JACKSON, N.J. (August 26,2014) — Competition is commonplace at Philadelphia Cricket Club these days. The majestic Flourtown, Pa. venue boasts one the strongest amateur contingents in the Golf Association of Philadelphia.
Included in that competitive collective are members Ryan Gelrod and Marc Mandel, and on Tuesday, the two earned hardware to prove their place. They carded a 5-under-par 67 to take the 43rd Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship at a spectacular Metedeconk National Golf Club (par 72, 6,493 yards). Gelrod and Mandel became the first Philadelphia Cricket representatives in the event’s 43-year history to win.
Two teams — Makefield Highlands Golf Club’s Andrew Strock and Michael Minter, and North Hills Country Club’s Drew Garis and Patrick Murray — finished two shots back. Little Mill Country Club’s Jim Kelleher and Joseph Roeder, the tournament’s defending champions, fired a 2-under-par 70.
“With the fine history of Philadelphia Cricket, it’s a nice accomplishment,” Gelrod, 42, of Ambler, Pa., said. “For me, I’ve never won a GAP event, so it feels great to get a victory.”
“He’s been playing well this year, so I figured we’d have a good chance,” Mandel, 32, of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., added.
The Philadelphia Cricket duo made good on its prospects immediately. Mandel lifted a wedge 102 yards to six feet for a birdie on No. 1 (par 1, 390 yards). A fairways and greens formula produced pars on the next five holes before Gelrod scribed red on No. 7 (par 4, 370 yards), where he spun a sand wedge from 95 yards to 10 feet. Gelrod came to his teammate’s aid on the par 5, 528-yard 12th hole. With Mandel out of play, he stuffed a pitching wedge from 117 yards to a foot for a 4. Mandel returned the red favor on the next par 5 (No. 15, 479 yards), sending a 7-iron from 180 yards long right and flipping a wedge to 12 feet. He made a key save on No. 16 (par 3, 170-yards) to maintain the team’s momentum. That same 7-iron positioned Mandel on a hillside short right. He then skied a wedge to three feet. Gelrod inked 5 under on the team’s scorecard thanks to a well-played 17th hole (par 4, 410 yards), where he drilled a wedge 112 yards to 15 feet and drained a 10-inch, left-to-right breaker.
“We ham-and-egged it well together,” Gelrod, who qualified for match play in the GAP Amateur earlier this year, said. “Marc made some tremendous up-and-downs that really kept the round going. We made our birdies where we had chances. Overall, I think we got as much out of that round as was there.”
“We did a good job to keep the bogeys off the scorecard, given the fact that there probably weren’t more than one or two holes where we had two putts inside 20 feet for birdie,” Mandel said.
With their victory Tuesday, Gelrod and Mandel added to Philadelphia Cricket’s hot streak as of late. Cole Berman captured the Joseph H. Patterson Cup earlier this month. Three of its members — John Brennan, Andy Latowski and Robert Savarese, Jr. — will compete in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Saucon Valley Country Club in two weeks.
“It makes you better [playing in that environment],” Gelrod, who works in financial planning, said. “Our Saturday game isn’t far off from the quality of players you see in a GAP event. On top of that, they’re great guys. We have a lot of fun. I just feel really lucky to have that opportunity.”
“It’s definitely made you elevate your game if you want to continue to compete,” Mandel added.
About the Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 150 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
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