#USAmateur Qualifying: Rolling Green - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jul 13, 2022

#USAmateur Qualifying: Rolling Green

Feld fights for first USGA invite in #USAmateur Qualifying

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. — Ben Feld, Drexel University’s Head Golf Coach, has been waiting his entire amateur golf career to play in a United States Golf Association national championship. He’s been an alternate multiple times. He’s caddied in three U.S. Opens and two U.S. Amateurs. He’s been ready.

And now, he’ll get his chance.

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Feld, a Green Valley Country Clubber, medaled in U.S. Amateur Qualifying administered by GAP at remarkable Rolling Green Golf Club (par 70, 6,867 yards) Wednesday with a 5-under 135 total. His second-round 6-under 64 included seven birdies — yes, seven — en route to the day’s top honor.

“Honestly, it was starting to become a little bit of a thing. I started thinking, ‘Am I ever going to make one of these?’,” said Feld, 31, of Philadelphia, Pa. “I’ve been knocking on the door. I’ve been on the grounds for 12 or so [USGA championships]. So, this one today… it feels a little extra special.”

Joining Feld with invitations to the #USAmateur are two GAP Major Champions. Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Conor McGrath, the 2021 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion, and Saucon Valley Country Club’s Matt Mattare, the 2016 GAP Middle-Amateur Champ and 2017 GAP Open winner, both punched tickets to the big stage.

The 122nd U.S. Amateur Championship, scheduled for Aug. 15-21, will be played at The Ridgewood Country Club, in Paramus, N.J.

Today’s 36-hole event started at 7 a.m. under serene summer conditions. A mere few hours later, those weather pleasantries turned into qualifying pressure. In the morning wave, Llanerch Country Club’s John Lalley was the low man, as he wowed with a 5-under 65. Riccardo Fantinelli, a product of Rome, Italy, fired a 3-under 67 in the morning to get in the mix. McGrath also carded a 67 to begin the day.

The afternoon flipped the leaderboard into a frenzy.

Feld, who finished at 1-over 71 in the morning, began his second lap around Rolling Green with a birdie out of the gate. He made a 20-foot slider on No. 1 (par 4, 432 yards) to get things revved up. Back-to-back birds fell on Nos. 4 (par 4, 400 yards) and 5 (par 4, 425 yards), both from five feet. He’d give one back on No. 6 (par 3, 190 yards) after failing to get up-and-down from over the left bunker, but a red number salvaged things on the par-5, 501-yard 7th after narrowly missing a 12-foot eagle attempt. Sticking a 129-yard pitching wedge to a foot on No. 9 (par 5, 616 yards) rounded out the front nine at 4-under par.

“In the morning, I just wasn’t super comfortable on the greens. I was just kind of hanging in,” said Feld. “But then I got pulls rolling early on in the second round. I knew it was going to get a little bit crusty out there this afternoon, so I got myself in some good spots, and I was able to roll some looks in.”

Feld’s final nine was his cleanest of the day, featuring two birdies and zero bogeys. After must-have, mid-range par putts on Nos. 12, 13 and 14, Feld trickled a 10-foot birdie attempt in on the par-4, 383-yard 15th. But the exclamation point — and shot of Feld’s season thus far — came on Rolling Green’s finisher, the par-4, 485-yard 18th. After blocking his drive just into the right trees, his ball took a fortunate bounce down and into a safe lie in the rough. He then pulled 7-iron from the bag, flied it 175 yards and hoped for the right bounce. Feld got that bounce, all the way up to five feet, and let out a sight of relief as the birdie putt found the bottom of the cup.

“I wanted that one, standing over the putt. I’ve looked at Andrew Mason’s 64 scorecard [from the 2012 Pennsylvania Amateur Championship] hanging in the locker room too many times, and I wanted to tie that,” said Feld, the 2017 GAP Middle-Amateur winner.

He’s been trying for years, but Feld, despite finding more than his fair share of GAP success, hasn’t graced a USGA tee sheet yet. But having caddied for former Drexel star Chris Crawford in the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, he’s no stranger to the high-level setting. This time around, however, he’ll be playing.

Also getting a chance will be McGrath, after his 3-under 137 total was fueled by rounds of 67-70, including going 3 under over his final three holes. On his final side, an eagle on No. 7 and birdie to finish on No. 9 propelled McGrath into the invitation-earning trio.

“We were even with [four holes to play] and needed to make something happen,” said McGrath, 22, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “It was a dog fight all afternoon. I was trying not to scoreboard watch, but we needed birdie to finish, and we got it done.”

This will mark the Temple University fifth-year senior’s second-straight U.S. Amateur appearance.

“Last year at Oakmont, it was an amazing experience. Obviously, I had to grind it out [at Oakmont], but today, all we were talking about was getting it and getting another chance at it,” said McGrath.

After a 1-over 71 in the morning, Mattare came back with a 3-under 67 to finish the day. He played the waiting game after posting his 2-under 138 total score, but ultimately, the third and final invite was his.

“There was nothing spectacular going on in the morning, but I had hit enough good shots that I felt good where I was at,” said Mattare. “All I had in my mind for the afternoon was to get to 2 under. If I could shoot 67 and get in the house, I know I’d be in good shape.”

Mattare, with six U.S. Mid-Amateur berths to his name, is now set to make his first U.S. Amateur appearance. Last year, during a U.S.. Amateur Qualifying event administered by the Metropolitation Golf Association at Manhattan Woods Golf Club, Mattare was disqualified after leading early on. His local caddie had been using slope on his rangefinder, and Mattare’s quest for his first Amateur appearance was squashed.

“What can you do? It’s just a lesson learned. I chose to let it motivate me even more, and I certainly have been motivated as hell this year,” said Mattare, 36, of Jersey City, N.J. “This is a nice redemption tour from last year. The U.S. Amateur is right in my backyard. Every USGA event is special, but the one’s you can sleep in your own bed are even more special.”

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 Association’s 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 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, stateR1-R2-Total
Benjamin Feld, Philadelphia, Pa.71-64–135
Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.67-70–137
Matthew Mattare, Jersey City, N.J.71-67–138
Alternates (in order)
David Mecca, Scranton, Pa.70-70–140
Joseph Morganti, Philadelphia, Pa.68-72–140
Failed to qualify
Austin Barbin, Elkton, Md.73-68–141
Angelo Giantsopoulos, Canada71-71–142
John Lalley, Philadelphia, Pa.65-77–142
Bo Andrews, Raleigh, N.C.70-73–143
Riccardo Fantinelli, Italy67-76–143
Christian Castillo, Plano, Texas74-71–145
Jeffrey Cunningham, West Palm Beach, Fla.75-71–146
Ross Pilliod, Reading, Pa.74-72–146
Jake Avery, Avon, Conn.71-77–148
Geoffrey Cooper, Erdenheim, Pa.70-78–148
Christopher Dalglish, Fort Washington, Pa.73-75–148
Tyler McGarry, Pittston, Pa.76-72–148
Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Del.74-74–148
Christopher Ault, Yardley, Pa.78-71–149
Andrew Kolarik, Baltimore, Md.78-71–149
Bank Apinyawuttikul, Thailand74-76–150
Christopher Warner, Yardley, Pa.74-76–150
Michael Davis, King of Prussia, Pa.79-72–151
Rich Owsik, Bryn Mawr, Pa.79-72–151
Dawson Anders, Telford, Pa.77-75–152
Brandon Capone, Columbus, N.J.77-75–152
Jack Cooley, West Chester, Pa.76-76–152
Jake Fazio, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.77-75–152
Jack Melville, Maple Glen, Pa.75-77–152
Matthew Bastian Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.77-76–153
David Pompey, Clarks Summit, Pa.77-76–153
Andrew Curran, Media, Pa.77-77–154
Jackson Debusschere, Wallingford, Pa.78-76–154
Pa.trick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.76-78–154
Cole Kempinski, Dallas, Texas75-79–154
Coleman Meitner, Tuxedo, N.Y.73-81–154
Darren Nolan, Glenside, Pa.78-76–154
Connor Sheehan, Lancaster, Pa.78-76–154
Joshua Madarang, Gaithersburg, Md.77-78–155
Henry Stone, Austin, Texas72-83–155
Rick van der Nat, Netherlands75-80–155
Corey Betham, Norristown, Pa.79-77–156
Ryan Kelly, Annapolis, Md.79-77–156
Sean Seese, Rydal, Pa.78-78–156
Nicholas Verrecchio, Philadelphia, Pa.79-77–156
Brendan Harrington, West Chester, Pa.80-77–157
Benjamin Pochet, Royersford, Pa.80-78–158
Vince Scarpetta, III, Crystal Lake, Pa.81-77–158
Ryan Tracy, Breinigsville, Pa.77-81–158
Conrad Von Borsig, Fort Washington, Pa.78-80–158
Greg Hanna, Phoenixville, Pa.79-80–159
Joey Russo, Sewell, N.J.79-80–159
Tyler Debusschere, Wallingford, Pa.78-82–160
Carter Field, Fort Washington, Pa.75-85–160
Adam Mowery, Chadds Ford, Pa.83-77–160
Drew Petri, New Hope, Pa.83-77–160
Justin Spaeth, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.83-77–160
Mark Hill, Media, Pa.83-78–161
Corey Haydu, Doylestown, Pa.80-82–162
Bryan Ott, Allentown, Pa.84-78–162
Michael Zupi, Conshohocken, Pa.76-87–163
Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.86-78–164
James Bresnahan, Philadelphia, Pa.79-86–165
Robert McGowan, Exton, Pa.87-79–166
Matt Shevlin, Philadelphia, Pa.81-85–166
Drew Scibetta, Pittsburgh, Pa.85-83–168
Jonathan Kruse, Drexel Hill, Pa.86-84–170
Matthew Normand, Lumberton, N.J.83-88–171
Thomas Frawley, Berwyn, Pa.90-84–174
Alan Hampton, Donalsonville, Ga.89-85–174
Brad Ebersole, New Hope, Pa.84-92–176
Jack Dixon, Camden, Del.100-100–200
Ed Brown, Rehoboth Beach, Del.79-WD–WD
Michael Dunphy, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.84-NS–NS
Daniel Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.82-WD–WD
Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.WD-WD–WD
Tyler Lee, Franklin Lakes, N.J.75-WD–WD
Christian Matt, Springhouse, Pa.78-WD–WD
Jacob Sokalsky, Garnet Valley, Pa.81-WD–WD
WD – withdrawal; NS – no show

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