Klee, Slawecki top field at SFCC Mid.-Am. Qual.ROYERSFORD, Pa. â€“ Scott Klee of Indian Valley CC and Blake R. Slawecki of Spring Ford CC carded an even-par 72 to share medalist honors at a cool and overcast Spring Ford CC (par 72, 6,677 yards) Wednesday.
Klee, 42, and Slawecki, 41, led the field of 76 players attempting to earn one of the 31 qualifying spots and ties available for the 26th edition of the Golf Association of Philadelphia Middle-Amateur Championship set for May 20-21 at Tavistock CC.
Wednesdayâ€™s qualifier was the first of two Middle-Amateur Championship qualifiers used to determine who will play in the Championship later this month. The second qualifier will take place tomorrow, May 7 at Burlington CC in Mt. Holly, N.J.
Klee, of Telford, Pa., felt that he played â€śpretty consistent all day.â€ť
â€śThe main thing for me was the course set up well just because it was soft, so I could throw some irons in there,â€ť he said. â€śI I hit a lot of greens. I two-putted too much. I shouldâ€™ve one-putted more. I played very well from guiding the ball straight and hitting key iron shots.â€ť
Klee birdied on Nos. 1 (par 4, 453 yards) and 10 (par 4, 420 yards).
â€śI rolled in a bomb on No. 1,â€ť he said. â€śIt was like 30 feet. It was chugging when it got to the hole. And No. 10 was probably my best iron shot (6-iron) of the day.â€ť
Klee felt particularly proud of his iron play.
â€śIâ€™m getting rid of my old irons, so I had to get one more good round in with them,â€ť he said.
Slawecki, of Royersford, Pa., started off strong. He carded a 4-under-par 32 on his home courseâ€™s front nine.
â€śI hit all of the fairways and greens on the front and the putts went in, so everything just kind of meshed for me,â€ť Slawecki said.
Slawecki made birdies on Nos. 3 (par 4, 386 yards), 4, (par 3, 145 yards), 7 (par 3, 205 yards), 8, (par 4, 374 yards) and 9 (par 5, 538 yards).
Not much changed for Slawecki on the back nine, though he shot 4-over par.
â€śI had a couple three-putts. I hit a couple of bad shots, but other than that, I didnâ€™t hit the ball that much different,â€ť he said.
Neverthless, Slawecki was glad to top the field.
â€śI feel pretty good, considering this is only my third round of the year,â€ť he said.
Jeff DellaFranco of Concord CC carded a 2-over-par 72 to finish third. DellaFranco, 38, notched 27 putts on the day.
â€śI putted really well. Just about everything I had to make, needed to make or wanted to make went in,â€ť he said. â€śWhenever I missed a green, it seemed like I put myself in a good position to get up and down.â€ť
DellaFranco started strong with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 453 yards). He also birdied on Nos. 5 (par 5, 519 yards) and 6 (par 4, 314 yards).
DellaFranco believes experience also helped him on the course. The Chester Springs, Pa. resident earned medalist honors at last yearâ€™s Middle-Amateur Championship at Talamore CC.
â€śIt gives you a little something to fall back on. You donâ€™t need to go out and get crazy â€“ just keep it in front of you on the fairways and greens,â€ť he said. â€śIt was really wet out there. The course played a lot longer than the yardage stated.â€ť
As the day came to an end, the cut-line landed on 80.
Michael McDermott of Merion GC took the 25th Middle-Amateur Championship at Fieldstone GC last year after recording 2-over par 73. The win was the third Middle-Amateur Championship for McDermott, who also took the title in 2001 and 2004.
The Middle-Amateur is for players 25 years of age and older.
The GAP Middle-Amateur started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Am as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.
The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Mid-Am was for players 30 years of age and older.
That Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA's guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. The field begins with 132 players. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower.
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.