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May 26, 2014

Benjamin Smith eases a chip onto the No. 13 (par 4, 433 yards) green.

Huntingdon Valley tops Team Championship Qualifier at Applecross

  DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. — A backbreaking conclusion caused Huntingdon Valley Country Club to miss the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Team Championship a year ago. Members Benjamin Cooley and Jeff Osberg needed to collectively play their final three qualifying holes in 1 under, but finished two strokes above that margin.

| Individual scorecards | Team scorecards | Photo gallery |

  Cooley, 21, of Rydal, Pa., atoned Tuesday, and clubmate Benjamin Smith erased any doubts of Huntingdon Valley booking a trip to the Championship proper. Smith, 28, of Philadelphia, Pa., carded a 3-under-par 69 to earn individual medalist honors in the Team Championship Qualifier at Applecross Country Club (par 72, 6,763 yards). Cooley, along with Huntingdon Valley youngster Liam McGrath, posted a pair of 73s to perch Huntingdon Valley atop the field with a 291 total.

  Commonwealth National Golf Club, Mercer Oaks Golf Course and Philadelphia Cricket Club also advanced. The 96th Team Championship will take place June 29 at Commonwealth National, which enters the contest as defending champion.

  “I never really played well in this event. I think this is the first time I broke 80,” Cooley, a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, said. “It feels good to play well for the team. It was nice to actually nice to count my score.”

  Osberg, the reigning BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion and recent Middle-Amateur runner-up, didn’t compete Tuesday.

  “I knew my score would end up counting today,” Smith, who works for a packaging company, added. “It was more of a positive mindset, where I knew it was my opportunity to step up for the club and put a good round together for the other guys.”

  A great round is more like it.

  Smith excelled on the par 5s at Applecross during his inward tour. On the 559-yard 12th hole, he powered a 3-wood 255 yards to 40 feet and two-putted for birdie. Smith dropped a five-footer for eagle on No. 15 (532 yards) after hammering a 3-wood 251 yards. Although he flew the No. 18 (529 yards) green with a hybrid from 230 yards, a soft pitch left Smith with a two-footer for red clean-up.

  A par 3 (No. 11, 170 yards) and a par 4 (No. 17, 425 yards) also served as stops on Smith’s subpar steamroller. He hit an 8-iron to two feet on the first, a 52-degree wedge 128 yards to 10 feet on the latter. Those conversions washed out a pair of back nine bogeys: a missed green on No. 10 (par 4, 330 yards) with a wedge from 120 yards; a 9-iron out of a divot on No. 13 (par 4, 433 yards). Ironically, it’s a mistake earlier in the round that settled Smith. He carded a double bogey on No. 2 (par 4, 378 yards) after taking relief from a nestled lie against stonewall left of the fairway and three-putting.

  “After that, it was just like, ‘Let’s chip away at it. Let’s make a birdie,’” Smith said. “I learned to take that mentality with me next time. It was good to feel that.”

  Cooley, too, chipped away down the stretch. He clobbered a 6-iron 200 yards to 15 feet and converted a right-to-left breaker for eagle on No. 18.

  “It started off very badly. I was 5 over through four holes and thought it was going to be another one of those days,” Cooley said.

  Huntingdon Valley holds 12 Team Championship titles — its last coming in 2004. Smith, a three-year member, knows its personal — and physical — prowess.

  “The golf course has taught me a lot: how to maneuver my way, which I can bring out here and get a lot more flat lies,” he said. “The putting and chipping is tough when I’m there. It’s definitely prepared me to go on the road.”

  Commonwealth National will make its fifth straight and seventh overall Team Championship appearance. In addition to its victory a year ago, Commonwealth won in 2009. Philadelphia Cricket, which captured the BMW GAP Team Matches a month ago, triumphed in 2013. Mercer Oaks last advanced to the Championship proper in 2010.

  The Team Championship Qualifier determines which four Member Clubs will compete in the Team Championship. Participants must field at least six players to be eligible.

  The Championship proper features eight-man teams playing an alternate shot format in the morning, with singles matches in the afternoon.

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 151 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

Team

Total

Huntingdon Valley CC

291

Daniel Pinciotti, Jr.

78

Benjamin Cooley

73*

Sean Seese

76*

Liam McGrath

73*

Benjamin Smith

69*

Michael Rogers

83

Philadelphia Cricket Club

294

John Brennan

73*

Ryan Gelrod

73*

Daniel Feeney

78

Sean Semenetz

84

Conrad Von Borsig

74*

G. Patrick Dougherty

74*

Commonwealth National GC

299

Scott McLaughlin

74*

Brett Diakon

79

Matthew Teesdale

80

Brian Fischer

77*

Kyle Martin

76*

Matt Cocco

72*

Mercer Oaks GC

304

Brian Komline

75*

Glenn Smeraglio

76*

Justin VanHyning

78*

Brian Dempster

75*

Matt O'Connell

82

Jim Schulz, Jr.

84

Failed to qualify

Whitford CC

305

Peter Blok

86

Nicholas DiBona

83

David West

75*

Bruce Cowgill

81*

Owen Mulhern

77*

Kevin Conners, Jr.

72*

Philmont CC

307

Matthew Crescenzo

76*

Joe Perese

81*

Evan Galbreath

73*

John Simone

77*

Louis Kelly, Jr.

82

Leonard Pearson

83

DuPont CC

312

Mark Wachter

87

Michael Abens

76*

Matthew Finger

76*

Alan Lazzarino

89

Chase Miller

80*

Scott Cahayla

80*

Tavistock CC

319

Matt Raudenbush

82*

James Kaiser

99

Michael Tash

86

Jamie Slonis

82*

Cody Dazen

81*

Kyle Raudenbush

74*

Aronimink GC

319

Dan Bernard

91*

Michael Davis

78*

Max Siegfried

WD

Cory Siegfried

72*

Ryan Bowman

78*

Mac Walsh

93

Makefield Highlands GC

324

Edward Erickson

83*

John Cyb

78*

Steven Budenz

88

James Bell, III

84*

Matt Winn

84

Christopher Reedman

79*

Whitemarsh Valley CC

331

Gerald Bowes, Jr.

88

John Frampton

82*

Drew O'Neill

86*

Richard Atcavage

82*

Brian Corcoran

92

Frank Polizzi

81*

Old York Road CC

333

John Samaha

76*

Dan Clark

88*

Edward Kelly, Jr.

85*

Bryan Marvin

93

Jim Rosenbaum

84*

Mitch Harris

93

* — counted toward team total

WD — withdrawal

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