Two share medalist honors in Mid-Am. Qual. at Wedgwood
WASHINGTON TWP., N.J. â Jack Anderson of Makefield Highlands Golf Club and Lance Oberparleiter of Little Mill Country Club carded respective even-par 72s to share medalist honors in Thursdayâs Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier at Wedgwood Country Club (par 72, 6,769 yards). Playing in the same group, the two led a field of 81 players attempting to grab one of 26 qualifying spots and ties available for the Golf Association of Philadelphiaâs 29th Middle-Amateur Championship, set for May 23-24 at Chester Valley Golf Club.
Eighteen holes, eighteen pars. Thatâs the formula Anderson followed to advance.
âI didnât know what to expect going into it, being this early in the season and not really getting in a groove yet,â the Yardley, Pa. resident said. âI slowed my swing down a lot. On the first hole, I hit it into the middle of the green and said âletâs just two-putt and go to the next hole.â I started getting into a groove. I played real conservative and didnât make mistakes. All of my misses were no more than five feet off the green.â
Anderson converted pars like clockwork. On the aforementioned first hole (par 4, 424 yards), he knocked an 8-iron 148 yards to 18 feet and two-putted.
The sole "scramble," if you will, occurred on No. 16 (par 3, 180 yards). Anderson, 42, hit a 6-iron heavy and short of the putting surface, but nearly executed the ensuing flop shot. He attempted to reach the par 4, 493-yard 17th green in two strokes, but saw his 240-yard 3-wood shot settle just outside the right greenside bunker. Anderson nestled a chip to seven feet and missed the birdie putt.
Anderson, who owns an automotive tire and repair center, hopes to temper his emotions in the Championship Proper.
âIf I can keep myself calm, I think I can do well,â Anderson said. âTaking it one hole at time was my goal today. Itâs something Iâve always struggled to do. I usually start getting ahead of myself. When you press, you donât concentrate as well and the wheels start coming off.â
Oberparleiterâs day wasnât that tedious. He opened with three consecutive bogeys thanks to poor tee shots.
âBeing the first qualifier of the year, I think I was nervous coming out of the gate,â Oberparleiter, 45, of Blackwood, N.J., said. âI just settled down. Being familiar with the place, I knew there were some birdie holes out there.â
A former Wedgwood member of 18 years, Oberparleiter used course knowledge to curb the rough start. He benched the driver and relied on his 4-wood for the most part. It paid dividends on No. 6 (par 4, 378 yards). Oberparleiter drilled a pitching wedge 133 yards to 10 feet and cleaned up the birdie putt. He capped his outward venture with a birdie on No. 9 (par 4, 396 yards). He hit a pitching wedge 130 yards to 13 feet.
Oberparleiter adopted Andersonâs approach on the back nine. He carded eight pars and a birdie. On No. 17, Oberparleiter fell short of the green with a utility wood from 240 yards. He guided a chip to tap-in territory.
Oberparleiter, who owns Skeeters Pub in Blenheim, N.J., wants his performance Thursday to set a positive tone for the season.
âThis is the best round Iâve had in awhile,â he said. âItâs the best score Iâve had all year. Iâve been waiting for the tournaments to start. Iâve been working hard on my game, and Iâm glad to see my work show up when it meant something.â
At the end of the day, the cut line fell to 79. Thursdayâs qualifier was the first of two used to determine who will play in the Championship Proper next month. The second qualifier will take place May 2 at Bellewood Golf Club.
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.
The Associationâs Executive 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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphiaâs Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphiaâs mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.