Episcopal Academy freshman Michael Zeng carded a 78 in occassional downpours at Merion Golf Club’s historic East Course that was good enough to earn him fifth place in the Inter-Academic League Championship last fall.
The Applecross Country Club member will be hoping for better weather when he tees it up at the East in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur next month. Zeng carded a 3-over 74 at Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter, Berks County Monday in the last of the qualifiers for the Philadelphia Amateur, which will be staged at Merion East, site of five U.S. Opens, most recently the 2013 edition won by Justin Rose. That earned Zeng one of the coveted 15 tickets handed out at Fox Hill as the Philadelphia Amateur returns to Merion for first time since 1954.
The BMW Philadelphia Amateur will get under way Monday, June 13 with 36 holes of qualifying for match play at Merion East and Philadelphia Country Club. Two rounds each of matches the next two days will whittle the field down to the two finalists, who will play a scheduled 36-hole final Saturday, June 18 with the winner having his name engraved on the J. Wood Platt Trophy.
One of the trio of co-medalists at Fox Hill, Stephen Hudacek III of Glenmaura National Golf Club near Scranton, knows what it’s like to reach that final as he fell to Little Mill Country Club’s Michael Hyland in 2011, taking the final at Manufacturers Golf & Country Club all the way to the 36th hole before falling.
Hudacek, fellow Glenmaura National member John Barone, who just completed his redshirt freshman season at Temple, and Todd Vanderheid of Huntsville Golf Club all matched par with 71s over the 6,503-yard, par-71 Fox Hill layout to share medalist honors.
Five players finished in a tie for fourth at 2-over 73, including Anthony Sebastianelli of Glen Oak Country Club, Brock Kovach of Berkshire Country Club, Christian Davis, another entry from Glenmaura, Drew Guarino of Old York Country Club at Chesterfield, Mariano Medico of host Fox Hill, Phillip Rothermel of Schuylkill Country Club and Ted Matthews of LuLu Country Club.
Joining Zeng and qualifying on the number at 3-over 74 were Blaine Lafferty of Little Mill Country Club, Roland Massimino (yes, he’s Rollie’s grandson) of The Ridge at Back Brook, Shamus Gartley of host Fox Hill and Thomas Spano of Llanerch Country Club.
Two days earlier, the next-to-last qualifier was held in challenging conditions at Inniscrone Golf Club in southern Chester County. It was cold and rainy and GAP officials, with squeegees at the ready, utilized a shotgun start and got 88 players around the golf course.
And, of course, a guy who had never set foot on the golf course, Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Brendan Borst, was the only player in the field to break par, claiming medalist honors with a 1-under 69 over the 6,456-yard, par-70 Inniscrone layout.
“It was a tough day on a tough golf course,” Borst, a 26-year-old Philadelphian, told the GAP website. “Since it was my first time seeing it, I was just trying to stay out of trouble. I was going by the yardage book that I got in the pro shop. It worked out pretty well.
“The yardage book was key today. There were a lot of holes where you have to control the distance on your tee shot.”
Maximillian Muller of Manufacturers was alone in second place with a 2-over 72. Carey Bina, the former Radnor High standout who plays at Radnor Valley Country Club, Joseph Fabrizio Jr. of Aronimink Golf Club and Mark Coassolo of Allentown’s Brookside Country Club finished in a tie for third at 4-over 74.
Overbrook Golf Club’s Trey Croney, a former Episcopal Academy standout, headed a group at 5-over 75 that also included Jason Kowalski of Downingtown Country Club and Kyle Ginty of Talamore Country Club.
The last four berths out of the Inniscrone qualifier went to a quartet who carded 76s that included Brandon Dalinka of The Ridge at Back Brook, Jimmy Wolfe of Bellewood Country Club, Michael Cook of Applebrook Golf Club and Wills Montgomery of Whitford Country Club.