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Commonwealth National's Smeraglio seizes Marston Cup at Cedarbrook
BLUE BELL, Pa. - His putter may’ve been ugly in appearance, but Glenn Smeraglio’s round Wednesday wasn’t as the Commonwealth National GC member carded a 6-under-par 66 to win the fifth edition of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Marston Cup at Cedarbrook CC (par 72, 6,833 yards).
Smeraglio, of Newtown, Pa., also won the Marston Cup in 2006.
“The more I read about Max Marston, the more impressed I am,” he said. “To win a tournament with his name on it is special. To be on it twice is an honor.”
“Obviously, I putted good,” he said. “I’ve been playing pretty good all year and not making any putts. Today, I broke out a new putter from the basement. It was the ugliest thing I could find. Ugly was good. It seemed to have a good feel. The greens were soft. You could go right at the pins.”
Smeraglio played alongside William McGuinness of Tavistock CC, the 1996 Amateur Champion, and defending Marston Cup Champion Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC, who both carded a 4-under-par 68.
“I think that’s important,” Smeraglio said. “Everyone was pushing each other to make birdies. I think we had 16 birdies in the group.”
Smeraglio set the tone early with a downhill, left-to-right breaking 15-footer for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 395 yards).
“I said, ‘Wow. Maybe this putter’s OK,” he said.
Smergalio rocketed his 3-wood over the green on No. 6 (par 5, 550 yards), but chipped up and converted a two-footer for birdie. After making the turn at 2 under, Smeraglio, 49, fired three straight birdies. He smashed a 5-iron 195 yards to the front fringe and two-putted for birdie on No. 10 (par 5, 530 yards). On No. 11 (par 4, 380 yards), his approach 9-iron soared 140 yards and settled 15-feet from the flagstick. Smeraglio then cleaned up the birdie putt. He blasted a 3-hybrid from 209 yards out on No. 12 (par 5, 515 yards) and again two-putted for birdie.
Smeraglio nearly registered a birdie on the par 3, 13th hole, but his 25-footer stopped just shy of the cup. He dug deeper into red figures the next hole, though, after smashing his 4-iron uphill from 190 yards out to 15 feet. He drained the downhill birdie putt.
“That’s the best hole out there,” Smeraglio said.
Smeraglio will next attempt to qualify for the USGA Middle-Amateur Championship Aug. 31. at Links GC.
Peter Moran of Edgmont CC was one of nine players who finished in red figures Wednesday. Moran, of Chester Springs, Pa., registered five birdies en route to a 2-under-par 70.
“I didn’t really get into too much trouble,” he said. “And when I did, I think I had two holes (Nos. 4 and 18) that I punched out on. I wasn’t sure of some of these corners. In retrospect, it was a couple good pitches that really saved my round.”
On No. 18 (par 4, 391 yards), Moran, of Chester Springs, Pa., drilled his tee shot – a driver - through the fairway, but found himself blocked out thanks to a towering pine tree.
“I couldn’t hit over it, so I just hit a lob wedge into the fairway,” he said.
Moran then pitched up to three feet and drained the ensuing putt to save par. A second critical save came on the par 4, 372-yard No. 4. Moran, 39, drove his tee shot into the left-side rough, but escaped back onto the fairway, pitched it to eight feet and made par.
After beginning his round with back-to-back pars, Moran, who started on the back nine, fired a birdie on No. 12 (par 5, 515 yards). He laid up in front of the creek, and with 66 yards left, Moran stuck his lob wedge to three feet.
Although he three-putted for bogey on the tricky par 3, 13th hole, Moran rattled in a birdie on the next par 3, No. 16 (170 yards). His smooth 7-iron landed six inches left of the flagstick and reeled back. Moran then converted a three-footer.
Moran’s tee shot on No. 17 (par 4, 400 yards) scooted past the fairway bunker and came to rest 130 yards out. He pitched his downhill approach to seven feet left of the flagstick and sank birdie putt.
“That was probably one of my better shots of the day,” Moran said of the pitch. “That’s where I was aiming for.”
A second three-putt for bogey came on No. 1 (par 4, 395 yards). Moran’s 20-footer for birdie stopped eight feet to the left of the cup.
“It looked like it was downhill, but it was a bad putt from the get-go,” he said. “It still fooled me.”
But Moran kept a calm demeanor and fired a birdie on No. 2 (par 5, 535 yards). He blasted out of the right-side rough with a straightaway 4-iron, pitched up to two feet and tapped it in. From 225 yards out on the treacherous No. 6 (par 5, 550 yards), Moran again relied on his 4-iron and smacked it short of the left-side bunker. His pitch stayed straight and settled three feet from the flagstick. Moran converted the birdie putt. His strong round seemed surprising, considering he only hit a bucket of balls two days ago.
“I came in here cold,” Moran said.
In fact, Moran has only played golf at his home club on five occasions this season.
“I’ve been pretty busy,” he said. “My 9 year-old just started football. My 3 year-old just had his birthday on Aug. 11. So I’ve been chasing the boys around, and my wife’s expecting (a baby) in October. Golf isn’t the biggest priority, but I’m addicted to these things (golf tournaments).”
Throughout the year, Moran has stood on the outside looking in, so to speak. He missed the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Open Championship by two strokes, the Joseph H. Patterson Cup by a stroke and the Amateur Championship by two strokes. He also fell in Edgmont CC’s Championship to Michael Quinn in a playoff.
“I’ve been about four shots from having a really good summer,” Moran said. “It (winning the Marston Cup) would've been a highlight, for sure. This would've been nice.”
For four months in the summer of 1923, Marston was America’s best amateur golfer. Between mid-May and mid-September, Marston was virtually unstoppable through a series of club, state, national and international events.
It began with the Walker Cup Matches where Marston won two matches as the Americans successfully retained the Cup. Marston returned home to capture the Patterson Cup and Amateur Championship in successive weeks and, in doing so, earned the Silver Cross Award. In July, he took the Pennsylvania Amateur title and finished as the low amateur in the Philadelphia Open.
In September, Marston traveled to Floosmoor Country Club outside Chicago, Ill. for the U.S. Amateur. He rallied in the second round to defeat tournament favorite Bob Jones, 2&1, before knocking off Francis Ouimet in the semifinals. He stopped defending champion Jess Sweetser in the final on the 38th hole.
In that four month span, he also captured the Merion Cricket Club championship and Pine Valley GC’s Crump Cup.