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Sept. 30, 2016

Philadelphia Challenge Matches set for Saucon Valley

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia looks to make its rightful return to the winner’s circle in this year’s Philadelphia Challenge Matches to be played Oct. 6 at Saucon Valley Country Club (Grace).

| History | Player records |

  The event pits the Association against counterparts from the Philadelphia Section of the PGA. Both organizations field teams of 12. Two of the 12 players on each squad must be of Senior age (55 or older). The format is a four-ball stroke play match running concurrently with an individual match.

  In last year’s edition, the Philadelphia Section of the PGA defeated the Golf Association of Philadelphia, 14.5-3.5, at Applebrook Golf Club. The Associations last victory came in 2013.

  Saucon Valley will play host to the Challenge Matches for the first time this year on its gorgeous Grace course. Robin McCool, who will once again serve as the GAP team captain, will lead the talented dozen on his home track.

  “It is a very proud moment for me as the [Philadelphia Challenge Matches] founder to have this year’s hosted by my home club. It is also exciting to play the matches on the Grace Course, my personal favorite,” said McCool. “Our Superintendent Jim Roney and his staff have the course in perfect condition. A recently completed restoration of the Grace Course by architect Andrew Green will provide an excellent test for these fine players.”

  “I am particularly excited about the outlook for this year’s team. The lineup is not only full of great players, but everybody really wants to be here,” said McCool. “From the point of view of team chemistry this is very important.”

  That outlook includes a healthy mix of veteran honorary team players, combined with three talented first-timers. However, at least one of those rookies, the host club's Matthew Mattare, will be called upon by McCool to serve in a leadership role.

  “It's always an honor to be selected for these teams and to represent the GAP in an official capacity,” said Mattare, who won the GAP Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf at Waynesborough Country Club in May. “Oftentimes it's tough to find an extra day off for golf once the fall arrives, but the combination of Captain McCool and Saucon as a venue meant I was going to figure out a way to make it work.”

  The Philadelphia Section of the PGA leads the all-time series, 19-4-2.

  Below is a look at this year’s GAP team.

Amateurs

Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club
Fourth appearance (2009-11)

2016 accomplishments: Finished tied for seventh in the GAP Open Championship at The Ridge at Back Brook … won the Delaware State Golf Association’s Open Championship … tied for 15th in the Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf … reached match play in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur at Merion … reached the quarterfinals in the New Jersey State Mid-Amateur Championship … finished tied for ninth in the Silver Cross Award standings … currently sixth in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Sixth appearance (2008-10, 2012-13)

2016 accomplishments: Qualified for the U.S. Mid Amateur at Stonewall… finished seventh in the GAP Middle-Amateur Championship at Waynesborough … advanced to match play before falling in the Round of 64 to Dan Sullivan (Pasadena, Calif.), 3&2 … currently 17th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Michael R. Brown, Jr., Philadelphia Publinks GA
Seventh appearance (2008-11, 2013, 2015)

2016 accomplishments: Reached the Round of 16 in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion before falling to teammate Stephen Seiden, 5&4 … Finished tied for 40th in the GAP Open Championship at The Ridge at Back Brook … tied for eighth in the Pennsylvania State Amateur at Moselem Springs reached match play in the R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship at St. Davids, where he fell in the Round of 16 to Luke Miller in 19 holes … reached the quarterfinals in the New Jersey State Mid-Amateur Championship … currently 13th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Christopher Crawford, Spring Mill Country Club
First appearance

2016 accomplishments: Played in the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club after qualifying with a 6-under-par 138 total to secure the sixth and final spot in a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier at Canoe Brook Country Club… sank a 40-foot birdie putt to grab the last qualifying spot … finished as runner-up in the GAP Open Championship after being defeated in a four-hole aggregate playoff by eventual champion Jeff Osberg … qualified for the U.S. Amateur, failing to miss the match-play cut in the championship proper … placed third in the Pennsylvania State Amateur at Moselem Springs with a 5-under-total of 205 … reached the semifinals of the R. Jay Sigel Match-Play Championship at St. Davids, where he fell to Indiana Valley Country Club’s Matt Holuta, 1-up … currently third in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Ben Feld, Green Valley Country Club
Second appearance (2014)

2016 accomplishments: Advanced to the Round of 16 in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion before falling to Jeff Osberg, 1-up … tied for ninth in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Huntingdon Valley … finished sixth in the Silver Cross Award standings … currently 15th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club
Third appearance (2013-14)

2016 accomplishments: Finished as runner-up in the Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf at Waynesborough… tied for ninth in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Huntingdon Valley … qualified for the U.S. Mid Amateur at Stonewall … finished seventh in the Delaware State Amateur Championship at Wild Quail … currently 12th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club
First appearance

2016 accomplishments: Won the GAP Middle-Amateur Championship at Waynesborough where he outlasted Michael R. Brown, Jr. of Philadelphia Publinks GA and Matt Finger of DuPont Country Club in a four-hole aggregate playoff for his first GAP Major title … finished tied for third in the GAP Open Championship at The Ridge at Back Brook … reached match play in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion before falling to R.J. Wren in the Round of 32, 4&3 … currently fourth in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Scott McLaughlin, Lu Lu Country Club
Third appearance (2011, 2015)

2016 accomplishments: Placed tied for fourth in the GAP Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf at Waynesborough … reached match play in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion before falling to Michael McDermott, 3&2 … reached match play in the R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship at St. Davids, where he fell in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Matt Holuta, 1-up … tied for fourth in the Pennsylvania State Amateur at Moselem Springs … currently 16th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Stephen Seiden, Llanerch Country Club
Third appearance (2008, 2013)

2016 accomplishments: Reached the semifinals of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion before falling to Jeff Osberg, 4&3 … finished tied for ninth in the Silver Cross Award standings … currently 19th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Benjamin Smith, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
Fifth appearance (2012-15)

2016 accomplishments: Finished tied for fourth in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup at his home club, firing rounds of 2-over 72 followed by a 2-under 68 … Finished tied for fifth in the GAP Open Championship at The Ridge at Back Brook … finished seventh in the Silver Cross Award standings … currently 10th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Seniors

Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club
First appearance

2016 accomplishments:Won the GAP Senior Amateur Championship at White Manor with a first-round, 1-over-par 72 combined with a 1-under 70 in the final round… medaled in the USGA Senior Amateur Qualifier at Cedarbrook after firing 3-under-round of 69 … advanced to match play in the championship proper before falling to Matthew Saugh (Arlington, Va.) in the Round of 64, 4&2 … won the Delaware State Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship … currently fourth in the GAP Senior Player of the Year standings.


Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu Country Club
Sixth appearance (1998, 2001-02, 2004, 2011)

2016 accomplishments: Won the Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross) with a score of 72 … runner-up in the 46th Senior Amateur Championship; carded rounds of 72 and 71 … tied for fourth in the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup (Gross) … won the Senior Silver Cross Award with a score of 290 … won the Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play alongside Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. of Saucon Valley Country Club … advanced to the Round of 16 in the 116th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion Golf Club; lost to R.J. Wren of Applecross Country Club, 2&1 … tied for third in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship … ranked second in the GAP Senior Player of the Year standings.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 150 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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