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Ben Smith of Little Mill CC with the runner-up crystal.
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Cricket's John Brennan gets his first Major title;
takes 29th Middle-Amateur Championship

  MALVERN, Pa.–John Brennan is a high school social studies teacher by trade. Thursday, the member of Philadelphia Cricket Club, penned the 29th chapter in Golf Association of Philadelphia Middle-Amateur Championship history.

  Brennan entered the second and final round of the year’s first Major ahead by two shots. He methodically coped with a treacherous golf course and difficult scoring conditions at Chester Valley Golf Club (par 70, 6,547 yards) – the scoring average today was a robust 79.648 – to maintain that distance throughout over rival Ben Smith of Little Mill Country Club. Smith started the day in second place.

  Brennan posted a second-round 4-over 74 while Smith, one of his two playing partners, carded a 76. The McDermott brothers, Michael of Merion Golf Club and Brian of Llanerch Country Club, finished tied for third at 7 over. Michael McDermott carded the day’s low score, a 2-over 72. Brian posted a 73.

  “It’s overwhelming. It’s really tough to put into words,” said Brennan on winning his first Golf Association of Philadelphia Major Championship. “To put my name on a GAP trophy really means a lot. Words can’t describe it. The quality of play [in the Golf Association of Philadelphia] is so good. I was fortunate to get on a little streak yesterday and I was able to follow it up today. I made some nice chips and putts coming down the stretch.”

  Brennan, 33, of Audubon, Pa., is the first Philadelphia Cricket Club member to win the Mid.-Am. since Rob Savarese, Jr. in 2003.

  Scoring fell victim to steady winds and hard greens throughout the day before Brennan secured the victory with a clutch flat stick. It helped that Brennan caddied at Chester Valley from 1998-2001 while at Lebanon Valley College.

  “I felt comfortable out there,” said Brennan.

  Nursing that same two-stroke advantage he held at the start on No. 12 (par 4, 422 yards), albeit with some prior round twists and turns, Brennan drained a surprising 25-foot par save after hitting his drive into the right trees and being forced to chip out 75 yards short of the green on his second shot. Smith’s tee ball, on the other hand, was no better. It found the left hazard, and after a sideways chip out, he watched his third shot, a 6-iron from 165 yards out, stop short and left of the green. Smith needed three more strokes to finish.

  When it was over, Brennan stayed at even for the tournament. Smith jumped to 4 over.

  “I didn’t make a putt all day,” said Brennan. “I hit it two cups out to the left. I figured if I made it, Ben might press to make his.”

  Added Smith, 25, of Voorhees, N.J. “That hurt. You always expect your opponent to make the putt. When his went in, though, I said in my mind that’s it.”

  Smith wasn’t done, however. He gained a stroke back on each of the next two holes.

  He made par on No. 13 (par 4, 449 yards) and a two-putt birdie on No. 14 (par 5, 466 yards) in comparison to a Brennan bogey and par.

  Both players missed the green on the 15th (par 3, 153 yards), Brennan to the right and Smith long. Brennan’s ensuing chip skidded to a stop some 15 feet left. Smith lofted a lob wedge to eight feet and it appeared he may be a stroke closer, one back, with three holes to play when the two completed the hole. Brennan, however, wanted none of that and once again found the jar for a clutch par save. Smith made his, too, although he left the green somewhat shocked.

  “When I crossed the road to get to 15, I said this is it right here,” said Brennan. “You have to hit some good shots down the stretch. The putt was huge because I had a feeling Ben was going to make that putt for par. That kept me going down the stretch.”

  “I hit an 8-iron very solid. It was all over the stick. I was thinking I was going to be like Tommy Hyland and make a hole-in-one there today,” said Smith. “He made his and I made mine. That kept me in it.”

  Brennan ended Smith’s hopes and dreams on the next hole (No. 16, par 4, 439 yards). He rocketed a drive down the left side and hit a gap wedge from 118 yards to six inches for birdie. Smith found trouble off both the tee and around the green. He would finish with a double bogey six.

  “I just wanted to get it in going to the house after that,” said Brennan.

  Brennan’s been a regular Mid.-Am. contender, finishing in the Top 9 in four of the prior six events.

  For Smith, this was his highest Golf Association of Philadelphia placing. He did finish second in last year’s New Jersey State Amateur at Trump National Golf Club – Bedminster.

  Brennan’s victory also earned him an exemption into July’s Open Championship at famed Pine Valley Golf Club.

  “To punch my ticket to get in Pine Valley is unbelievable,” said Brennan.

  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. 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.

NOTES– The aforementioned Tom Hyland of Little Mill CC recorded his 11th hole-in-one with a 7-iron on No. 15 (par 3, 153 yards) … the cut-line for the Mid.-Am. fell at 80 yesterday. A total of 71 players advanced to today’s final round.

Name, club

Score

John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club

67-74–141

Benjamin Smith, Little Mill Country Club

69-76–145

Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club

75-72–147

Brian McDermott, Llanerch Country Club

74-73–147

Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club

72-76–148

Michael Brown, Philadelphia Publinks GA

71-77–148

Eric Williams, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

75-74–149

Tim Freeh, Back Creek Golf Club

73-76–149

Anthony Apostolico, Back Creek Golf Club

75-74–149

Michael Domenick, Phoenixville Country Club

78-73–151

Scott McNeil, Philadelphia Publinks GA

75-76–151

Rich Pruchnik, Back Creek Golf Club

72-79–151

Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club

73-79–152

Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club

79-73–152

David Shields, Philadelphia Publinks GA

76-76–152

Todd Vonderheid, Huntsville Golf Club

75-77–152

Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club

78-75–153

Brian Gillespie, St. Davids Golf Club

79-74–153

Michael Quinn, Edgmont Country Club

74-79–153

Scott McLaughlin, Commonwealth National Golf Club

77-76–153

Joe Viechnicki, Saucon Valley Country Club

76-77–153

Ronald Jamarowicz, Hartefeld National

76-77–153

James Gillespie, Wedgwood Country Club

76-77–153

Rodney James, Golden Oaks Golf Club

77-76–153

Jack Anderson, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

75-78–153

Ryan Gelrod, Philadelphia Cricket Club

79-75–154

Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club

77-77–154

Richard Umani, Honeybrook Golf Club

78-76–154

Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club

79-75–154

Robert Bechtold, Loch Nairn Golf Club

76-78–154

William Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club

75-79–154

Mark Peterson, Philadelphia Cricket Club

79-76–155

Steve Lubin, Five Ponds Golf Club

75-80–155

Joshua Isler, Chester Valley Golf Club

74-81–155

Jack Wallace, Philadelphia Cricket Club

79-76–155

Chris Lange, Jr., Overbrook Golf Club

79-76–155

James Donnelly, Merion Golf Club

78-77–155

Christopher Lange, Overbrook Golf Club

77-78–155

Michael Moffat, Commonwealth National Golf Club

77-78–155

Francis McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club

80-75–155

Paul Kupcha, Fieldstone Golf Club

76-80–156

Robert Cunningham, Overbrook Golf Club

79-77–156

Lance Oberparleiter, Little Mill Country Club

78-79–157

Matthew Finger, Woodcrest Country Club

77-80–157

Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club

79-78–157

Mark Coassolo, Brookside C.C. of Allentown

76-81–157

Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club

74-84–158

Michael Walker, Loch Nairn Golf Club

78-80–158

William Naylor, Applebrook Golf Club

79-79–158

Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club

76-83–159

Kevin Cahill, Merion Golf Club

80-79–159

G. Patrick Dougherty, Philadelphia Cricket Club

74-85–159

David Brookreson, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

80-79–159

Louis Giovi, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

77-83–160

Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf Club

73-87–160

Frank Corrado, Jr., Jericho National Golf Club

78-82–160

Neil Gordon, Five Ponds Golf Club

79-81–160

Adam Mastone, Trump National Golf Club - Philadelphia

80-80–160

Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

79-82–161

Bryan Ott, Silver Creek Country Club

80-81–161

Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club

77-86–163

Dave Fardon, Philadelphia Publinks GA

80-83–163

Chris Hunger, Wedgwood Country Club

80-83–163

Santo Lafoca, Huntsville Golf Club

80-84–164

Joseph Roeder, Links Golf Club

80-84–164

Michael Beran, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

80-85–165

Michael Rose, Talamore Country Club

80-87–167

Matt Maurer, Bent Creek Country Club

78-92–170

George Griffaton, Brookside Country Club

80-90–170

Thomas Brennan, Five Ponds Golf Club

79-92–171

Mark Walker, Laurel Creek Country Club

75-WD–WD

 

Failed to qualify

Robert Loftus, Overbrook Golf Club

81

Elias Chua, Fieldstone Golf Club

81

Simon Hagger, Fieldstone Golf Club

81

Chris Hynoski, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

81

Matthew Walsh, Overbrook Golf Club

81

Andy Achenbach, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve

81

Peter Moran, Edgmont Country Club

81

Ryan Jordan, Tavistock Country Club

81

Jeffrey Huntzinger, Philadelphia Publinks GA

81

Tom Grady, West Chester Golf & Country Club

81

Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club

82

Sean Ryan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

82

David West, Whitford Country Club

82

Ray Pyontek, Yardley Country Club

82

Kenneth Matt, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

83

Grant Skyllas, Moselem Springs Golf Club

83

John Simone, Philmont Country Club

83

Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club

83

Scott Orr, Brookside Country Club

83

Paul Bickford, Little Mill Country Club

83

Tom Spano, Llanerch Country Club

83

Bill Albertus, Penn Oaks Golf Club

83

Michael Santerian, Wedgwood Country Club

83

Robert Good, Merion Golf Club

83

Sean Coyle, Llanerch Country Club

83

Patrick McCauley, Applebrook Golf Club

83

Stephen Seiden, Llanerch Country Club

84

Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley Golf Club

84

Brian Fisher, Philadelphia Publinks GA

84

Arthur Herling, III, Cedarbrook Country Club

84

Christopher Lucci, Brookside Country Club

84

Jason Barkley, Moselem Springs Golf Club

84

Tim Anderson, Philadelphia Publinks GA

85

Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club

85

Patrick Phillips, Spring Ford Country Club

85

Tom Piersanti, Saucon Valley Country Club

85

Carlo Fitti, Llanerch Country Club

85

Ivan McBride, Five Ponds Golf Club

85

Mark Kosko, Sea Oaks Golf Club

85

John Gosselin, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club

85

Andrew Carnevale, North Hills Country Club

85

Gregg Angelillo, Moselem Springs Golf Club

86

Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club

86

Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

86

Steven Budenz, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

86

Gordon Jamieson, Merion Golf Club

86

Blake Cleary, Wilmington Country Club

86

Michael Fagan, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

86

Peter Landreth, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club

87

Jim Braunsberg, Blue Bell Country Club

87

Michael Casella, Northampton Country Club

88

Jonathan Shevlin, North Hills Country Club

89

Timothy Whartenby, Northampton Valley Country Club

89

Patrick McCusker, Jr., Plymouth Country Club

89

Mark Hodgson, Burlington Country Club

91

Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock Country Club

WD

Ryan McCarty, Little Mill Country Club

WD

John Aloisio, Running Deer Golf Club

WD

Alexander Maguire, Jr., Brookside Country Club

WD

Christopher Terebesi, Honeybrook Golf Club

WD

 

WD-withdrawal

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