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May 19, 2014

Matt Cocco follows his tee shot on No. 12 (par 4, 330 yards).

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Commonwealth’s Cocco crisp in Am. Qual. at Torresdale-Frankford

  NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Grieving through golf made Matt Cocco the player he is today. He made the sport an emotional outlet after his father’s death during his junior year of high school. The Commonwealth National Golf Club member played and practiced daily and earned a golf scholarship to Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.

  Cocco showed how far he’s come — in both life and golf — Monday; he carded a 1-over-par 71 to earn medalist honors in a Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship Qualifier at Torresdale-Frankford Country Club (par 70, 6,249 yards).

  Cocco led a field of 71 players vying for one of 21 qualifying positions and ties available for the Championship proper, set for June 9-11 & 14 at White Manor Country Club.

  At the end of the day, the cut line held at 79.

  “He [my dad] was one of my biggest influences in golf,” Cocco, 22, of Churchville, Pa, said. “After he passed away, I used the game to kind of get away from everything. I’d go out on my own and practice every day. It kind of snowballed after that. I started getting good quick.”

  Cocco demonstrated just how good his game is right now through a creative yet conservative strategy at Torresdale-Frankford.

  “I was really comfortable from the fairway hitting into the greens,” he said. “If you’re in the rough here, you’re going to start thinking about your approach shot because if you’re going to land it short and have it bounce up, some of the greens are pretty heavy back to front, so you really don’t want to go long.”

  Cocco’s outward tour included three circles (birdies) and four squares (bogeys). He hit a 7-iron 163 yards to five feet for birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 375 yards). However, a poor drive on the next hole (par 4, 394 yards) put Cocco behind a tree, prompted a punch-out and produced a bogey. He also bogeyed No. 4 (par 3, 171 yards) after missing the green with a 5-iron. Cocco patched those wounds with a birdie on No. 5 (par 4, 317 yards), where he whacked a wedge 110 yards to nine feet. On the par 4, 416-yard No. 7, however, Cocco landed his approach short of the green. He played his uphill pitch at a check, but it didn’t respond accordingly. He missed the downhill comebacker to save par.

  Cocco cited the next hole (par 4, 440 yards) as a key point in the round. Facing a bad lie on a downslope behind the green, Cocco played out sideways, only to see his golf ball cling to the right fringe. He rammed in a 30-footer for a wild 4.

  “That par on No. 8 kept me even-keeled for the back nine because that could have went south really quickly,” he said. “That definitely kept me in it.”

  On the par 4, 330-yard 12th hole, Cocco nearly holed a 9-iron from 138 yards for eagle. He converted a kick-in birdie to move to even. Cocco also carded a birdie on No. 16 (par 5, 560 yards) after knocking a gap wedge 115 yards to six feet. He missed a four-footer for 2 on No. 17 (par 3, 207 yards) following a smooth 5-iron. Mental frustration led to mistake on the next hole (par 4, 395 yards). Cocco drove it out-of-bounds and finished with a double bogey.

  Cocco, a senior at Armstrong Atlantic State, usually can’t participate in qualifiers for the GAP Amateur Championship because of school obligations. By advancing into the Championship proper Monday, he is on the competitive radar and hoping to break out this summer.

  “I’d like to consider myself one of the better players in the area, even though I really haven’t the résumé to show that,” Cocco said. “I’m really excited to prove myself and get people to notice me a little bit.”

  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 150 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.

Qualifiers

Name, club

Scores

Matt Cocco, Commonwealth National Golf Club

71

Sam Soeth, White Manor Country Club

72

Tyler Sokolis, Commonwealth National Golf Club

72

Christopher Reedman, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

74

Jack Wallace, Philadelphia Cricket Club

74

Russell Hill, Old York CC at Chesterfield

74

J.T. Twomey, Jericho National Golf Club

75

James Austin, Five Ponds Golf Club

75

Scott Storck, Philadelphia Cricket Club

76

Alex Kane, Radley Run Country Club

77

Edward Kelly, Jr., Old York Road Country Club

77

Evan Galbreath, Philmont Country Club

77

David Guertler, Laurel Creek Country Club

77

Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock Country Club

78

Daniel Feeney, Philadelphia Cricket Club

78

Rob Rowe, Bent Creek Country Club

78

Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club

79

Mark Wachter, DuPont Country Club

79

Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club

79

Thomas Lewis, Doylestown Country Club

79

Eric Slawter, St. Davids Golf Club

79

Bill Jeremiah, Bidermann Golf Club

79

Joseph Markmann, Talamore Country Club

79

Failed to qualify

Jeffrey Angelucci, Torresdale-Frankford Country Club

80

Patrick Knott, Merion Golf Club

80

Daniel Myers, French Creek Golf Club

81

Daniel Mahoney, Lu Lu Country Club

81

Luke Liddell, Torresdale-Frankford Country Club

81

Ryan Walker, St. Davids Golf Club

81

Daniel Furman, Commonwealth National Golf Club

81

Andrew Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club

81

Luke McKeogh, Commonwealth National Golf Club

81

Kevin Delaney, Five Ponds Golf Club

81

Robert Good, Merion Golf Club

81

Jake van Arkel, Merion Golf Club

81

Kenneth Matt, Commonwealth National Golf Club

82

Brian Dempster, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

82

Adam Puskar, Middletown Country Club

82

Phillip Villari, Jr., Riverton Country Club

82

Stephen Freda, Sand Barrens Golf Club

82

John Venne, Laurel Creek Country Club

82

Ryan Orcutt, Philadelphia Publinks GA

82

Jack Russell, Philadelphia Cricket Club

82

Patrick O'Brien, North Hills Country Club

83

Scott Forrester, JC Melrose Country Club

83

Kyle Allan, Phoenixville Country Club

83

Scott Young, Overbrook Golf Club

83

Sean Ebert, Commonwealth National Golf Club

83

William Bello, Metedeconk National Golf Club

83

Robert Galbreath, Jr., Philmont Country Club

83

Michael Rogers, Overbrook Golf Club

83

Alexander Cameron, Rolling Green Golf Club

84

Jeff St. Amour, Llanerch Country Club

84

Andrew Carber, Talamore Country Club

84

Mike Lam, Yardley Country Club

85

Brendan Hallinan, Applebrook Golf Club

85

Timothy Anderson, Commonwealth National Golf Club

85

Mark Kosko, Sea Oaks Golf Club

85

George Jiruska, Lu Lu Country Club

86

Matthew Bastian, Jr., Rolling Green Golf Club

86

David Sim, Applecross Country Club

87

Jonathan Kruse, Bala Golf Club

87

Dan Farragut, Philadelphia Cricket Club

87

Steve Weaver, Lu Lu Country Club

88

Gary Quinn, Jr., White Manor Country Club

88

Otis Baker, Gulph Mills Golf Club

91

Dan Clark, Old York Road Country Club

91

Jeff Kiczek, Rolling Green Golf Club

93

Robert Galbreath,, Sr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club

107

Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club

WD

Jack St. Amour, Llanerch Country Club

WD

Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club

WD

Jack Gregor, Huntingdon Valley Country Club

WD

Jimmy Davis, Merion Golf Club

NS

Philip Damico, Five Ponds Golf Club

WD

 

WD - withdrawal; NS - no show

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