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Brown Wins Philadelphia Mid-Am in Playoff

HADDONFIELD, NJ (May 21, 2009)--Michael Brown needed a four-hole playoff but eventually the 36-year-old Cheltenham, Pa., resident delivered a championship performance. The Philadelphia Publinks GA member defeated home-club hopeful Sean Leonard on Thursday at Tavistock CC (par 72, 6,797 yards) in an aggregate playoff (19-17 strokes on holes 10-11-17-18) for the 26th Middle-Amateur Championship. For Brown, who was reinstated as an amateur at the end of 2007, it was his first Golf Association of Philadelphia Major title.

“It’s slightly unexpected,” said a surprisingly subdued Brown afterward. “I’m new to amateur golf in this area. I don’t even know a lot of these guys. I know of them because I read about them. I’m happy to be back. There are a lot of very strong players in the Philadelphia area and I’m looking forward to playing against them regularly.”

Both players ended regulation at even-par 144 after two rounds. Leonard carded a final round 1-under-par 71 including a magnificent birdie on the treacherous No. 18 (par 4, 435 yards). Brown, who started the round a shot-back of the leader, was in control of the tournament most of the day and, in fact, had a three-stroke lead at one point mid-way through the back nine, finished with a 73. He bogeyed three of his final six holes.

“It was cool. My grandfather who is 87 years old was out here,” said Leonard, who had about two dozen supporters following him in the playoff. “We’re proud to host this event. It’s nice. I wish I could have won but … I’m pleased. I haven’t been playing much golf. I ran for commissioner of Haddonfield, [N.J.] and for the last two months I’ve been doing nothing but going to people’s houses and campaigning. And my wife and I had a baby girl a week ago today.”

In the playoff, both players carded routine pars on Nos. 10 (par 4, 328 yards) and 11 (par 4, 426 yards) before Brown took control on the par 5, 17th (490 yards), the third extra hole. Brown found the middle of the fairway with his drive while Leonard went left and short of the fairway bunker, some 232 yards away. Leonard then knocked a hybrid about 40 yards short of the green and Brown, with a 4-iron and 180 yards left, sent his second shot long and over the putting surface. Leonard’s chip stopped short of the green and his ensuing putt from the front fringe left him with five feet. He missed for a bogey six. Brown showed some nice touch on a delicate downhill chip from about 40 feet and just off the green that ended 10 above the hole. He made a three-foot comebacker for a par and a one-shot lead with one hole to go.

On No. 18, both players found the fairway. Leonard played first and had 181 yards left. His 6-iron landed right, some 45 feet right of the hole. Brown had 147 yards and with an 8-iron in hand knocked his approach to 25 feet. Leonard would go on to three putt, he left his first try eight feet short, and Brown would two putt for the victory.

“I don’t know Sean but I did know he was from Tavistock CC,” said Brown, who served as assistant professional at North Hills CC for seven years before heading back to the amateur ranks. “I knew there would be a lot of support in his direction [in the playoff]. I was fine with that. I was focused and fairly confident because I controlled [my emotions] for the first 18 holes so that wasn’t really an issue. For me at this point it’s physical. [My swing] may look OK but I don’t feel OK physically. The positions on my golf swing feel out of whack.

“[The playoff] was pretty uneventful the first couple of holes. Then I was given a good opportunity after 17. I didn’t expect to be one shot up after that hole. Eighteen is a difficult par 4 and I just tried to stay committed. I had that shot this morning, that tee shot, and I was able to pull it off.”

Said Leonard, “Like Chris Lange [a member of his group] said on the first tee, things are a little more inconsequential when you have a little baby [at home]. Of course, you want to win, and certainly I wanted to win because you don’t get too many chances.”

This was Leonard’s top Golf Association of Philadelphia Major finish as well.

The story lines were plentiful throughout a postcard weather day.

* Michael McDermott of Merion GC, the reigning Middle-Amateur Champion and a three-time winner of the event, entered Round 2 as the favorite and with a one-shot lead. He bogeyed the first hole after a poor drive and never recovered, shooting a shocking 77 and falling into a tie for seventh.

* Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, a top player who has been surprisingly quiet in championships the past couple of seasons, reemerged on the scene in a big way and came to No. 18 at even par for the event. However, he pulled a wedge from 138 yards in the middle of the fairway into the front, left greenside bunker and would then three putt to finish at 2-over par in a tie for fourth.

* Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC carded three birdies and no bogeys in his first 17 holes to get to 1-over for the Middle-Amateur but ran his 25-foot birdie try on No. 18 by four feet, lost his focus a bit and registered a bogey to finish at 2 over as well.

* Tom Borsello of Fieldstone GC, who turned 55 in January and recently returned to competitive golf after taking about three years off from the game citing burn out, birdied his final two holes, including a chip in on No. 18 from about 70 feet to finish at 2-over par.

* Gregg Angelillo of Moselem Springs GC started the day in second and despite a 3-over-par 39 on the front nine, gutted out a 1-under effort on the back to place third, his top Golf Association of Philadelphia Major finish.

The Middle-Amateur is for players 25 years of age and older. It is a two-day, 36-hole tournament.

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 134 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

Final results of the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) Mid-Amateur Championship, played May 20-21 at Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield, NJ:

Michael Brown Philadelphia Publinks GA 71 73 144*
Sean Leonard Tavistock Country Club 73 71 144
Gregg Angelillo Moselem Springs Golf Club 71 74 145
Brian Gillespie St. Davids Golf Club 75 71 146
Tom Borsello Fieldstone Golf Club 74 72 146
Chip Lutz LedgeRock Golf Club 76 70 146
Rand Mendez Fieldstone Golf Club 74 73 147
Christopher Lange Overbrook Golf Club 72 75 147
Michael McDermott Merion Golf Club 70 77 147
Glenn Smeraglio Commonwealth National Golf Club 76 72 148
Matthew Finger Running Deer Golf Club 75 75 150
Paul Rogowicz Yardley Country Club 75 75 150
John Brennan Spring Ford Country Club 74 76 150
William Lawler Fox Hill Country Club 74 77 151
Oscar Mestre Overbrook Golf Club 76 75 151
Ryan Gelrod Commonwealth National Golf Club 74 77 151
Gerry Baldachino Olde York Country Club 75 77 152
G. Patrick Dougherty Talamore Country Club 77 75 152
Joseph Russo Running Deer Golf Club 75 77 152
Thomas Gramigna Tavistock Country Club 77 75 152
James Donnelly Merion Golf Club 75 78 153
David Shields Philadelphia Publinks GA 81 72 153
David Liotta Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 77 76 153
Robert Harrington Merion Golf Club 76 78 154
Chris Esbenshade Bent Creek Country Club 77 77 154
Steven Budenz Yardley Country Club 78 76 154
Alexander Maguire, Jr. Brookside Country Club 80 74 154
Jim Rattigan Schuylkill Country Club 78 76 154
Matthew Gaffney Little Mill Country Club 74 80 154
Scott Bergson Little Mill Country Club 77 77 154
Thomas Hyland Little Mill Country Club 75 80 155
Peter Moran Edgmont Country Club 79 76 155
Brian Rothaus Talamore Country Club 78 77 155
Thomas DiCinti Links Golf Club 80 75 155
Mike Owsik McCall Golf & Country Club 81 75 156
Justin Van Hyning Olde York Country Club 73 83 156
Michael Tash Tavistock Country Club 78 78 156
William McGuinness Tavistock Country Club 79 77 156
Mark Kosko Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa 77 80 157
Scott Orr Brookside Country Club 77 80 157
Marlin Detweiler Lancaster Country Club 79 78 157
Byron Whitman Golden Oaks Golf Club 78 79 157
Jeff DellaFranco Concord Country Club 79 78 157
P. Chet Walsh Philadelphia Country Club 74 83 157
Charles Scalzott Huntingdon Valley Country Club 79 78 157
Robin McCool Saucon Valley Country Club 79 78 157
Douglas Zelner Spring Ford Country Club 81 76 157
Stephen McIntyre Honeybrook Golf Club 76 81 157
David West Whitford Country Club 77 80 157
Johan van Schalkwyk Burlington Country Club 81 77 158
Daniel Pinciotti, Jr. Huntingdon Valley Country Club 80 78 158
Rich Pruchnik West Chester Golf & Country Club 77 82 159
Buddy Reed DuPont Country Club 79 80 159
James Kieserman The Bucks Club 80 80 160
Ken Matt Philadelphia Publinks GA 78 82 160
John Simone Philmont Country Club 76 84 160
Lance Oberparleiter Wedgwood Country Club 80 80 160
Todd Vonderheid Huntsville Golf Club 81 79 160
Jack Wallace Burlington Country Club 78 83 161
Mike Danner Lu Lu Country Club 73 88 161
David Livermore Greate Bay Country Club 80 81 161
Michael Domenick Phoenixville Country Club 77 84 161
Ed Chylinski Chester Valley Golf Club 78 83 161
Tom Piersanti Saucon Valley Country Club 80 83 163
Matthew Shevlin Philadelphia Publinks GA 78 85 163
Scott Klee Indian Valley Country Club 79 84 163
Bill Turner Philadelphia Publinks GA 81 82 163
Chris Parmer Olde York Country Club 80 84 164
R. Blake Slawecki Spring Ford Country Club 81 83 164
John Aloisio Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa 81 83 164
Ajai Sirohi Mercer Oaks Golf Course 81 83 164
John Robinson Commonwealth National Golf Club 79 87 166
Sean Sexton Philadelphia Publinks GA 81 87 168
Lee Grout Whitemarsh Valley Country Club 81 88 169
Andy Achenbach RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve 76 WD WD


*won playoff
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