The APGA Tour and the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board (VFTCB) bring back three of the Philadelphia Region’s top golfers with a new addition from Drexel University as part of the field for the second annual APGA Tour Valley Forge, the growing pro tour’s return visit to Montgomery County and the Philadelphia region.
The tournament is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, September 20 and 21, with an APGA Foundation community service youth symposium with the First Tee of Philadelphia on Sunday, September 18 at The Club at Shannondell in Audobon.
The Philadelphia-area competitors are:
- Zach Juhasz of Bethlehem, 25, played in his first APGA Tour event last year at APGA Tour Valley Forge and returns this year as a fulltime member of the circuit.
- Matthew Vital of Bethlehem, 16, played last year as a local exemption and returns this year as a competitor in the new Cisco Junior Series which is a separate competition within the tournament among young players seeking to elevate their games for college and next-level opportunities.
- Louis Kelly of Glassboro, 29, also played last year as a sponsor exemption and is invited back in 2022 as he pursues fulltime membership in the APGA Tour. Kelly is the lead coach at First Tee Philadelphia, the PGA TOUR’s community service program and will be part of the APGA Foundation youth event this year on Sunday, September 18, at The Club at Shannondell in Audobon.
- Jeff Cunningham, 22, of Philadelphia, newly-graduated from Drexel University, earned his spot on the APGA Tour this spring when he finished second in the APGA Collegiate Rankings of African American players across the country.
The tournament will be the 15th of the year for the APGA Tour, which has become a force in driving diversity in the sport of golf. The circuit launched with three events in 2010 and has expanded dramatically in the past three years on strength of partnerships with the PGA Tour, sponsors and organizations like VFTCB, which arranged for the tour stop in Montgomery County last year. The APGA Tour grew to seven events with $200,000 in prize money in 2020 and will conduct 18 events with $800,000 in prize and bonus money in 2022.
“The APGA Tour’s return to Montgomery County and the Philadelphia region was a focus when Valley Forge Tourism invited us to our first-ever tournament in the Northeastern United States last year,” state Cole Smith, APGA Tour Executive Director. “We are hopeful of a long-term relationship and an important part of that is the involvement of the area’s best young players. We have that with Zach, Matthew, Louis and Jeff invited to compete.”
ZACH JUHASZ, (pronounced YOU-HAAS) formerly one of the region’s top amateur players, now competes on the APGA Tour fulltime after being introduced to the circuit as a regional exemption at APGA Tour Valley Forge last year. In 2021, he advanced through local competition to make the U.S. Open Regional Qualifying Tournament. In qualifying competition for the U.S. Amateur, the 25 year-old finished as second alternate, shooting seven-under over 36 holes. He competes in Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) events and is a former scholastic standout at Bethlehem Freedom High School. He shot a 3-under 68 to win medalist honors in qualifying for the 83rd Lehigh Valley Amateur in 2019, later winning the title. Also won the GAP Tournament of Champions in 2019. This year, he tied for 20th in the Pennsylvania State Amateur at Merion and lost in a playoff in the Lehigh Valley Open. While pursuing his golf career, Zach works for his father, owner of Juhasz Home Improvement of Bethlehem.
MATTHEW VITAL, 16-year-old rising senior at Bethlehem Liberty High School, fired an 8 under-par 62 in a Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour event, to best Sam Snead’s longtime course record at Reading Country Club. Matthew is no stranger to the spotlight, having won the 12–13-year-old division of the 2019 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before The Masters. He has won on multiple junior golf tours, including the Hurricane Junior Tour, US Kids Golf and PGA of Philadelphia Junior Tour. He set a record of nine wins in one season with the Lehigh Valley Junior Golf Tour. He finished 1st place this year in the Penn State Philadelphia Junior tour with a tournament record of 7 under par. He continues to compete on the prestigious AJGA Tour with a full exemption and State Amateur tournaments where he finished 1st place for the State Amateur qualifier. As a junior and captain, he led his high school team to multiple league and district championships. In 2022, he also earned honors as the individual district champion and the team conference MVP. Matthew is sought after by multiple Division 1 schools to pursue his dream of playing competitive golf at the collegiate level while earning a degree in finance.
LOUIS KELLY, 29. A Willingboro native now residing in Philadelphia, Kelly is the lead coach for the First Tee pf Greater Philadelphia and assistant golf pro at Burlington Country Club in Burlington, NJ. In July, he won the New Jersey Open in a playoff, defeating Jason Gore, the former PGA TOUR star, at The Ridge at Back Brook. Kelly excelled intercollegiately at Adelphi University and Louisiana-Lafayette. At Adelphi, he qualified as an individual for the NCAA Division II National Championship tournament after finishing second in the NCAA Regionals in 2013. He was the 2011 Northeast-10 Player and Rookie of the Year as well as a three-time first team All-Northeast 10 Conference selection before finishing his collegiate career at Division I Louisiana-Lafayette in 2015. He was named to the PING All-Region East team three times at Adelphi and ended up with six collegiate championships.
JEFF CUNNINGHAM has lived in Philadelphia for the past several years while playing intercollegiate golf for Drexel University. He graduated from Drexel in 2021 and earned his masters in Sports Business earlier this year. He finished his senior year golf season on a strong note by finishing fifth at the CAA Championship and finished fifth overall with a three-under-par 213 and was named to the All-Tournament team. He had a four-under-par 68 in the final round at Dataw and tied for fourth overall at the Don Bebow Invitational, where the Dragons picked up a team victory. He shot a one-under-par 70 in the final day at the tournament, one of his three sub-par rounds during the shortened season and had a 74.8 scoring average. He was also a CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll recipient.