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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Lu Lu is just good enough to claim GAP Team Championship



   Lu Lu Country Club had only competed for the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Team Championship once before last year when it lost to Little Mill Country Club by a half a point.
The club has been trying to lure some talented players to represent it in events just such as this and that effort paid off in the 98th edition of the Team Championship Thursday at gusty Galloway National Golf Club at the Jersey Shore.
   The margin of victory was again just a half a point, only this time it went in Lu Lu’s favor and that it came over powerful Philadelphia Cricket Club, which claimed the title in the BMW Team Matches this spring, all the more satisfying.
   Lu Lu finished with 24 points, the Cricket Club was the runnerup with 23.5, Little Mill was third at 12.5 and Commonwealth National rounded out the four-team field with 12. Eight-man teams played alternate-shot in the morning and singles matches in the afternoon.
   “It was a little bit of redemption from last year when we lost by a half a point to Little Mill,” Lu Lu’s Scott McLaughlin told the GAP website. “To win by a half a point this year is satisfying.
“That was probably the hardest golf course I’ve played in a very long time. It was in great shape and a lot of fun, obviously. But it was really tough finding the fairway with 25 miles-per-hour crosswinds. We eked it out.”
   Lu Lu trailed the Cricket Club by a point following the morning alternate-shot matches, but got outstanding performances in the afternoon from Glenn Smeraglio and Michael R. Brown Jr., both of whom earned 3-0 sweeps.
   There are an amazing number of standout senior players in this area, both amateur and professional (I’m hoping to follow up this post with a roundup of how the Philly contingent fared at this weekend’s U.S. Senior Open), and the 57-year-old Smeraglio is one of them.
   He is one of the “new guys” at Lu Lu. In addition to his afternoon singles sweep, he teamed with Nick Madden in the morning for a sweep.
   If you were following the BMW Philadelphia Amateur at the Cricket Club a couple of weeks ago, you might not be surprised to see Lu Lu come out on top in the Team Matches. One of the quarterfinals was actually an all-Lu Lu affair with P.J. Acierno, who recently completed one of the best careers in the history of the program at La Salle, defeating Brown on his way to the semifinals, where he came up short against Grant Skylass of LedgeRock Golf Club.
   Jack Melville, the former Upper Dublin standout coming off his freshman season at Delaware, gave three-time Philly Amateur champion Michael McDermott all he wanted before falling, 2 and 1, in the second round. Acierno and Melville were the young guns that contributed to Lu Lu’s win Thursday.
   Rounding out the Lu Lu contingent at Galloway National were Connor McNicholas and Jim Sullivan Jr.
   Lu Lu is moving up to Division AA, the top tier, for the BMW Team Matches next spring. The Cricket Club and Little Mill, which swept both the Team Matches and the Team Championship in 2016, were two of the four Playoff teams this spring. Don’t be surprised if a rejuvenated Lu Lu finds itself in the Playoff mix next spring.

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