Players of the Year

Time for my annual “Rose Factor“awards, given to those golfers in the region who have distinguished themselves in both local and national tournaments, and represented the game as gentlemen in the tradition of the game.

Let me start with the Downtown Michael Brown Award – given in honor of my 950 ESPN Radio co-host Michael Brown, former GAP Philly Open Champion and all around great guy. The winner – Michael Brown – no, not my “Brownie” from Old York Road CC, but the one who plays publinks golf in the area. That other Michael Brown had a big year, winning the GAP Mid Amateur in May, qualified and made match play at the USGA Public Links in June, had a top 10 at the GAP Philly Open in July, and qualified for the USGA Mid Am in August. If the flow continues into September, Mike should do very well at the Mid Am at Kiawah Island.

Two other local amateurs are battling for GAP “POTY” honors. The points leader at the moment is James Kania, Jr. from Overbrook GC, a Univ. of Kentucky junior who nearly won GAP’s hat trick of majors, as he won the Patterson Cup, also the prestigious medal play Silver Cross, and finished runner-up at the Philly Amateur. Throw in making it to the second stage of US Open qualifying. The GAP Am champ is Conrad Von Borsig of Concord CC, a Univ. of Virginia senior. Conrad also finished 4th at the GAP Open, as well as qualifying for the US Amateur.

In the local PGA pro ranks, former points “POTY” winners are again at or near the top of most tournaments. Stu Ingraham, approaching Champions Tour status, is as consistent as ever, winning several local tour events. Same true of Rich Steinemtz of Spring Ford CC, whose victories included the big GAP Philly Open. But my hat goes off to Merion teaching pro Mark Sheftic. Mark played well in local events but had his biggest impact on the national stage. Mark qualified for and played in, the PGA of America’s Club Pro Championship in Oklahoma. And he didn’t just show up, he was atop the leaderboard going into the final round, staying there till the bitter end, only to finish 2nd with a late bogey. That bad news became good news, as Mark’s finish qualified him for the tour’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National. In the fall, Mark will join other top PGA club pros representing the US PGA in their annual PGA Cup battle against GB & I. Sweet!

Golf will be nothing if we don’t have great kids taking up the game and continuing the tradition. There was some outstanding achievements by juniors in 2009, and congrats go to Ed McCrossen, Jr., who won the Harry Hammond Award and topped the GAP junior points list. He was solid all year. Other consistent players were Vince Boyle and Nicholas Reach. But with junior record-setter Rob Galbreath, Jr. now off to college, it’s 14 year old Zachary Herr of Jericho National who has really stepped up big as the junior to beat for the next 3 years. Hard to believe he’s only 14, Zach is 6 foot 2 and hits it a mile. He won the GAP Junior title in match play, and dominated the medal events. In the GAP Team qualifier at the very tough Aronimink layout, Zach clobbered a field of top mid amateurs with a 3-under par 67, played in wet, cold weather. In national events, Zach lost in a playoff at the AJGA event at French Creek, then the next week, won the AJGA event in Connecticut. When not on the course, Zach was winning the USGA Outstanding Junior Achievement Award for his work raising money for Zach Attacks Cancer. Did I mention he was just 14!

 

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