On a day made for being at the beach, golfers trying to qualify yesterday for the match-play rounds of the 108th Philadelphia Amateur championship needed to keep from thinking about being at the beach.
Mike Danner was rather successful at keeping his mind on his game through 36 holes and more than eight hours on two golf courses in muggy heat that approached 100 degrees, and finished as medalist with a 5-under-par score of 138 at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club and Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Danner opened with a 4-under-par 68 at Whitemarsh Valley, the site of match play beginning today, then carded a 1-under 70 at the Wissahickon course at Cricket.
"It was a battle out there," said Danner, 34, of Lu Lu Country Club. "On each swing, I was trying to stay in the moment a little bit, just concentrate - putts, too. It was so hot on the greens. I just tried to say to myself, 'Just strike it solid, hit it on line,' and I was successful with that."
Only three players broke par for 36 holes and three others matched it among the 30 players who qualified to join defending champion and top-seed Philip Bartholomew of Yardley for this morning's first-round matches.
Of the 121 players who entered the Golf Association of Philadelphia competition, seven withdrew either before the start of play or after 18 holes.
One qualifier for match play, Robert Galbreath Jr. of Huntingdon Valley, finished his round in the late afternoon showing symptoms of heat exhaustion, and paramedics were summoned. His status for this morning was not known.
"It was really hot out there, but I feel pretty good," said Rob Savarese, who was second in qualifying at 139. "I drank a lot of water, took my time, walked pretty slow, stayed in the shade, all the obvious things."
Savarese, 42, of Sand Barrens, a two-time finalist in this event, fired a 69 at Whitemarsh in the morning and a 70 at Cricket in the afternoon.
Cole Wilcox of Philadelphia Country Club took third in the medal standings at 141. Two Merion players, Michael McDermott and James Donnelly, joined Yardley's Glenn Smeraglio at par 143.
Danner's morning round was highlighted by what he called a "kick-in" eagle at the par-5 fifth to go with five birdies. He wobbled a little in the afternoon but more than neutralized his five bogeys with six birdies, including a 40-foot monster at No. 16.
"I had no expectations," he said. "These are only my seventh and eighth rounds this year. I've been working on my putting. I putted the ball awesome today, made some bombs and also some momentum savers for par."
Lightning in the area interrupted a four-man playoff for the final three spots in match play. Two spots had been determined, and the final berth will be decided today between David Liotta of Whitemarsh Valley and Kevin Genuardi of Cedarbrook.
(Whitemarsh Valley score listed first)
Mike Danner, Lu Lu. . . 68-70-138
Rob Savarese, Sand Barrens . . . 69-70-139
Cole Willcox, Phila. Country. . . 70-71-141
Glenn Smeraglio, Yardley. . . 72-71-143
James Donnelly, Merion. . . 69-74-143
Michael McDermott, Merion . . . 72-71-143
Sean Leonard, Tavistock. . . 73-71-144
Zach Smith, Doylestown. . . 75-69-144
Oscar Mestre Jr., Overbrook. . . 72-73-145
Brian Creghan, Plymouth. . . 73-73-146
Brian Rothaus, Philmont . . . 72-74-146
Doug Zelner, Spring Ford . . . 74-73-147
Chris Lange, Overbrook . . . 71-76-147
Alan Borowsky, White Manor . . . 73-74-147
Richard Marabella, Whitemarsh Vall.. . . 70-78-148
Anthony Martire, Seaview. . . 74-74-148
Stephen Seiden, Concord. . . 73-75-148
David West, Whitford. . . 75-73-148
Michael Brown, Phila. Publinks . . . 71-77-148
Travis Gahman, Phila. Publinks. . . 71-78-149
Russell Hartung, Doylestown. . . 77-72-149
Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock . . . 77-72-149
Jeffrey Griest, Waynesborough. . . 73-76-149
Matthew Finger, Running Deer . . . 73-77-150
Christopher Kaspar, Lu Lu . . . 77-73-150
Chris Reedman, Makefield Highlands . . . 74-76-150
Robert Galbreath Jr., Huntingdon Vall.. . . 74-76-150
Thomas Hyland, Little Mill . . . 74-76-150
x-James Kania Jr., Overbrook. . . 74-77-151
x-Eric Schmehl, Moorestown Field. . . 71-80-151
y-David Liotta, Whitemarsh Valley.. . . 72-79-151
y-Kevin Genuardi, Cedarbrook . . . 76-75-151
x-Won playoff to get into match play
y-Will play for final match-play berth this morning