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Ault, Gaffney share medalist honors at Am. Qualifier at Links GC
MARLTON, N.J. - Matthew Gaffney of Little Mill CC is getting used to sharing medalist honors at GAP qualifying events. He, along with Chris Ault of Yardley CC, shot 3-under-par and finished as a co-medalist at Mondayâ€™s Amateur Championship Qualifier at Links GC (par 70, 6,532 yards). Gaffney, 28, also shared medalist honors with Jack Wallace of Burlington CC at last Thursdayâ€™s Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier at Burlington CC.
â€śIâ€™m really striking the ball well,â€ť he said. â€śI hit the tee ball well and the irons really well today. Itâ€™s just a matter of putts falling in. I hit a couple of long ones.â€ť
On No. 3 (par 4, 377 yards), Gaffney, of Sewell, N.J., hit 7-iron off the tee and fired a 25-foot putt for birdie. On No. 8 (par 3, 172 yards), he used an 8-iron off the tee, cleared casual water and landed about 20-feet from the hole. Gaffney then fired a birdie.
â€śI made putts today that I was surprised went in,â€ť he said.
Gaffney began the day with a bogey on No. 10 (par 4, 415 yards).
â€śI got off to a slow start,â€ť he said. â€śFrom there, I settled down. I just tried to hit in the fairways and lay back off the tees.â€ť
Throughout the day, Gaffney leaned heavily on his irons.
â€śI needed to make birdies hitting 8-iron and 7-iron onto the greens,â€ť he said. â€śIt wasnâ€™t necessarily important to use driver. It was just more of a scale back and let the irons do the work for you.â€ť
Like Gaffney, Ault, 22, relied on his iron play.
â€śI played pretty conservatively. I hit a lot of irons off the tees,â€ť he said.
After bogeying on No. 1 (par 4, 355 yards), Ault, of Yardley, Pa., fired birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 334 yards), 3 (par 4, 377 yards), 6 (par 4, 440 yards), 9 (par 4, 405 yards) and 15 (par 4, 445 yards). On Nos. 2, 6 and 9, he used his irons off the tee.
â€śI was just solid,â€ť he said. â€śI hit a lot of fairways. I made a lot of putts. I only hit about three drivers all day, but you donâ€™t really need to out here. Itâ€™s pretty tight.â€ť
Though he finished 3-under-par, Ault referred to the course as a â€śfear factory.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s scary. Every hole is out-of-bounds right and left, hazard right and left,â€ť he said.
Nevertheless, Ault feels that his day prepared him for tomorrowâ€™s USGA Open Qualifier at Laurel Creek CC.
â€śI was using today as a warm-up to the USGA Open Qualifier tomorrow,â€ť Ault said. â€śIâ€™ve been working on my swing a lot. This was kind of confirmation that Iâ€™ve been working on the right things,â€ť he said. â€śThings are coming around. Weâ€™ll see how tomorrow goes.â€ť
For Gaffney, itâ€™s on to next weekâ€™s Middle-Amateur Championship, which will be held at Tavistock CC May 20-21.
â€śI know those guys are going to be tough over there. Iâ€™m looking forward to that,â€ť he said.
At Mondayâ€™s qualifier, Justin Martinson of Hartefeld National shot an even-70 to finish second.
â€śI was hitting the ball great,â€ť Martinson, 20, said. â€śI only missed three greens, two of which I missed on the fringe, so it felt like I only missed one.â€ť
Martinson, of Avondale, Pa., missed the greens on Nos. 8 (par 3, 172 yards), 9 and 10. He used a 6-iron for his tee shot on No. 8 and underplayed the wind. On No. 10, he missed the greens with a wedge.
â€śI think I spun it off,â€ť Martinson said.
Martinson fired birdies on Nos. 3 and 13 (par 5, 570 yards). On No. 3, he hit a 3-wood off the tee and landed in the rough. He then struck it 105-yards with a 7-iron land on the green.
On No. 13, Martinson used his driver to get onto the fairway. He then approached the green from about 230-yards out.
â€śI was on the cart path,â€ť Martinson said. â€śI hit a chip from the cart path to about 10-12 feet and made the putt.â€ť
When the day came to an end, the cut line fell to 77.
Mondayâ€™s qualifier was the first of two qualifiers used to help determine the field for the 109th Amateur Championship, which will be held on June 15-17 & 20 at Stonewall. The second qualifier will be held on May 14 at Coatesville CC.
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 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.