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April 21, 2017

GAP looks to retain Compher Cup at Baltusrol (Lower)

  The Compher Cup trophy has belonged to the Golf Association of Philadelphia for three consecutive years. A strong GAP roster will look to keep the winning streak alive in the 56th playing of the honorary team event, set for April 26 at Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower) in Springfield, N.J.

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  The all-time record stands in favor of the GAP, 36–13–5. Last year’s 14–4 win over the New Jersey State Golf Association was the largest margin defeat since 2000. The Association has claimed the trophy in nine of the previous 11 Compher Cup renditions.

  Neil McDermott, who served as Association president from 2002-05, was selected as this year’s honorary team captain. The father of three GAP stalwarts (Brian, Kevin and Michael) will be responsible for pairings and the selection of one player to the team roster. McDermott also holds Compher Cup playing experience, having competed for the GAP in 1997 at Plainfield Country Club.

  “I was very honored when I received the phone call,” said McDermott, 69, of Newtown Square, Pa. “When I look back at my entire relationship with GAP, I’ve had a number of rewarding experiences, including my time served as president. But I’ve always had a special bond with our players, having participated as a player myself, as an official and then on the administrative side of things. Now that I have this opportunity to captain a Compher Cup team. It’ll be another special experience.”

  In the Compher Cup, each association fields a 12-man team. Players simultaneously compete 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.

  “To me, these matches, a competition that we have the privilege to play against the [NJSGA] in, is a great way to begin the season. It’s a wonderful way to get players together, who have been successful, and represent the Association in what is always a good competition overall,” said McDermott.

  A familiar face – and a rather talented one at that – will be deployed by the captain. His son, Michael, the reigning and three-time winner of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur, is playing in the Compher Cup for the first time since 2008.

  “It’s an honor to make any of these teams. It has been something that has been a challenge for me to play in. The last time I played was the year I started having kids,” said the younger McDermott, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “This year, especially with my dad being the captain, it should be very exciting. This was an easy one to say that I’m in for.”

  The 42-year-old is one of the few players on the roster with competitive playing experience on Baltusrol’s famed Lower Course, which has hosted a number of Major Championships, most recently being the 2016 PGA Championship. The five-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year was in the field when Baltusrol hosted the 2000 U.S. Amateur on their Upper track.

  “I’m looking forward to heading back up there. It’s been a while, so it’ll be fun for sure,” he said. “We’ll all be shaking off the early-season rust but hopefully we’ll be able to pull off the win from the back tees at Baltusrol.”

  Fred Compher, a former NJSGA 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 New Jersey’s 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”.

  Take a look at the full GAP roster below:

Neil McDermott, Llanerch Country Club
Honorary captain

Served as Association president from 2002-05 … played for the GAP in the 1997 Compher Cup ... father of Compher Cup player Michael McDermott, winner of the 2016 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship... McDermott has teamed up with his three sons, Michael, Kevin and Brian, en route to six overall Father & Son Championships... began his service to the Association in 1997 as a volunteer on the Executive Committee.


Christopher Ault, Yardley Country Club
Third appearance (2010, 2015)

  2016 accomplishments: Reached the Round of 16 in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion Golf Club before falling to Gregor Orlando, 4&3 ... tied for eighth in the Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf ... finished T44 in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup ... finished tied ninth in the Silver Cross Award standings … placed 12th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Peter Barron, III, Stone Harbor Golf Club
Third appearance (2012, 2015)

  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 … placed sixth in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club
Eighth appearance (2009-11, 2013-16)

  2016 accomplishments: Qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship 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 … placed 17th in the 2016 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings ... placed 17th in the 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 make 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 Country Club’s Matt Holuta, 1-up … placed third in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Ben Feld, Green Valley Country Club
Second appearance (2015)

  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 … placed 15th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Matthew Finger, DuPont Country Club
Second appearance (2015)

  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 Championship at Stonewall … finished seventh in the Delaware State Amateur Championship at Wild Quail … placed 13th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Michael McDermott, Merion Golf Club
Sixth appearance (2000, 2003, 2006-08)

  2016 accomplishments: Winner of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at his home club ... reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall, falling to eventual champion Stewart Hagestad (Newport Beach Calif.), 2 down ... tied for third in the Open Championship ... tied for eighth in the Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf… tied for fourth in the Joseph H. Patterson Cup … runner-up in the Silver Cross Award standings, just two shots back of winner Jeff Osberg … finished second in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Scott McLaughlin, Lu Lu Country Club
Second appearance (2016)

  2016 accomplishments: 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, in the Round of 64 … 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 … placed 16th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Jeff Osberg, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
Fourth appearance (2011-13)

  2016 accomplishments: Won the Silver Cross Award with a total score of 284 (76-71-68-69) ... took home the GAP Open Championship title at The Ridge at Back Brook after defeating Christopher Crawford in a four-hole aggregate playoff (17 to 18) ... won the Joseph H. Patterson Cup by defeating David Hicks in a four-hole aggregate playoff (16 to 18) ... won the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year for the second time in a row.


Stephen Seiden, Llanerch Country Club
Fourth appearance (2008-09, 2012)

  2016 accomplishments: Reached the semifinals of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Merion before falling to Jeff Osberg, 4&3 ... placed 19th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Ben Smith, Huntingdon Valley Country Club
Second appearance (2016)

  2016 accomplishments: 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 … grabbed a share of fifth place in the GAP Open Championship at The Ridge at Back Brook … finished seventh in the Silver Cross Award standings … placed 11th in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.


Jay Whitby, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club
First appearance

  2016 accomplishments: Repeated as champion in the Delaware Amateur on his home course of Wild Quail ... reached the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship quarterfinals where he fell to teammate Stephen Seiden in 21 holes ... won the Delaware State Golf Association Player of the Year Award ... finished as runner-up in the Delaware Open Championship at Deerfield Golf & Country Club … placed ninth in the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.

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