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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 event’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, 33–12–4. 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.

  “At the beginning of each year, my goal is always to make the Mason-Dixon and Compher Cup teams,” Achenbach, 39, of Royersford, Pa., said. “When I’m able to make it, that validates what happened the previous year. It’s a great honor to be named to the team. If I’m ever invited, I always take advantage of the invitation.”

  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.

  “Philmont is a very challenging golf course, to say the least,” Achenbach said. “I think home course knowledge will really help because I’m sure most of the guys have played there in some type of GAP event before.”

  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.

  “It’s a huge honor to be able represent the GAP. It’s a culmination of a good year,” 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.

  “I feel like I’m closing in on mid-season stride months earlier than usual,” Hudacek said. “I’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, I’ve been working on the physical side of the game — getting longer and stronger so I can compete with some of the guys who were hitting the ball farther than I was.”

  Fellow newcomer Mason also strives to tap into last year’s success. He captured two of the Association’s four Majors en route to William Hyndman, III Player of the Year honors.

  “I’d like to win my match and hopefully represent [the Golf Association of] Philadelphia well,” Mason, 23, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said. “I’d like to have a good time out there, get ready for the season and talk with the guys. We’ve got a pretty good squad. Everybody is phenomenal.”

  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 5–1 lead in the morning foursomes’ 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 “to promote golf between the groups.”

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