close_icon

*GAPTV: Glenn Smeraglio Interview
*GAPTV: Andy Achenbach Interview
*Scorecards
*History
*Player of the Year standings
*Event photos
*2011 Middle-Amateur Media Guide
*Day One recap

Smeraglio surges to victory in 28th Middle-Amateur Championship

  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.

Bob Morey (left), Championship Committee
Chair, with Glenn Smeraglio.
 
Rich Meehan (left), the GAP
President, with Andy Achenbach.
  “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," he said. "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.”

Name, club

Scores

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

 

WD-withdrawal

[ Back ]