#BMWGTM: Week Two paints clearer Playoff picture
Here is a simple way to examine the Week Two aftermath of the BMW GAP Team Matches. Odd Sections say â€świn and youâ€™re in.â€ť Even Sections say â€śpoints-pending, wins-preferred.â€ť
Letâ€™s start with the stalwarts in the eventâ€™s top-tier. Reigning Playoff participants Glenmaura National Golf Club, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, Little Mill Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club 1 all remain undefeated entering Week Three. Cricket (2â€“0), the defending BMW GAP Team Matches champion, cruised past Applebrook Golf Club (0â€“2), 40â€“14, to ensure a fateful matchup with Commonwealth National Golf Club (2â€“0) in Week Three.
Commonwealth Nationalâ€™s last Playoff appearance came in 2009, when it captured its second title (2007).
To preserve such an opportunity, Commonwealth National (2â€“0) knocked off Saucon Valley Country Club (0â€“2), 32â€“22. Two-time Harry Hammond Award winner Ron Robinson accrued 2.5 of a possible three singles points in a match against reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Matthew Mattare. The â€śKiller Vsâ€ť â€” Mike Valentine and Vincent Varvolis â€” continue to sting at home. Playing in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots at home, the two again swept their better-ball match in Week Two.
Like Commonwealth National, Llanerch Country Club (2â€“0) posted a Week Two win to move closer to a postseason berth. It defeated Merion Golf Club (0â€“2), 34.5â€“19.5.
â€śConditions were very tough at both places with the weather. The wind picked up at Llanerch in the afternoon,â€ť Tom Spano, Llanerchâ€™s captain, said. â€śIt was definitely a factor. [The green speeds at Llanerch] played a role as well.â€ť
Newcomer Michael Quartermain is among those leading the Llanerch charge. He joined the club a year ago and promptly won its menâ€™s championship. Quartermain swept both the singles and better-ball portion of his match against Merion to join Dan Brown as the teamâ€™s top scorers through two weeks.
â€śHe doesnâ€™t get a chance to play a lot of tournament golf, but heâ€™s really stepped up the first two weeks (in the BMW GAP Team Matches),â€ť Spano said. â€śWeâ€™re thrilled. He never played Aronimink (Golf Club) and went over there and got points [in Week One]. He never played Merion West. He went there and got points. Heâ€™s a road warrior. Iâ€™m very pleased that heâ€™s stepped up and is doing what heâ€™s doing.â€ť
Llanerch will encounter Division AAâ€™s top scorers in Zach Arsenault and Thomas Hyland when it faces Little Mill Country Club (2â€“0). The two, ironically, last met in Week Three of the 2015 BMW GAP Team Matches with a Playoff spot on the line. Llanerch prevailed, 32.5â€“21.5, that year.
â€śWe have a lot of positive thoughts going into this week,â€ť Spano, 35, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. â€śIt really comes down to what away team plays the best since we have such distinct home-course advantages. Little Mill is a very tight course. They have homers there who seem to get a lot of points at home. There is a lot of local knowledge around the Llanerch greens, so we get a lot of points at home. Whatever away team does its job the best is going to come out on top. Little Mill has a very deep team. Theyâ€™ve had a lot of success in the (BMW GAP) Team Matches over the last decade.â€ť
In Sections 2 and 4, respectively, Glenmaura National (2â€“0) and Huntingdon Valley (2â€“0) sit in the proverbial driverâ€™s seat following hard-fought Week Two battles.
Damp and windy conditions complicated an eventual 13-point victory for the first over Philadelphia Cricket Club 2 (1â€“1).
â€śWe knew it was going to be really tough against (Philadelphia) Cricket (Club) 2. I know the home-weather was nasty, so it was a tough day to play here,â€ť Matthew Dougherty, Glenmaura Nationalâ€™s captain, said. â€śWe had gotten more than an inch and a half of rain in the days preceding yesterday, so I donâ€™t think the course ever really got a chance to dry out from that. It made for difficult conditions for our home team, but they played pretty well yesterday. I couldnâ€™t ask for much more.â€ť
Seeking improvement from Week One at home, Glenmaura delivered by gathering 20.5 points against Philadelphia Cricket Club 2. Dougherty points to the pairing of two-time reigning menâ€™s champion Patrick Mitchell and BMW GAP Team Matches rookie David Mecca as key. The two swept the better-ball portion and accrued a combined 5.5 singles points.
â€śPat Mitchell is one of our veterans,â€ť Dougherty, 39, of Alton, Pa., said. â€śHeâ€™s very good at home. He knows the golf course inside-out. I thought it would be helpful for David to play alongside Pat and maybe get some experience. I was able to talk to them both yesterday. David was appreciative of the guidance Pat gave him.â€ť
Glenmaura National leads Philadelphia Cricket Club 2 and Overbrook Golf Club (1â€“1) by 11.5 points entering Week Three. It faces an Overbrook team coming off a 25.5-point performance at home in Week Two against Makefield Highlands Golf Club (0â€“2).
â€śWe saw what Overbrook did at home to Makefield, which was eye-opening. We know thereâ€™s a home-course advantage there, and their team is loaded with veteran players,â€ť Dougherty said. â€śWeâ€™ll have our full line-up next week, which is nice. We just need to make sure we get the right people to the right place. Itâ€™s going to be a tough match. Itâ€™s nice to have a lead in points. We canâ€™t take it for granted.â€ť
What Huntingdon Valley lacks in a points-lead it makes up for record-wise. The 32-time BMW GAP Team Matches victors edged Tavistock Country Club by six points to stand atop Section 4.
â€śEverybody contributed. Everybody got a point. It was great to see,â€ť Dan Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valleyâ€™s captain, said. â€ś[Conditions were] brutal, windy and cold. Tavistock was in great shape. Theyâ€™re doing some renovations there and cutting some trees down. You can really feel the winds whipping through that place, which I think will benefit the club in the future.â€ť
Huntingdon Valleyâ€™s away team posted 12.5 points to Tavistockâ€™s 14.5. It relied on a 17.5-point performance at home for an ultimate haymaker. Overall, Huntingdon Valley trails Lu Lu Country Club (1â€“1) by 3.5 and only leads Tavistock by two in the points category. It will oppose LedgeRock Golf Club (0â€“2), which holds 22.5 points to its credit, in Week Three.
â€śI know LedgeRock is in last place in our Section right now, but theyâ€™re still a tough team to play,â€ť Pinciotti, 46, of Ivyland, Pa., said.
This is the 118th playing of the BMW GAP Team Matches.
BMW GAP Team Matches
Golf Association of Philadelphia