Whitemarsh Valley Country Club’s David Liotta coaxed home a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole at The Springhaven Club Wednesday and that proved to be the difference as he earned a one-shot victory in the Marston Cup for his first career Golf Association of Philadelphia win.
The 46-year-old Liotta finished with a 1-under 69 over the 6,437-yard, par-70 William Flynn design in Wallingford in the event for players ages 40 to 54. The victory also earns Liotta exemptions into three of GAP’s major events in 2017, the Middle Amateur Championship, presented by Callaway Golf, the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship and the Joseph H. Patterson Cup.
Liotta picked up birdies on Springhaven’s two front-nine par-5s. He reached the par-5 second hole in two and two-putted for birdie and launched a 60-degree wedge over a tree at the eighth to three feet and made the putt.
After a bogey at the 11th, he blasted out of a bunker on the par-5 at the 12th close enough for a tap-in birdie. A bogey at the 15th dropped him back to even-par, but his long birdie putt at the 17th got him back into red figures for the round.
Three members of the deep stable of talent at the Philadelphia Cricket Club – Kevin Kelly, Ryan Gilrod and Scott Storck -- loomed a shot back in a tie for second at even-par 70. Gilrod was paired with Liotta.
Todd Vanderheid of Huntsville Golf Club finished alone in fifth place at 1-over 71. James Gillespie of Little Mill Country Club and Michael R. Brown Jr. of the Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association shared sixth place at 2-over 72.
Rounding out the top 10 were three players – Peter Barron III of Stone Harbor Golf Club, Peter Moran of Whitford Country Club and Robert Bechtold of Fieldstone Golf Club -- tied for eighth at 3-over 73.
The Marston Cup is named for Max Marston, a Philadelphia amateur who went on an epic tear in 1923 capped by a U.S. Amateur title at Floosmoor Country Club outside Chicago that included match-play victories over Bobby Jones and Francis Ouimet.