Sep 11, 2023

#USFourBall Qualifying: Indian Valley

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News, USGA

#USFourBall, News, USGA

Former Harvard teammates take top spot

TELFORD, Pa. — When you birdie your first five holes, a good result, in theory, is inevitable.

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In Brian Isztwan’s case, a great result, in reality, materialized. Not just for Isztwan, but for friend and former Harvard University men’s golf teammate Jeffrey Fang. The duo carded an 8-under-par 64 to earn medalist honors during U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Qualifying administered by GAP at Indian Valley Country Club (par 72, 6,837 yards) Monday.

A pair of former GAP Major champions, Ben Feld (2017 Middle-Amateur) and Scott Ehrlich (2004 Amateur Championship), emerged from a 6-for-2 playoff Monday to advance. Darkness suspended the playoff’s conclusion. LuLu Country Club members Jack Melville and R.J. Wren secured the final qualifying spot Tuesday.

The 9th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will take place May 25-29, 2024 at Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon).

“We got off to a real hot start. It was kind of wild,” Isztwan, 23, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said.

Grab a ticket to Isztwan’s wild birdie ride. On No. 1 (par 4, 397 yards), he spun a gap wedge from 110 yards to an inch. Isztwan’s 5-iron from 180 yards out of the rough collided with the flagstick. He cleaned up a four-footer for birdie. That same 5-iron, this time from 200 yards, positioned Isztwan short left for a seamless up-and-in on No. 3 (par 5, 520 yards) green. He buried an eight-footer on No. 4 (par 3, 130 yards) following a sound pitching wedge. On No. 5 (par 4, 426 yards), Isztwan lifted a wedge 100 yards to eight feet.

“I was coming in for redemption.”

Brian Isztwan

“We got a few texts because we stopped on No. 8 [due to a lightning delay]. Jeff and I were like, ‘Can we please just go back out?’ You know, you’re on a roll,” Isztwan, who won the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship a year ago, said.

“We were just trying to keep our foot on the pedal,” Fang, 20, of Toronto, Ontario, said. “We ended up birdieing No. 8.” Fang tapped in on the par 5 (511 yards) after reaching the greenside bunker in two.

Both Fang and Isztwan, playing in the day’s last group, experienced a bogey blip on No. 10 (par 4, 371 yards). However, the team capitalized on Indian Valley’s par 5s to separate from a leaderboard logjam at 6 under. A two-putt birdie from Isztwan on No. 12 (519 yards), a six-footer from Fang on No. 15 (552 yards) after another greenside bunker landing. Isztwan cemented the team’s fate with a freewheeling birdie on No. 17 (par 4, 390 yards). With Fang in manageable position, Isztwan navigated the dogleg left with a 3-wood off the tee. He then knocked a wedge 70 yards to six feet.

In 2019, Isztwan and former Harvard teammate Rij Patel, a Country Club of York member, qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. However, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the affair, set for Philadelphia Cricket Club in 2020.

“I was coming in for redemption. Rij couldn’t do it this year, so Jeff gets to. I had to keep it in the Harvard family,” Isztwan, a Huntingdon Valley Country Club member, said. “It was a real bummer [that it was cancelled in 2020]. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself.”

Prior to graduating from Harvard in May, Isztwan made an announcement to his teammates. Open invitation for U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Qualifying.

“He was like, ‘Who wants it? I’ll scoop you up,’” Fang, an economics major at Harvard, said.

Isztwan knew the qualifying event at Indian Valley abutted The Doc Gimmler, a 54-hole collegiate event hosted by St. John’s University at Bethpage Red Golf Course in Old Bethpage, N.Y. So he drove two and a half hours to watch Fang and his former teammates compete yesterday. He then drove Fang to his house once the tournament finished.

Isztwan may drive Fang to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight to Boston, Mass. tomorrow. Or Uber.

They’ll work it out, just like sleeping arrangements come May 2024.

Ehrlich, 43, of Berwyn, Pa., buried an 18-footer for birdie on No. 1, the first playoff hole, to assure his team a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball ticket.

“It being a home game is a big deal,” Ehrlich, a Waynesborough Country Club member, said. “I was fortunate to have Ben as a teammate. He played so well today.”

“This is special,” Feld, 32, of Philadelphia, Pa., added. “USGA events are tough to qualify for because everyone is so good.” Feld, a Green Valley Country Club, member, is the head coach of Drexel University’s men’s golf team.  

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
Brian Isztwan/Jeffrey Fang, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Canada64
*Scott Ehrlich/Benjamin Feld, Berwyn, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa.66
*Jack Melville/Russell Wren, Maple Glen, Pa., Morgantown, Pa.66
Alternates (in order)
*Jon Rusk/Jim Sullivan, Yardley, Pa., Glenside, Pa.66
*Conrad Von Borsig/Mark Miller, Fort Washington, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa.66
Failed to qualify
*Andrew Mason/Jeffrey Osberg, Conshohocken, Pa., Bryn Mawr, Pa.66
*Scott Findlay/Jeff Basile, Basking Ridge, N.J., Morristown, Pa.66
Max Muller/Christopher Reedman, Fort Washington, Pa., Newtown, Pa.67
Andrew Keeling/Bryan Keeling, Kennett Square, Pa., Holland, Pa.68
Andrew Wallace/Griffin Mitchell, Narberth, Pa., New Albany, Ohio68
Scott Storck/Chris Storck, Blue Bell, Pa., Reading, Pa.68
Brock Kovach/Eric Edwards, Wyomissing, Pa., Charlotte, N.C.68
DJ Pinciotti/Chase Wheatley, Ivyland, Pa., New York City, N.Y.68
Sebastian Toro/Melvin Morales, Telford, Pa., Puerto Rico69
Garrett Basalyga/Kevin O’Brien, Boynton Beach, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa.69
Brian Gillespie/Stephen Dressel, Chandler, Ariz., Wayne, Pa.69
Ian Zang/Ryan Borrmann, Pottstown, Pa., Warminster, Pa.69
Erik Reisner/Gary McCabe, Philadelphia, Pa., Collegeville, Pa.69
Marty McGuckin/Ryan Tall, Phoenixville, Pa., Collegeville, Pa.70
Andy Butler/Will Byrne, Philadelphia, Pa., McLean, Va.70
Connor Coldwater/Brian Mahlstedt, Charlotte, N.C., Collegeville, Pa.70
Kyle Simpson/Andrew Kennedy, Philadelphia, Pa., Wayne, Pa.70
John Murphy/Alexander Hicks, Cape May Court House, N.J.70
Buddy Hansen/JT Spina, Blue Bell, Pa., Schwenksville, Pa.70
Dan Bernard/Joseph Fabrizio, Philadelphia, Pa., Wayne, Pa.70
Dalton Balthaser/Blake Reifsnyder, Media, Pa., Newmanstown, Pa.70
Alan Borowsky/Kevin Frost, Philadelphia, Pa., Exeter, Pa.70
Zachary Munno/Hunter Stetson, Stamford, Conn., Newtown Square, Pa.70
Michael R. Brown, Jr. /Peter Barron, III, Maple Shade Township, N.J., Mays Landing, N.J.70
Matthew Crescenzo/John Simone, Plymouth Meeting, Pa., Ambler, Pa.71
Sam Pancoast/Colin Smith, Baltimore, Md., West Chester, Pa.71
Matthew Kocent/Robby Walizer, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., Ambler, Pa.71
Bill McCrossan/John Willcox, Malvern, Pa.71
Brendan Mahoney/Andy Beittel, Ambler, Pa., Oreland, Pa.71
Rodney Anders/Clay Anders, Telford, Pa.71
Tanner Thrush/Tyson Thrush, Philadelphia, Pa., Phoenixville, Pa.72
Ben Litt/Christopher Lawler, Moorestown, N.J., Philadelphia, Pa.72
Matthew Loeslein/Robert Robertson, Philadelphia, Pa., Flourtown, Pa.72
Steven Kluemper/Tommy Archer, Bethlehem, Pa.72
Brent Devantier/Brian Cox, Raleigh, N.C., West Chester, Pa.72
Matt Milligan/Joshua Friedland, Harleysville, Pa., Collegeville, Pa.72
Adam Mowery/Christopher Matisse, Chadds Ford, Pa., Mechanicsburg, Pa.73
Jack Hirsh/Griffin Colvin, Philadelphia, Pa., Media, Pa.73
Patrick Dougherty/James White, North Wales, Pa., San Angelo, Texas74
Jack Wallace/Sean Semenetz, Cinnaminson, N.J., Ambler, Pa.74
Jordan Cooper/Scott Rosenberg, Philadelphia, Pa., Ambler, Pa.74
Brett Brenner/Harry Wood, Mount Laurel, N.J., Pennsauken, N.J.74
Adam Warner/Adam Bracy, Haddon Township, N.J., Edgewater Park, N.J.75
Tyler Joseph/Joshua Strawins, Penn Valley, Pa., Plymouth Meeting, Pa.75
Kody Long/Joe Rochelle, Bethlehem, Pa., Collegeville, Pa.75
Matt Graeff/David Kim, Blue Bell, Pa., Dresher, Pa.75
Ari Flaisher/Greg Jarmas, Ardmore, Pa., Philadelphia, Pa.75
Brendan Clearkin, Jr./John Samaha, Ambler, Pa., Hatboro, Pa.76
Stephen Barry/Daniel Keenan, Mullica Hill, N.J., Hammonton, N.J.78
Sam Sherrill/Richard Pruchnik, Exton, Pa., West Chester, Pa.WD
PJ Acierno/Mike Hyland, Flourtown, Pa., Medford, N.J.WD
Beau Guarino/Zach Arsenault, Mount Laurel, N.J., Merchantville, N.J.WD
Jake Marriott/Addison Owens, Naples, Fla., West Chester, Pa.WD
* – determined in a playoff
WD – withdraw

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