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Philadelphia defeats New Jersey; retains Compher Cup

  PINE VALLEY, N.J.– The Golf Association of Philadelphia defeated the New Jersey State Golf Association, 12 1/2–5 1/2, to retain the Compher Cup on Monday at venerable Pine Valley Golf Club. The Compher Cup is the annual early season match between the two neighboring state associations.

  Team Philadelphia officially closed out its cross-river brethren when team captain Jamie Slonis of Tavistock CC posted a 1-up victory over Tom Hyland of Little Mill CC in their singles match. That gave the Golf Association of Philadelphia 9 1/2 points. As the reigning cup holder, Team Philly needed nine points to retain the trophy.

Michael McDermott of Merion GC launches
his tee ball on the treacherous fifth
hole (par 3, 238 yards) with a driving iron.
  “I expected us to do well because we had a good mix of first-time Compher Cup players and veterans,” said Slonis. “When I set the pairings, I wanted to put the veterans with the first timers. I also knew certain players were more familiar with the golf course than others and that would be a big help to those rookies who have never played Pine Valley before.”

  Slonis’ strategy proved perfect. Team Philadelphia took 12 out of the 18 matches and halved another. It won eight singles and four better-ball contests. Its half point came in a singles match.

  A look at the highlights:

  In the initial group, first-time Compher Cup members Stephen Seiden of Concord CC and partner Raymond Thompson of Overbrook GC, the Senior Player of the Year and a veteran visitor of Pine Valley Golf Club, each registered singles wins and together a better-ball victory.

  In the second group, rookie Philip Arouca of Philadelphia Publinks GA defeated Merv Smith of High Mountain GC, 2-up. Arouca drained a 25-foot birdie on the final hole to clinch the win.

Steve Seiden (red shirt) and Ray Thompson (black
shirt, third from right) shake hands after securing
victories in both of their singles matches
and better-ball contest.
  In group four, Chris Lange of Overbrook GC, a veteran of 23 Compher Cups and also a Pine Valley GC member, defeated Roger Hoit of Baltusrol GC for the second straight year, this time 3&1. Lange and partner Robert Robertson of Sunnybrook GC, a senior at Chestnut Hill Academy and the Association’s Junior Player of the Year, also earned a point with a 1-up victory in their better ball match. Robertson halved his individual match.

  In the fifth group, Mark Miller of Yardley CC won the first four holes en route to a 4&2 victory over Bill McGuinness of Tavistock CC. He and partner Slonis also won their better-ball match, 2&1.

  In the last group, Michael McDermott of Merion GC and Pine Valley GC, closed out Brian Kromline of High Bridge Hills CC, 5&4.

  Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, last year’s Team Philadelphia captain, registered the other singles victory on the day, a 1-up win over Allan Small of Fairmount CC.

  Overall, the Golf Association of Philadelphia leads the Compher Cup series 31-11-4.

  The Compher Cup pits a 12-man team from each association simultaneously competing in a singles match and better-ball match. There are a total of 18 possible points. 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 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 to cruise to 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.”

  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 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

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