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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Updike helps Malvern Prep take control of Inter-Ac race

   We got a little mention in the high school roundup in Friday’s Daily Times about the performance of Malvern Prep freshman John Updike in leading the Friars to its third consecutive sweep in Round 3 of the Inter-Ac League’s six mini-tournaments, this one hosted by The Haverford School at Gulph Mills Golf Club Thursday.
   Updike, a Wayne resident and a member at Aronimink Golf Club, fired a 33 on the front nine at Gulph Mills and Malvern Prep coach Gary Duda reported that no freshman had ever gone that low since the Inter-Ac went to its mini-tournament setup when the league switched from playing in the spring to the fall in 2011. He didn’t specify if that was the lowest score by a freshman at any course or at Gulph Mills, but it was an impressive performance either way.
   The Friars’ second best score also came from another freshman, Matt Civitella, who had a 1-over 36. Rounding out their top six counters were senior Mike Miller (39), senior Jimmy Murray (40) of Springfield, sophomore Matthew Davis (40), a Newtown Square resident and an Aronimink member, and senior Marty McGuckin (40).
   And Malvern Prep needed all those good scores because the Friars’ 229 total was only four shots clear of Episcopal Academy and the Churchmen got some sparkling performances from a couple of their young guns.
   Episcopal was led by freshman Michael Zeng, who had a 1-over 36, and eighth-grader Case Hummer, a Glen Mills resident and Aronimink member, who had a 2-over 37. Matt Marino and Cole Kemmerer added a pair of 39s and senior co-captain Cole Testaiuti and Ashton Dunn came in with 41s.
   Defending champion Haverford School was led by senior All-Delco Max Siegfried, who had a 2-over 37. Siegfried is a Newtown Square resident and an Aronimink member and you might be starting to conclude that the junior program at Aronimink is pretty strong  right now. David Hurly added a 39 for the Fords.
   Haverford School finished third with a 246 total just a shot better than Penn Charter, which was led by sophomore Brian Isztwan, the reigning Inter-Ac individual champion who trailed Updike by a shot with a 1-under 34.
   Malvern Prep is a perfect 15-0 through the three mini-tournaments with Episcopal and Haverford School tied for second at 10-4-1.
   I also got my hands on the individual standings through three mini-tournaments, courtesy of Malvern Prep’s Duda, and Siegfried leads the way as he has finished behind only seven players in the three mini-tournaments with an overall record of 131-7-3. He is followed by Updike, Isztwan and the Malvern Prep trio of McGuckin, Davis and Miller.
   Episcopal will host Round 4 Tuesday at Merion Golf Club’s West Course.

Schmitz a real ace at U.S. Mid-Amateur

   Nobody loves a drivable par-4 more than Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director. Davis rose through the ranks of the country’s ruling golf organization mostly as a guy who set up courses for major championships. And if a short par-4 offered him the opportunity, he would  move the tees up and basically say, “go for it guys.”
   So I’m guessing Davis flashed that wry smile he gets when he heard about Sammy Schmitz’s feat in the U.S. Mid-Amateur final Thursday at John’s Island Club’s West Course in Vero Beach, Fla.
   Schmitz, a 35-year-old father of two from Farmington, Minn. who works in health-care services, arrived at the 260-yard, par-4 15th hole 2-up in his scheduled 36-hole final with Marc Dull of Lakeland, Fla. having just lost the previous hole when his wedge plugged in a greenside bunker.
   After Dull teed off, Schmitz pulled out his driver and smashed it toward the target. The ball landed 17 feet from the hole, caught the slope and rolled into the hole for a hole-in-one on the par-4.
   “I can’t believe,” Schmitz told the USGA website. “I’ve been hitting driver (on the hole) the entire tournament. I think I’ve hit the green four times. I just had a food feeling. I can’t believe it went in. It’s very surreal.”
   The match wasn’t over, but come on, it was over. The 2003 NCAA Division III All-American at St. John’s University in Colllegeville, Minn. finished off Dull on the next hole for a 3 and 2 victory.
   “I win 14 and I’m thinking maybe we can back in this,” said Dull. “I didn’t hit a good tee shot and when a guy jars it on a par-4, what are you going to do? You just shake his hand and laugh it off. It was an amazing shot that he hit.”
   There’s a pretty good chance Schmitz will be back to defend his title at the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, which will be staged at Stonewall, the gem of a golf course in East Nantmeal,
Chester County.

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