When Glenn Smeraglio gets the flat stick going, look out.
Today, at Laurel Creek (N.J.) Country Club, the Newtown resident lit up the back nine on his way to a 2-under-par 69 which vaulted him past 7 players and to the 28th annual Golf Association of Philadelphia Middle Amateur Championship.
Smeraglio did it by playing the last 10 holes in 4-under-par, winning the event by 1-strokes over RiverCrest's Andy Achenbach and by 2 blows over Michael Hyland (Little Mill) and Chip Lutz (Ledgerock).
"I finally got a Mid-Am," said a joyous Smeraglio after his round. The Neshaminy graduate had posted 8 top-11 finishes over the years, including a runner-up finish in 2002.
Smeraglio, a 9-time Yardley Country Club men's champion who now plays out of Mercer Oaks where he won ;ast year's men's title, opened the 36-hole event with an even par 71 to trail first round leader Brian Gillespie (St. David's) by 4 shots. He opened the 2nd round with a bogey, falling 5 shots back before righting the ship and scoring 3 consecutive pars.
Then the fun began. Smeraglio bogeyed the 6th and 7th holes, bared 8, then went to the front of the birdie brigade with red numbers on 9, 10, 13, 14 and 15. His last hole bogey hurt, but when the dust cleared his 140 was perfectly fine.
The victory marked Smeraglio's first GAP Middle Amateur Championship. Smeraglio has contended numerous times, including a 5th place finish a year ago. He has claimed the GAP Silver Cross three times and the Patterson Cup twice.
Michael Brown, the 2009 GAP champion who plays out of Lookaway, finished 8th with a 146 two-day total, while Mercer Oak's Chris Hynoski came in at 149. Other area players included Michael Moffat (Five Ponds) at 151, David Smith (Doylestwon) and Rodney James (Five Ponds) at 153 and Steve Budenz (Mercer Oaks) and Christopher Ault (Mercer Oaks) at 160.
Smeraglio, 51, has been on fire in 2011. He recently successfully defended his Mercer County Senior Open crown at Mercer Oaks East with an 11-under-par 205 performance on rounds of 73-64-69. Smeraglio finished 13 shots in front of Frank Corrado.
Chip Shots: Smeraglio finished about a half hour before the leaders. Lutz bogeyed the final hole to drop out of a tie with Smeraglio, while Achenbach's bogey on 17 knocked him out of a playoff... Brown won the event in 2009, while the only other Bucks County champion was Yardley's Tom Dillon, Jr., who claimed the 1989 championship....The Mid-Am is for players ages 25 and above....Bucks County players fared well in each Mercer County Senior Open division. In addition to Smeraglio claiming overall honors, Yardley's Al Padavano won the age 55-59 division at 221 while Terry Sawyer won the age 60-64 division with a 225 total.