Cricketâ€™s Semenetz claims medal in #GAPMidAm Qual. at Greate Bay
SOMERS POINT, N.J. â€” Itâ€™s shaping up to be a critical few weeks for Philadelphia Cricket Clubâ€™s Sean Semenetz. A new job, a national championship appearance, and now, a GAP Major berth are all in the cards in the coming days and weeks.
Semenetz, a former Drexel Dragon, traversed Greate Bay Country Clubâ€™s track (par 70, 6,488 yards) with minimal blemishes and three birdies en route to a 1-over round of 71. That card earned him medalist honors for the dayâ€™s Middle-Amateur Championship Qualifier presented by Callaway Golf.
The Cricketeer bettered a field of 82 #GAPMidAm hopefuls. The low 18 players and ties secured their tee times in the Championship proper to be played May 23-24 at Llanerch Country Club.
By day's end, the cut line stopped at 7-over 77 in the first of four Qualifiers which featured a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start.
The last time a #GAPMidAm Qualifier was contested at Greate Bay â€“ or at least, was attempted â€“ was in late April 2016. On that fateful day, players took the course, only to be faced with an unwelcomed snow storm. Play was called after just a few holes as golfers walked off the course with ice dangling from their hats. The event was pushed back two weeks in order to find warmer weather.
Today? Not the case. It was, to put it simply, a spring awakening for the field.
It was even more sublime for Semenetz.
â€śThis was big for me. The Mid.-Am. is my favorite event. Being someone who is over 25, works every day, itâ€™s nice to compete against those guys that share that with you,â€ť said Semenetz, 31, of Philadelphia, Pa. â€śI like to have a cocktail, play some good golf, thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about. To walk away with my first medal, too, made qualifying even better.â€ť
The Cricketeer began his round on No. 2 (par 4, 434 yards), feeling comfortable from the get go. Pars paired with the occasional bogey were the theme early on, but a red number on the par-5, 541-yard 6th gave him the confidence he needed going forward. It was there where a driver-hybrid combination led him to a chip and a putt for a tap-in birdie.
It was more of the same steady golf until Semenetz kicked his game up a notch headed to the home stretch. On No. 15, he drilled a driver down the center of the fairway, crushed a hybrid that rolled up near the front of the green, pitched safely onto the green and converted his second birdie of the day.
Semenetz ultimately clinched the medal honor with a birdie on Greate Bayâ€™s opener (par 4, 380 yards), his last hole of the day. He smoked a driver with the wind at his back, leaving a short wedge into the green that left him with a testy 20-footer. Semenetz drained it.
â€śIt literally looked like it went six different ways. But hey, it went down,â€ť he said. â€śIt was the perfect way to top the round off.â€ť The Philadelphia, Pa. native has made two #GAPMidAm appearances â€“ Gulph Mills (2014) and St. Davids 2015). Heâ€™s experienced in GAP Major qualifying play. Therefore, he knew what he had to do today.
â€śThe motto of the day was just to survive and advance. Period. We did that,â€ť he said. â€śOur group was all playing [near the top of the leaderboard], so we were keeping it positive out there. Good vibes all around.â€ť
Semenetz is also experienced on the national stage as well. Partner Jack Wallace and he have qualified for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship three out of the previous four years. That wild success rate has earned them the nickname of â€śFour-Ball legendsâ€ť among GAP players.
The duo will head down to Tequesta, Fla. to compete in this yearâ€™s rendition, May 19-23 at Jupiter Hills Club.
â€śIf we reach the Finals of the Four-Ball, we wonâ€™t be able to play in the Mid.-Am. Either way, we wanted to come out here and put together a good competitive round so we could shake the rust off. Weâ€™re hedging our bets a little bit, but obviously want to do well in both events,â€ť he said.
The most important date on his calendar, however, doesnâ€™t fall in May. Itâ€™s Monday. Semenetz begins a new software sales position with Entech, a global provider of consumer lending platforms.
â€śIâ€™ve been trying to live it up a little before then, trying to sneak in as much golf as I can,â€ť said Semenetz, who travels on Sunday to Saucon Valley Country Club to compete in Cricketâ€™s opening week of the BMW GAP Team Matches. â€śItâ€™s going to be a big Monday for me.â€ť
The Golf Association of Philadelphiaâ€™s Middle-Amateur Championship started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Amateur 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 Middle-Amateur was for players 30 years of age and older.
The Associationâ€™s 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.
Golf Association of Philadelphia