Huntingdon Valleyâs Galbreath, McGrath take 32nd Hussey
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. â Different partner, same result.
Daniel Galbreath, who won the Francis X. Hussey Memorial alongside Matthew Acker a year ago, successfully defended his title Monday at Rolling Green Golf Club (par 71, 6,336 yards). He did so with good friend and clubmate Conor McGrath as a teammate. The Huntingdon Valley Country Club members carded a blistering 7-under-par 64 for a two-stroke victory. Tavistock Country Clubâs Doug Ergood and Finnian McGarry finished second.
The Francis X. Hussey Memorial is a better-ball of partners event.
âA few weeks ago, Matt (Acker) was diagnosed with Crohnâs disease, and he thought he was still going to be able to play. Then he had an abscess and had to get surgery maybe a week ago,â Galbreath, 18, a recent Lower Moreland High School graduate, said. âConor was originally supposed to play with Frankie (Gregor). Frankie was playing basketball at Conorâs house. Conor was not there when Frankie broke his foot. On the first tee, we knew we were playing for them today.â
âWe had the same common goal: do it for Matt and do it for Frankie,â McGrath, 17, a soon-to-be senior at The Academy of the New Church, said. âDan and I play together at the club all of the time. We have a tightly knit group at Huntingdon Valley. Weâre all really close.â
Galbreath and McGrath meshed well to manufacture red Monday.
âWe know each otherâs game so well,â Galbreath, who will attend Stetson University in the fall as a finance major, said. âI caddied for Conor in the [BMW Philadelphia] Amateur Qualifier for 36 holes. I know how he hits the ball. I know how he putts. We play together all of the time, so he knows my game, too. We were able to help each other out all day.â
A 12-footer for par by Galbreath on No. 2 (par 4, 415 yards), and a âsaved by the flagstickâ chip by McGrath on No. 3 (par 3, 162 yards) provided a much-needed reset at the outset. Galbreath knocked a 60-degree wedge 80 yards to 10 feet for a birdie on No. 5 (par 4, 375 yards). McGrathâs length led to an eagle on the par 5, 514-yard No. 7. He smashed a 6-iron 195 yards to 35 feet left of the hole location. A speedy downhiller rammed into the jar. McGrath, out of the hole after hitting a tree four times, relinquished the red floor to Galbreath on No. 8 (par 4, 404 yards). He pull-hooked a soft 9-iron from 130 yards, but buried an unpredictable 60-footer for birdie.
âI was stressing, âFind the speed. Letâs get out of here with a two-putt,ââ McGrath said. âI didnât want him to get ahead of himself. Then he went and made it.â
The gettable 12th hole (par 4, 275 yards) yielded another eagle for the Huntingdon Valley, Pa. residents. Galbreath drove the green and drained a 25-footer. The team avenged a bogey on a par 3 (No. 14, 187 yards) with a birdie on a par 3 (No. 16, 127 yards). McGrath stopped a 54-degree wedge at 30 feet. The ensuing conversion placed his team a shot clear of Ergood and McGarry, playing in the group ahead. McGrath erased any doubt when his extrication attempt from the front left bunker on No. 17 (par 5, 486 yards) set up a tap-in birdie.
With a triumph in his last year of eligibility, Galbreath summarized his Hussey experience with a Hallmark tagline.
âBack-to-back wins, different partners, great friends,â he said.
Junior-Junior Boysâ Division
Fish, 13, of Malvern, Pa., and Nolan, 13, of Glenside, Pa., claimed the Junior-Junior Boysâ Division title (par 36, 3,333 yards) with a 1-under-par 35.
Fish, an incoming eighth grader at Malvern Prep, and Nolan, a rising eighth grader at Abington Junior High School, both wanted a clean scorecard but were unable to do so after bogeying No. 2 (par 4, 415 yards). Their collective mindset didnât change as a result of the early slip-up.
âYou just have to keep playing your game regardless of what your score is,â Fish said. âYou have to think about making pars instead of really being aggressive and making silly bogeys.â
They were able to bounce back in the best-ball format with a birdie on No. 4 (par 4, 355 yards).
Fish hit his approach shot 30 yards short of the flagstick but used a perfectly-executed pitch with his sand wedge to jar the duoâs first of two birdies. Fish also recorded the other birdie on No. 7 (par 5, 514 yards).
Nolan, of Talamore Country Club, and Fish, of Chester Valley Golf Club, first met each other on the Philadelphia Junior Tour last year and used good teamwork to claim the title.
âWe were focused on the strategy of the tournament,â Nolan said. âIf we would have someone putting for birdie we would try to make it if one of us was in close for a par. This format requires strategy and I think we did a good job today.â
Junior Girlsâ Division
Junior-Junior Girls' Division
Francis X. Hussey, the tournamentâs namesake, was a Junior member at Rolling Green. He suffered from congenital heart disease and died in December 1983 while undergoing major heart surgery. He was 13 years old when he died. Francis was a student in the Haverford Township School system, an avid sports fan and an active Junior member at Rolling Green. His courage in the face of his illness was a great inspiration to all who knew him.
Golf Association of Philadelphia