*950 ESPN Golf Report
*2009 Compher Cup Player Bios
Philadelphia announces Compher Cup team
The Golf Association of
Philadelphia announced its 2009 Compher Cup Matches team today.
The 47th annual
matches, which pit Philadelphia against the New Jersey State Golf Association,
will be held April 21 at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J. To date, the Golf
Association of Philadelphia leads the series, 31–11–4.
2009 Compher Cup roster
John Brennan, Spring Ford CC
Michael Brown, Philadelphia Publinks GA
Mike Danner, Lu Lu CC
James Donnelly, Merion GC
Chris Esbenshade, Five Ponds GC
Robert Galbreath, Jr., Huntingdon Valley CC
Jeffrey Griest, Waynesborough CC
Sean Leonard, Tavistock CC
Rand Mendez, Fieldstone GC
Stephen Seiden, Concord CC
Glenn Smeraglio, Commonwealth National GC
David West, Whitford CC
Glenn Smeraglio of
Commonwealth National Golf Club will captain the Philadelphia squad. This marks
Smeraglio’s eighth Compher Cup appearance, but first as team captain.
It always feels good,” he
said. “We work all year to try to get on there. This is a nice perk.”
Smeraglio, 49, of Newtown, Pa., expects to lead the squad
to victory this year.
"You don’t want to be a
losing captain,” he said in jest.
In the Compher Cup, each
association fields a 12-man team with players simultaneously competing in a
singles match and four-ball match. There are a total of 18 possible points.
Matches that end in a tie result in a half point for the team.
In addition to Smeraglio,
returning to the Compher Cup Matches for Philadelphia are (appearances in
parentheses): Mike Danner of Lu Lu Country Club
(second), Stephen Seiden of Concord Country Club
(second), Sean Leonard of Tavistock Country Club (second),
Robert Galbreath, Jr. of Huntingdon Valley Country
Club (second) and Michael Brown of Philadelphia Publinks
Golf Association of Philadelphia Association (fourth).
The newcomers to the
Compher Cup Matches are David West of Whitford Country
Club, John Brennan of Spring Ford Country Club, James Donnelly of Merion Golf
Club, Jeffrey Griest of Waynesborough
Country Club, Rand Mendez of Fieldstone Golf Club and Chris Esbenshade
of Five Ponds Golf Club.
West, 49, of Downingtown,
Pa., looks forward to competing in his first Compher Cup Matches.
"I feel honored,” he said.
“It has a lot of good players.”
West believes a strong 2008
season helped his Compher Cup candidacy.
"I had more time to work on
my game, and it paid off. I finished as high as I ever did in the points,” he
Like West, Brennan, 30, of Norristown,
is happy to be a member of the Philadelphia team this year.
"It’s pretty exciting,” he
said. “When you look at the guys who have played the Compher Cup Matches in the
past, it’s an honor to have your name on that list.”
Participating in last year’s
Mason-Dixon Matches has prepared Brennan for the upcoming Compher Cup Matches.
"I’m sure it will be the
same thing,” Brennan said.
In 2008, Team Philadelphia
defeated New Jersey at Pine Valley Golf Club. The squad has won the last three
meetings with its Jersey counterparts, and 11 of the past 12.
For the Hollywood GC, this
is the fourth time hosting the Compher Cup Matches. It hosted the inaugural
Compher Cup in 1962.
Smeraglio played Hollywood
in 2005’s Compher Cup, which was eventually cancelled due to severe weather.
"I got to play 14 holes,”
he said. “It’s a solid golf course. The greens are very fast.”
Brennan has never played at
Hollywood GC, but his friend, Doug Zelner of Spring
Ford Country Club, has informed him of its features.
He says it’s an awesome
golf course,” Brennan said. “It’s a great 18 holes.”
As a newcomer, West hopes
to prevail in the Compher Cup Matches.
"I would expect to beat
whoever I play,” he said.
Fred Compher, a former New
Jersey State Golf Association president, conceived the neighborhood matches
after leaving his post in 1959. Compher donated a silver trophy that year
earmarked for such a rivalry.
In 1961, association
representatives Bob Jacobson of New Jersey and Richard Ollmah of GAP completed
the details. In 1962, the first Compher Cup matches took place. That year, the
NJSGA side forged a 5–1 lead in the morning foursomes’ competitions and held serve
in the afternoon singles matches for an 11½–6½ victory.
After the New Jersey
victory, Compher himself, who was known at the time as the most successful
NJSGA president in its history, presented the trophy “to promote golf between
For a year-by-year history
and individual player records, go to www.gapgolf.org.