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GAP announces Compher Cup team

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia announced its 2004 Compher Cup Matches team on Monday.

Team Philadelphia
Anthony Apostolico, Deerfield G&TC
Chris Gallagher, Penn Oaks GC
Brian Gillespie, St. Davids GC
Chris Lange, Overbrook GC
David Liotta, Whitemarsh Valley CC
Rich Pruchnik, West Chester G&CC
John Robinson, Commonwealth National GC
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock CC
Glenn Smeraglio, Yardley CC
*Michael Tash, Tavistock CC
P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC
James White, Philadelphia Cricket Club
 
*-captain
  The 43rd annual matches, which pit Philadelphia against the New Jersey State Golf Association, are set for April 28 at Bent Creek Country Club in Lititz, Pa. To date, the Golf Association of Philadelphia leads the series 28–10–4.

  Michael Tash of Tavistock Country Club, the reigning Amateur Champion, will captain the Philadelphia team. This will be Tash’s seventh Compher Cup appearance, but first as team captain.

  "Being named captain is an honor for a couple of reasons," said Tash, 42, of Glassboro, N.J. "Your selection to the team is based on your good play from the prior year and being selected as captain is a reflection of the number of times you have participated on the team."

  Tash recently captained the victorious 2002 Mason-Dixon Matches. In those matches, Philadelphia took a commanding, 5 1/2-1/2, lead after the better-ball competition before cruising to a 10-8 victory.

  "There are times when personalities [matter] and when playing with someone with similar golf games means a lot," said Tash of his thoughts on determining pairings for his team. "And with a handful of rookies (five first-time members), you try to pair them with a veteran so they can be comfortable."

  And about the day? "It’s a lot about relationship building with guys you don’t normally see or play with. It’s a nice way to test your game against great competition and a bunch of great guys."

  Each association fields a 12-man team with players simultaneously competing in a singles match and four-ball match. There are a total of 18 possible points. Matches that end in a tie result in a half point for the team.

   In addition to Tash, returning to the Compher Cup Matches for the Golf Association of Philadelphia are (appearances in parentheses): Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC (fourth), Chris Lange of Overbrook GC (21st), John Robinson of Commonwealth National GC (second), Jamie Slonis of Tavistock CC (fourth), Glenn Smeraglio of Yardley CC (fourth) and P. Chet Walsh of Philadelphia CC (10th).

  Newcomers to the Compher Cup Matches are Anthony Apostolico of Deerfield G&TC, Chris Gallagher of Penn Oaks GC, David Liotta of Whitemarsh Valley CC, Rich Pruchnik of West Chester G&CC and James White of Philadelphia Cricket Club.

  "It’s one of those things we all try to play for and be invited to," said Smeraglio, 44, of Newtown, Pa. "It marks the beginning of the season. It’s [an event] you want to play well in to keep up Philadelphia’s longstanding winning tradition."

  Last year, the GAP and the NJSGA tied, 9-9, at Somerset Hills Country Club in Bernardsville, N.J. Philadelphia retained the Cup because of its victory the year prior. Including last season, Philadelphia has captured six of the last eight meetings outright and retained the Cup on all eight occasions with draws in 2001 and 2003.

  For Bent Creek Country Club, this is its first time hosting the Compher Cup.

  Fred Compher, a former New Jersey State Golf Association president, conceived the neighborhood matches after leaving his post in 1959. Compher donated a silver trophy that year earmarked for such a rivalry.

  In 1961, association representatives Bob Jacobson of New Jersey and Richard Ollmah of GAP completed the details. In 1962, the first Compher Cup matches took place at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J. That year, the NJSGA side forged a 5–1 lead in the morning foursome competitions and held serve in the afternoon singles matches for an 11 1/2–6 1/2 victory.

  After the New Jersey victory, Compher himself, who was known at the time as the most successful NJSGA president in its history, presented the trophy "to promote golf between the groups."

  For a year-by-year history and individual player records, please go to www.gapgolf.org.

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