EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, NJ (June 29, 2016) -- A BMW GAP Team Matches title wasn’t enough for Little Mill Country Club. It wanted to make a bigger club statement than that. That loud statement was heard around the Philadelphia region when Little Mill captured another team title on Wednesday in a close finish.
Little Mill posted 24.5 points to defeat Lu Lu Country Club (24), Commonwealth National Golf Club (17.5) and Tavistock Country Club (6) in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Team Championship under pristine playing conditions. Hidden Creek Golf Club, who recently hosted the U.S. Senior Amateur in September of last year, played host to the event’s 97th edition.
It was the first Team Championship title for the South Jersey club.
The event included four GAP Member Clubs represented by eight players each. Participants competed in foursomes match play in the morning and singles match play in the afternoon.
“Winning both [titles] gives Little Mill a lot of respect,” said Michael Hyland, the winning team captain. “With a few older guys moving past our prime, it shows that, with the young guys, we still have a very deep squad. The entire club always gets behind us 100 percent. This was big for us.”
In the morning, it was the duos of Vince Kwon-Blaine Lafferty and Troy Vannucci-Mike Dunn that took care of business for Little Mill. Each pairing combined to snag three points against their early competitors.
Little Mill held a 1.5-point lead heading into the afternoon session.
The latter session was a similar story of success, minus a few minor hiccups. Vannucci got off to a slow start, but battled back to steal two crucial points. Lafferty and Kwon, who Hyland says ‘definitely won this for us,’ both collected three points again in the afternoon.
“The pairings were so easy today. Everyone is best friends, and I knew exactly where to put everyone,” said Hyland, 37, of Medford, N.J. “Kwon and Lafferty literally practice 12 hours together. They picked us up in the morning, beating [Lu Lu’s] Glenn Smeraglio and Brandon Matthews, and then again in the afternoon. That was huge.”
Despite a late surge from Commonwealth National, Little Mill held on by a half point to capture the statement-making championship hardware.
Little Mill became the 14th club to be victors of both the BMW GAP Team Matches and Team Championship in the same year. Only four — Philadelphia Cricket Club, Aronimink Golf Club, Old York Road Country Club and Overbrook Golf Club — have done so more than once.
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