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Fireman and Ginty pair for Philly Four-Ball title
Michael Fireman and Kyle Ginty (GAP/Twitter photo)
Michael Fireman and Kyle Ginty (GAP/Twitter photo)

Talamore Country Club’s Kyle Ginty got eyes on the GAP schedule, saw the Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship set for White Manor Country Club (par 71, 6,390 yards), and immediately knew who to call. The recruiting trail began and ended with clubmate Michael Fireman, a White Manor veteran of 22 years.

Experience paired with a scorching flatstick resulted in the 48th Four-Ball Stroke Play title. Fireman and Ginty fired a sizzling round of 7-under 64, topping a sold-out field of 80 teams for the win Thursday.

Taking the day’s Net Division title was Lu Lu Country Club’s Mark Czerniakowski and Yardley Country Club’s Greg Buliga with a net score of 10-under 61.

The day’s early morning mark was set by two teams at 5 under: Radley Run Country Club’s Parker Wine and Philip Potter, plus Jericho National Golf Club’s David Robbins and Griffin Smith. In the afternoon, the sun made its presence known, bringing more speed in play both on the fairways and on the greens. Ginty and Fireman flourished in the August heat.

Starting on White Manor’s second side, the champions’ first red number arrived on No. 11 (par 5, 501 yards). Ginty, who carded seven birdies on his own ball throughout the day, blasted driver followed by a hybrid from 230 yards out, leaving him just in front of the green. His third shot was “fatted” into the center of the hill and rolled back down to 45 feet, but the birdie bomb fell.

“I just told him to make it,” said Fireman. “And… he did.”

The next highlights came back-to-back on Nos. 13 (par 4, 414 yards), where a 30-foot Ginty birdie putt dropped, and No. 14 (par 3, 161 yards), which hosted a 20-foot make for 2. Fireman got his debut birdie on the par 5, 502-yard 17th after just missing on a 10-foot eagle attempt. The duo made the turn at 3-under par with momentum on their side.

“Even though we gave one back [on the par 3, 173-yard 12th], we were feeling pretty good. Everything was falling, center of the cup,” said Ginty.

The second nine began with a bang on No. 2 (par 4, 407 yards), where Ginty’s 9-iron approach skipped to 10 feet from the cup, and the putt rolled over the front lip for birdie. On No. 5 (par 4, 419 yards), Ginty’s trusty 9-iron again, this time from 143 yards, landed four feet from the hole, leading to a short birdie make.

Fireman’s second birdie of the day came on No. 6 (par 5, 551 yards) when a 25-foot roll fell after a helping read from his partner. Ginty topped off his low day with consecutive birdies on Nos. 7 (par 4, 330 yards) and 8 (par 3, 101 yards).

“I was closer than Kyle on both of those. I was six feet on No. 7 and three feet on No. 8, but Kyle dropped his longer putts right in,” said Fireman.

Despite a finishing bogey on No. 9 (par 4, 384 yards), the Talamore team bettered the rest of the field by two strokes behind strong performances by both players, who each finished under par on their respective balls.

This morning, Fireman texted his teammate saying each person’s birdie quota was “three each” for the day. Because Ginty’s flatstick caught fire from deep on multiple occasions, Fireman had to pick up three times within six feet. He didn’t reach his quota in result.

“I only carded two birdies because of that,” said Fireman. 52, of North Wales, Pa.

No matter who was jarring the under-par scores, it didn’t matter. They were both champions.

“It’s so fun to play with him because it’s a stress relief. His game is boring because he’s so straight [off the tee], straight down the middle all day,” said Ginty, 33, of Conshohocken, Pa. “I really leaned on him for his course knowledge today, and he helped me find the good positions on the course and where not to end up.”

Having grown up and learned the game at White Manor, where Fireman joined when he was just four years old, Ginty headhunted his partner early and often. The pair plays frequently together at Talamore, but with Fireman scheduled to leave the club after this season, Ginty knew it was the perfect set up for a glorious send off.

“I knew right away who I was going to call,” said Ginty. “He’s got five Talamore club championships, and I’ve got one. We’ve played a ton since I moved up here eight years ago from South Carolina. I wanted to give him the proper send off, and I’m glad we were able to play the way we did today.”

“I’ve known Kyle for a long time since he was a young man,” said Fireman. “We’ve played a lot of golf together and he’s a great player. I mean, the kid had seven birdies out there. I’m happy I accepted the invite.”

ABOUT THE Philadelphia Four-Ball

Format: Better Ball of Partners. 18-hole gross and net four-ball stroke play. Strokes for net scores will be calculated at 90 percent of the course handicap. Additionally the maximum handicap index for any player is 18.0. If a side has a difference of more than eight strokes (after allowance) in Course Handicap an additional 10 percent reduction will be applied to the Course Handicap of each member of the team.

Eligibility: Players must be members of Member Clubs with an 18.0 handicap index or less. Partners need not be members of the same club.

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