U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifying: Whitford - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Aug 14, 2023

U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifying: Whitford

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Butler’s cabin: HVCC standout stars at Whitford

EXTON, Pa. — As he signed for a 7-under-par 65 Monday, an elated Andy Butler cracked a smile reminiscent of Timothy Olyphant’s on the television series “Justified” (Uncle Google to the rescue for the uninitiated).

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“Long time coming,” the Huntingdon Valley Country Club member said.

Butler (pictured above, middle) finally booked his first national championship ticket. He earned medalist honors in U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifying administered by GAP at Whitford Country Club (par 72, 6,774 yards).

LedgeRock Golf Club’s Josh Anderson and LuLu Country Club’s Jon Rusk also advanced in regulation. Green Pond Country Club’s Scott Kalamar and Whitford’s own Owen Mulhern both birdied No. 1 (par 4, 409 yards), the first playoff hole, to emerge from a 5-for-2 sudden-death playoff.

The 42nd U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will take place Sept. 9-14 at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y.

“I’ve been an alternate a few times [in USGA events]. I lost a 2-for-1 playoff to qualify for the U.S. Amateur [in 2021]. I’ve had a lot of close calls, so it feels good to finally make a USGA event,” Butler, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “It was a big goal I had coming into the season. It felt good to be the guy who played really, really well.”

“It was a big goal I had coming into the season. It felt good to be the guy who played really, really well.”

Andy Butler

Ironic since a butler is typically a guy who helps the guy. Not today.

Butler carded nine birdies against two bogeys on the day. Starting on the back nine, he logged back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 (par 4, 339 yards) and 12 (par 5, 500 yards) to leap up the leaderboard immediately. Behind a tree on the former, he hooked a wedge 120 yards to seven feet. His 10-footer on No. 12 caught the lip and dripped in. A wedge from 56 yards set up the red-figure opportunity. Butler called a five-foot eagle chance on No. 16 (par 5, 559 yards) “a casual two putt” that rewarded a 3-hybrid from 237 yards. On No. 17 (par 3, 174 yards), Butler gleaned a read from playing partner George Tamasi and sunk a speedy 15-footer for birdie.

Butler moved to 5 under following a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 409 yards), where he hit a pitching wedge 130 yards to 12 feet. Aware of his leaderboard position, smart golf became Butler’s strategy. He walked away from No. 4 (par 5, 570 yards) with a birdie after knocking a 50-degree wedge 115 yards to 15 feet left of the hole location.

“I was trying to make a par at that point. I know that hole can be a little wonky if you’re not careful,” Butler said.

Although he did exercise caution, Butler somehow etched a birdie-bogey-birdie finish. He dropped a test downhiller on No. 7 (par 4, 378 yards) after knocking a pitching wedge135 yards to 15 feet. Partial credit to another Tamasi read. Butler found the front of a divot on No. 8 (par 4, 397 yards), the most difficult hole on this day, and squirreled a 9-iron from 154 yards. On No. 9 (par 5, 540 yards) with 5 in mind, Butler instead drilled a wedge from 100 yards to 20 feet below the flagstick. His speed management once again took centerstage. Butler’s birdie putt, like a hawk perching in a tree nearby, eyed the cup from start to finish.

“The putter’s back. I was struggling with the speed, missing putts I shouldn’t miss the last couple of tournaments,” Butler, the reigning Pennsylvania Golf Association Mid-Amateur Champion, said. “When I played in the Patterson Cup [last week at Llanerch Country Club], I hit it pretty well. I just couldn’t make anything. I got the speed more dialed and found something with the stroke, getting less handsy and more body. Sometimes you get lucky with making that many putts.” Butler tied for 16th in the aforementioned Patterson Cup.

Now Butler will make his USGA debut at a place he cherishes. A decade ago, he represented the Pennsylvania Golf Association in the Williamson Cup, a Junior golf competition, at Sleepy Hollow.

“It’s one of my favorite courses. It’s a pretty cool property,” Butler said. “I went to a wedding there actually for one of my Villanova [University men’s golf] teammates (Ted Brennan). Good vibes absolutely.”

Of note, Brennan medaled in Junior Boys’ Championship Qualifying at Whitford in 2010. As if the cosmos intervened Monday.

“No kidding. You should put that in your story,” Butler said.

Anderson dipped his quill pen for the third chapter of his U.S. Mid-Amateur (2011, 2015) memoirs Monday. He birdied three of his final four holes to post a 4-under-par 68.

Scott Kalamar birdies No. 1, the first playoff hole, to advance.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Anderson, 43, of Morgantown, Pa., said. “Yesterday I wanted to play to warm up, and [my son] didn’t want to play, so we went bowling instead. I did manage to hit golf balls for 30 minutes. Guess that’s all I needed.”

On No. 6 (par 4, 399 yards), Anderson watched his gap wedge from 120 yards roll off the downslope and stop three feet from the hole. He smacked a sand wedge 110 yards to four feet on No. 7. Needing separation from a logjam, Anderson added another four-footer for birdie on No. 9 after spinning a sand wedge from 90 yards.

“Relatively stress-free coming in I guess,” Anderson, who works as a reimbursement director for the Ohio Health Care Association, said. “I haven’t played in a lot of [competitive events] this year. I have two kids, 6 (Margot), and 5 (Dean), so we went on a week’s vacation that kept me from qualifying. The schedule hasn’t worked out like everything is right now.”

How about Mulhern, the hero who made good on home-course advantage? With a “touchy” yardage of 80 on No. 1 in the playoff, he nipped a wedge to 10 feet below the flagstick. A fist pump followed the moment Mulhern’s birdie tumbled over the left edge.

“Oh my God. Being at Whitford with [my son] Keller on the bag, are you kidding me? This is what amateur golf dreams are made of,” Mulhern, 46, of Exton, Pa., said. “I’ve been working really hard preparing for today. I knew it was here and wanted to represent my friends and the club. To make birdie in a playoff to get in … it’s out of this world.”

The U.S. Mid-Amateur will mark Mulhern’s USGA debut.

“It’s pretty special. This is a big deal for me,” Mulhern said. “Keller read the greens all day today and had me dialed. It was a team effort for the Mulhern boys.”

Rusk, 44, of Yardley, Pa., is LuLu’s general manager. He reached the semifinals in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship a year ago. Kalamar, 32, of Bethlehem, Pa., is a former professional who spent two years (2018-19) on the World Long Drive tour. He regained his amateur status in the spring of 2022.

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, 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 organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, city, stateScore
Andy Butler, Philadelphia, Pa.65
Josh Anderson, Morgantown, Pa.68
Jon Rusk, Yardley, Pa.68
*Scott Kalamar, Bethlehem, Pa.69
*Owen Mulhern, Exton, Pa.69
Alternates (in order)
*John Barone, Dunmore, Pa.69
*Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa.69
Failed to qualify
*Andrew Mason, Conshohocken, Pa.69
Gregor Orlando, Haverford, Pa.70
David Long, Catonsville, Md.70
Tim Johnson, Skaneateles, N.Y.71
Matthew Mattare, Jersey City, N.J.71
Justin Spaeth, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.71
Samuel Sikes, Jupiter, Fla.71
Peter Barron, III, Mays Landing, N.J.72
Michael Koeneke, New York City, N.Y.72
Jack Melville, Maple Glen, Pa.72
Brad McFadden, Bryn Mawr, Pa.72
Benjamin Feld, West Chester, Pa.72
Mark Mumford, Manhattan, N.Y.72
Jamie Slonis, Sewell, N.J.72
Wills Reardon, New York, N.Y.73
Erik Ragusa, Malvern, Pa.73
Scott Ehrlich, Berwyn, Pa.73
Jared Tendler, Yardley, Pa.73
P.J. Acierno, Flourtown, Pa.73
Sean Semenetz, Ambler, Pa.73
Brandon Capone, Columbus, N.J.73
Andrew Flaskerud, Charlotte, N.C.74
Matt Graeff, Blue Bell, Pa.74
Stephen Barry, Mullica Hill, N.J.74
Matt Weist, Downingtown, Pa.74
Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa.74
Scott McNeil, Springfield, Pa.74
Andrew Keeling, Coatesville, Pa.74
Stewart Rickenbach, Doylestown, Pa.74
Marc Mandel, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.75
Bruce Cowgill, Malvern, Pa.75
Greg Howson, Malvern, Pa.75
Michael Carr, East Norriton, Pa.75
Neil Gordon, Warrington, Pa.75
Carter Field, Fort Washington, Pa.75
Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.76
Joe April, Berwyn, Pa.76
Kyle Hess, Northport, N.Y.76
Alex Nielan, Jersey City, N.J.76
Brandon Roche, Medford, N.J.76
Harris Podvey, West Caldwell, N.J.76
Jack Hirsh, Philadelphia, Pa.76
Kyle Pritchard, Whitehall, Pa.76
Robert Spellman, Riegelsville, Pa.76
Dan Bernard, Philadelphia, Pa.77
Christopher Kawczynski, Cherry Hill, N.J.77
Steve Pallini, Downingtown, Pa.77
Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Delaware77
Ryan Gelrod, Flourtown, Pa.77
Erik Reisner, Philadelphia, Pa.77
Daniel Rudershausen, Kennett Square, Pa.77
Matthew Crescenzo, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.77
Jonathan Koonin, Tenafly, N.J.77
Ryan Burrill, Newington, Conn.77
Max Muller, Fort Washington, Pa.77
Tom Spano, Bryn Mawr, Pa.77
Michael Zupi, Conshohocken, Pa.77
Stephen Seiden, Newtown Square, Pa.77
Charles Meadows, Phoenixville, Pa.77
Ryan Gracey, Hockessin, Del.77
Ben Morris, New York, N.Y.77
Kyle Wambold, Allentown, Pa.77
John DiGiacomo, Lebanon, Pa.77
Ryan Pace, Exton, Pa.77
Kyle Simpson, Philadelphia, Pa.77
Bobby Moriarty, Summit, N.J.78
Christopher Ault, Yardley, Pa.78
Bill Jeremiah, Glen Mills, Pa.78
Kevin Cahill, Wayne, Pa.78
Alexander Kim, Conshohocken, Pa.78
Robert Cunningham, Ocean City, N.J.78
Thomas Stewart, Flourtown, Pa.78
Matthew Grossman, Bryn Mawr, Pa.78
Nick Ostash, Horsham, Pa.78
Christopher Pitts, West Deptford, N.J.78
Darren Taillie, Cinnaminson, N.J.79
Dustin Zhang, Brooklyn, N.Y.79
Matthew Kocent, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.79
Billy Reube, Lansdale, Pa.79
Andrew Jaskel, Bensalem, Pa.79
Dave Liotta, Broomall, Pa.79
John Simone, Ambler, Pa.79
Tyler Joseph, Philadelphia, Pa.80
Conrad Von Borsig, Fort Washington, Pa.80
Ian Zang, Pottstown, Pa.80
Joshua Strawins, East Norriton, Pa.80
Zack Amole, Downingtown, Pa.80
Derek Wayman, Arlington, Mass.81
Daniel Keenan, Hammonton, N.J.81
David Larosa, Lansdale, Pa.81
Russell Wren, Morgantown, Pa.81
Brett Brenner, Mount Laurel, N.J.81
Martin Jensen, New York, N.Y.81
Scott Findlay, Basking Ridge, N.J.81
Matthew Krass, Chadds Ford, Pa.81
Michael Stover, Royersford, Pa.82
Christian Haldeman, Center Valley, Pa.82
Joe Garner, Wilmington, Del.82
Francisco Sojo, Argentina82
Brian Walsh, Wayne, Pa.82
Brian Fischer, Philadelphia, Pa.83
Eric Feather, N.Y., N.Y.83
Corey Fitzgerald, West Chester, Pa.83
Jerry Newell, Jr., Wilmington, Del.83
Stephen Levchenco, Philadelphia, Pa.83
Brendan Borst, Wayne, Pa.83
Sean Grim, Princeton, N.J.84
Joe Rueter, Rydal, Pa.84
Joshua Linden, Exton, Pa.84
Andy Beittel, Oreland, Pa.84
Stuart Manning, Yardley, Pa.86
George Tamasi, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.86
Michael Zorn, Jamison, Pa.89
Robert Frey, Hellertown, Pa.90
Shawn Gallagher, Jamison, Pa.91
Matt Molinelli, Downingtown, Pa.91
Dave Walters, Ft Washington, Pa.DQ
Colin Mahon, Newtown Square, Pa.NS
Thomas Caswell, Atlanta, Ga.WD
Marty McGuckin, Phoenixville, Pa.WD
Jeff Miller, Kennett Square, Pa.WD
Robert Robertson, Flourtown, Pa.WD
Brendan Seaver, Bryn Mawr, Pa.WD
* – determined in playoff
DQ – disqualification; NS – no show; WD – withdrawal

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