*97.5 The Fanatic Compher Cup Preview
*2012 Player Bios
Team GAP seeks fifth Compher Cup victory in last six years
The Golf Association of Philadelphia eyes a third consecutive Compher Cup crown when it battles its New Jersey counterparts April 25 at Philmont Country Club (North).
Representing GAP in the eventâ€™s 51st edition are (appearances in parentheses): Andy Achenbach, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve (sixth); Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club (first); Michael Brown, Philadelphia Publinks GA (fourth); Robert Galbreath, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club (fourth); Stephen Hudacek, III, Glenmaura National Golf Club (first); Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club (first); Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley (first); Mike Meisenzahl, Little Mill Country Club (second); Jeff Osberg, Llanerch Country Club (second); Stephen Seiden of Llanerch (third); Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club (sixth) and Glenn Smeraglio of Mercer Oaks Golf Course (11th).
To date, the Golf Association of Philadelphia leads the series, 33â€“12â€“4. The Compher Cup Matches started, but were rained out, in 2005.
The affable Achenbach will captain Team GAP. He makes his sixth Compher Cup appearance, but first since 2006.
â€śAt the beginning of each year, my goal is always to make the Mason-Dixon and Compher Cup teams,â€ť Achenbach, 39, of Royersford, Pa., said. â€śWhen Iâ€™m able to make it, that validates what happened the previous year. Itâ€™s a great honor to be named to the team. If Iâ€™m ever invited, I always take advantage of the invitation.â€ť
Achenbach certainly does make the most of his Compher opportunities. He is undefeated in the singles portion, boasting a 4-0-1 record. Course familiarity may allow Achenbach to extend that streak and GAP to attain its fifth victory in the last six years.
â€śPhilmont is a very challenging golf course, to say the least,â€ť Achenbach said. â€śI think home course knowledge will really help because Iâ€™m sure most of the guys have played there in some type of GAP event before.â€ť
A healthy mix of Compher Cup veterans and newcomers will carry the GAP torch at Philmont. Hudacek is one of the rookies hoping to contribute to a triumph.
â€śItâ€™s a huge honor to be able represent the GAP. Itâ€™s a culmination of a good year,â€ť Hudacek, 24, of Moosic, Pa., said.
Like most golfers, Hudacek, the 2011 GAP Amateur runner-up, made the most of an unseasonably warm winter. He played more than 20 rounds to keep his game fresh.
â€śI feel like Iâ€™m closing in on mid-season stride months earlier than usual,â€ť Hudacek said. â€śIâ€™ve really been working at adding some length to my game. I think that was my biggest drawback last season. I kind of got through the summer with a hot putter. This year, Iâ€™ve been working on the physical side of the game â€” getting longer and stronger so I can compete with some of the guys who were hitting the ball farther than I was.â€ť
Fellow newcomer Mason also strives to tap into last yearâ€™s success. He captured two of the Associationâ€™s four Majors en route to William Hyndman, III Player of the Year honors.
â€śIâ€™d like to win my match and hopefully represent [the Golf Association of] Philadelphia well,â€ť Mason, 23, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said. â€śIâ€™d like to have a good time out there, get ready for the season and talk with the guys. Weâ€™ve got a pretty good squad. Everybody is phenomenal.â€ť
In the Compher Cup, each association fields a 12-man team with players simultaneously competing in a singles match and four-ball match. A total of 18 points is available. Matches that end in a tie result in a half point for the team.
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. That year, the NJSGA side forged a 5â€“1 lead in the morning foursomesâ€™ competitions and held serve in the afternoon singles matches for an 11.5-6.5 victory.
After the New Jersey victory, Compher, who was known at the time as the most successful NJSGA president in its history, presented the trophy â€śto promote golf between the groups.â€ť