaney, Stonewall||86|
|Mark Fuessinger, Llanerch Country Club||86|
|Bennett Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club||86|
|Eric Palumbo, Rolling Green Golf Club||86|
|Justin Schorr, Talamore Country Club||86|
|Sean Torpey, Commonwealth National Golf Club||86|
|Christopher Ahlgrim, White Manor Country Club||87|
|Todd Baron, Philadelphia Publinks GA||87|
|Tom Coyne, Waynesborough Country Club||87|
|Greg Dymek, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||87|
|Matthew Hilbush, Commonwealth National Golf Club||88|
|Michael Johnson, Lu Lu Country Club||88|
|Nick Ostash, The Bucks Club||88|
|Jh Park, Blue Bell Country Club||88|
|Rob Cook, DuPont Country Club||89|
|Mike Kidd, Wedgwood Country Club||89|
|Chuck Lynch, Jr., Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||89|
|Jack Glacken, Bala Golf Club||90|
|Brett Wallace, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||90|
|Kevin Dougher, Philadelphia Cricket Club||91|
|Thomas Maguire, Makefield Highlands Golf Club||91|
|Andrew Wong, Talamore Country Club||91|
|Tom Corcimiglia, Applebrook Golf Club||92|
|Brendan McNamara, The ACE Club||93|
|Ed Moyer, Talamore Country Club||93|
|John O’Donnell, White Manor Country Club||93|
|Jeffrey Angelucci, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale||95|
|John VanDame, Jr., Talamore Country Club||95|
|R. John Burnes, Philadelphia Cricket Club||97|
|Kyle Dolby, Waynesborough Country Club||98|
|Regan Papariello, St. Davids Golf Club||98|
|Patrick Phillips, Spring Ford Country Club||100|
|Michael Axelrod, Bluestone Country Club||NS|
|Noam Roizman, Bluestone Country Club||NS|
|Edward Benatti, Hartefeld National||WD|
|Michael Maxwell, Sakima Country Club||WD|
|Duane Pinnock, Philadelphia Publinks GA||WD|
|Alan Wagenschnur, Loch Nairn Golf Club||WD|
|NS — no show; WD — withdrawal|
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