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July 28, 2014

Kyle Davis eyes his drive on No. 18 (par 4, 424 yards).

*Photo gallery
*Scorecards
*William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award standings

Home-club hero Davis stars in U.S. Mid-Amateur Qual. at Bidermann

  WILMINGTON, Del. — Family and work obligations, interspersed with a wedding here and a wedding there, forced Kyle Davis to significantly lighten his competitive golf schedule this season. Amid an abundance of summer activities, he managed to make room for a U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier at Bidermann Golf Club (par 72, 6,757 yards), his home course. Davis, the club’s two-time reigning champion, didn’t want to miss an ideal chance to advance.

  He won’t miss the Championship proper, thanks to a stellar round Monday. Davis carded a 3-under-par 69 to earn medalist honors in a qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia.

  Also advancing Monday were Applebrook Golf Club’s Dan Arison, Stone Harbor Golf Club’s Peter Barron, III, Philadelphia Publinks GA’s Scott McNeil, LedgeRock Golf Club’s Christopher Storck and Brett Williams, a Baltimore Country Club member.

  Saucon Valley Country Club hosts the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship Sept. 6-11.

  “I’ve been playing pretty well lately. I actually shot 63 out here [from the blue tees] a month ago,” Davis, 28, of Garnet Valley, Pa., said. “I’m just so comfortable out here. The golf course is a dream. It’s always in perfect condition. I always hit driver on every hole. I knew not to change any of that routine. I didn’t lay up at all on any holes. I kept the pedal to the metal.”

  The long-hitting lefty didn’t put the brakes on his drive. Davis conquered Bidermann’s par 5s with birdies initiated by booming tee shots. On No. 2 (488 yards), Davis hit a half lob wedge 53 yards to three feet for a 4. He powered a 4-iron from 208 yards into the left greenside bunker on No. 6 (466 yards) and softly splashed to five feet. On the 520-yard 12th hole, Davis, the 2006 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year, plucked a 5-wood from 236 yards out of the right rough. An ensuing 25-yard pitch settled at right feet. The 547-yard 15th hole displayed a similar scene. A 4-iron from 236 yards landed 20 yards short of the green, and a perfect pitch created a five-footer for birdie.

  “I kind of expect to make 4s on those holes,” Davis, who works for the Iron Hill Brewery, said. “I always try to get as close to the green as I can on those holes. That’s why I knew coming in, I had to attack those par 5s. I knew if I birdied those holes and kept a big number off the card, I’d be OK.”

  Davis adhered to that strategy, save for three squares (bogeys) on the scorecard. A five-footer for par on No. 3 (par 4, 421 yards), rotated 270 degrees around the cup. Davis caught the front right bunker on No. 4 (par 3, 172 yards) with an 8-iron and failed to get up-and-down. A wayward drive on the par 4, 377-yard No. 9 gave Davis a difficult lie in a mud hole. He lined a sand wedge from 110 yards to the back left portion of the sizeable surface — some 70 feet from the hole location. Davis ran the birdie attempt to eight feet but missed the par clean-up. Two holes (No. 7, par 4, 335 yards) prior, he executed a 30-yard pitch to eight feet for a 3.

  A brilliantly played 18th hole (par 4, 424 yards) provided peace of qualifying mind. With his adrenaline flowing, Davis grabbed a piping hot driver and masterfully split the dogleg right fairway. He again hit a half sand wedge 110 yards, this time to five feet below the flagstick, and deposited the birdie putt.

  “You’re just trying to stay in the moment,” Davis said. “Everybody here has been so supportive. It was awesome to have a couple of the guys come out and watch you hit a few shots. The membership here is second to none. It feels like family for sure.”

  “Props really go to [Superintendent] Jon Urbanski and his staff. A lot of people might argue with me, but I don’t think there are any courses, especially in this area, that are in better condition. The greens were dead perfect. If you hit a putt online, it would stay there.”

  Davis will make his third appearance in a national championship. He qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2003 and U.S. Amateur in 2006.

  “I have no expectations,” he said. “The tournament schedule has been extremely light this year, but it’s kind of helping me mindset-wise. I’ve been enjoying the game so much this year. Whether I shoot 63 or 85, it doesn’t change anything.”

Scott McNeil

  McNeil changed his qualifying prospects in a four-hole stretch. He finished birdie-eagle-par-birdie to advance. On No. 6, McNeil drilled a downwind 9-iron 161 yards and two-putted from 18 feet. Channeling aggression and momentum, he drove the No. 7 green.

  “I knew 1 over was right around the number, but I also knew there’s no point of taking your foot off if you’re feeling good. I drove it to about eight, 10 feet straight up the hill and finally got a putt to go in,” McNeil, 28, of Philadelphia, Pa., said.

  McNeil left a 12-footer for birdie in the heart on No. 8 (par 3, 213 yards). The par 4, 377-yard No. 9 wasn’t the case; McNeil bounced a sand wedge from 105 yards onto the green and drained a fist-pumping uphill 12-footer for birdie. He heads to his first U.S. Mid-Amateur.

  “Usually I’m playing so bad by this time of year that I don’t even try to qualify,” McNeil said. “I took some time off so I could concentrate on playing [middle-amateur] events a little bit better. This is what I really geared the whole year for.”

  Unlike McNeil, a birdie-birdie start thrust Williams, a two-time runner-up in the Maryland Golf Association’s Middle-Amateur Championship, into contention immediately. He smacked a sand wedge 104 yards to eight feet on No. 1 (par 4, 313 yards), a 60-degree wedge 60 yards to four feet on No. 2. Williams, of Baldwin, Md., followed a clutch 25-footer for par on No. 5 (par 4, 384 yards), with back-to-back birdies, courtesy of crisp wedges. He turned in 4 under.

  “At that point, I was just trying to hit the middle of the greens and two-putt. I tried to maintain rather than going after it,” Williams, 33, a product manager for Worthington Industries, said.

  Williams also qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2011.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  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, city

Scores

Kyle Davis, Garnet Valley, Pa.

69

Brett Williams, Baldwin, Md.

70

Scott McNeil, Philadelphia, Pa.

70

Peter Barron III, Mays Landing, N.J.

71

Dan Arison, Norristown, Pa.

73

*Christopher Storck, Sinking Spring, Pa.

74

Alternates (in order)

Rodney James, Lenhartsville, Pa.

74

Kevin Cahill, Wayne, Pa.

74

Failed to qualify

Edward Kelly, Maple Glen, Pa.

74

Scott Storck, Philadelphia, Pa.

75

Matthew Loeslein, Wilmington, Del.

75

Walter Sezna, Charlotte, NC

75

Sam Sikes, Richmond, Va.

75

Sam Pancoast, West Chester, Pa.

75

Serge Hogg, Cherry Hill, N.J.

75

Thomas Humphrey, Chadds Ford, Pa.

75

Patrick Knott, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

75

Sean Semenetz, Philadelphia, Pa.

76

Kevin McDermott, Conshohocken, Pa.

76

Mark Coassolo, Macungie, Pa.

76

Robert Cunningham, New York, N.Y.

76

Mike Korcuba, Sicklerville, N.J.

76

Kevin Kelly, Horsham, Pa.

77

Paul Derosa, Arlington, Va.

77

Joe April, Sewell, N.J.

77

Tony Malizia, Palm City, Fla.

77

William Jenner, Lexington Park, Md.

77

George Marucci  Jr, Villanova, Pa.

77

Steve Walczak, Greenville, Del.

77

Rob Kilbride, Neptune Twp, N.J.

77

Colin Smith, West Chester, Pa.

77

Frank Petrash IV, Washington, D.C.

77

Andrew Harmer, Media, Pa.

78

Bill Jeremiah, West Grove, Pa.

78

David Frantz, Easton, Pa.

78

Ryan Gelrod, Ambler, Pa.

78

Scott McLaughlin, Hatboro, Pa.

78

Tom Spano, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

78

Mike Hyland, Medford, N.J.

78

Jeff Kostelnik, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

79

Adam Warner, Haddon Twp, N.J.

79

Daniel Rudershausen, Kennett Square, Pa.

79

Keith Olinick, Royersford, Pa.

79

Johan Van Schalkwyk, Haddon Heights, N.J.

79

Nick Biesecker, Staunton, Va.

79

Jimmy Pokorny, Havertown, Pa.

80

Andrew Bradley, Orlando, Fla.

80

Joseph Dulka, West Chester, Pa.

80

Greg Bender, Downingtown, Pa.

80

Steve Frisch, Northampton, Pa.

80

Patrick Pasquariello, Philadelphia, Pa.

80

Clark Holle, South Orange, N.J.

80

Christopher Binder, Collingswood, N.J.

80

Timothy Westfall, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

81

Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.

81

Buddy Reed, Middletown, Del.

81

Joseph Kinsman, Coatesville, Pa.

81

Tom Coyne, Philadelphia, Pa.

81

Jerry Newell Jr, Wilmington, Del.

82

John Nottage, Warminster, Pa.

82

Stephen O'Sullivan, Villanova, Pa.

82

William Gamgort, Hockessin, Del.

82

John Pelet, Kennett Square, Pa.

82

Neil Gordon, Warrington, Pa.

82

Taylor Stansberry, Yardley, Pa.

83

Robert Dietrich, Oxford, Pa.

83

Alan Borowsky, Media, Pa.

83

Michael Cavanaugh, Newtown, Pa.

83

Michael Beran, Phoenixville, Pa.

83

James Kiewra, Brant Beach, N.J.

83

Stephen Walton, West Chester, Pa.

83

Patrick Buckley, Media, Pa.

84

William Newill, Somerville, N.J.

84

Rich Thon, Swarthmore, Pa.

84

Brad Sokol, Wayne, Pa.

84

Todd Baron, Mullica Hill, N.J.

85

Michael Hersch, Macungie, Pa.

85

Sean Coyle, Wayne, Pa.

85

Andrew Sterge, Wayne, Pa.

86

Michael Zieg, Kennett Square, Pa.

86

Matt Jasudowich, Phoenixville, Pa.

86

Mark Wachter, Wilmington, Del.

86

Duane Pinnock, Eaglevile, Pa.

87

Justin Smith, Coatesville, Pa.

88

Brandon Havas, Salisbury, Md.

88

Brian Egan, Coopersburg, Pa.

90

Andy Achenbach, Wayne, Pa.

92

Matthew Hilbush, Blue Bell, Pa.

96

David Guertler, Merchantville, N.J.

WD

Chad Hanes, Vienna, Va.

WD

Whit Stewart, Baltimore, Md.

WD

Peter Keller, Rye, N.Y.

WD

Gary Cicatiello, Providence Forge, Va.

NC

Jay Vasil, King Of Prussia, Pa.

WD

Matthew McFarlane, Doylestown, Pa.

WD

Jason Bonardi, Woodstock, Md.

WD

WD - withdrawal; NC - no card; * - advanced in playoff

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