|Ryan Tall's family support system has steadied him this week.|
NOTEBOOK: #BMWPhillyAm Day Two
A family support system strengthens 18-year-old Ryan Tall, even in the region’s premier amateur championship. The Spring Ford Country Club Junior golfer is backed by his father, John, and mother, Susan, in almost every competitive round he plays, including every hole of this week’s #BMWPhillyAm.
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“They are there all the time for me. It means the world that I’m able to look over my shoulder and see them during a round,” he said. “They’ll tell me something like ‘Keep fighting’ or to keep my head up. That can be crucial at times.”
His ties to the BMW Philadelphia Amateur and GAP competitions are strong as well. His grandfather, George Tall, was a frequent GAP-ite back in his playing days. George was a long-time friend of Lincoln Roden, III, the youngest Amateur Champion ever at 18 years, three months and 19 days, who took home the 1949 title at his home club of Huntingdon Valley. Roden went on to defend his title in 1950 at this week’s host, Whitemarsh Valley.
“My grandfather and Linc played along together back then, so it’s kind of cool that our family has been involved in GAP for so long. It’s special that now I’m out here playing,” he said.
In the morning’s Round of 32, Tall battled back to earn a hard-fought win in 19 holes against Lu Lu Country Club’s Michael Moffat. He followed that up with a 1-up victory over Patrick Sheehan of Talamore Country Club in the Round of 16.
“The match against Patrick – going up against another young player like that – was a tough but fun one. Unfortunately for him, he missed that putt on No. 18 (a three-foot par look to tie) but sometimes they just don’t fall. But now I’m just looking forward to the next step on Thursday,” said the Devon, Pa. resident.
With two wins on the day, Tall punched his ticket to the quarterfinals, where he’ll square off with Peter Barron, III of Greate Bay Country Club.
“I know it’s going to be a tough match no matter who I play against,” said Tall, who will play for the Lafayette College Leopards this fall. “I’m not going to worry about who is ranked better or more experienced. I just have to come out here and play my game, and then we’ll see what happens. Who knows?”
The week he’s assembled thus far has surpassed his initial expectations. It’ll go a long way in building experience heading into his Division-1 collegiate career.
“This week has kind of hit me as a really cool one. It’s one that I won’t forget,” he said.
Temple's McGuckin takes down GAP titan Osberg
Marty McGuckin had two completely different challenges on Day Two.
The first, Connor McNicholas, a fellow Temple University Owl, the second, 2014 #BMWPhillyAm Champion and GAP stalwart, Jeff Osberg.
“When I played Connor [McNicholas] this morning my goal was to make as many pars as possible,” said McGuckin, 20, of Valley Forge, Pa. “What I like to call it is just parring my opponent to death. It ended up working nicely. I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and two-putted a lot. I happened to roll in some putts toward the end of the match, which was nice. I kept that same approach when I played Jeff [Osberg] because I knew he wasn’t going to make any mistakes.”
McGuckin defeated McNicholas, 4&3, and held off a late Osberg rally to prevail in 20 holes.
In only his second BMW Philadelphia Amateur appearance, McGuckin qualified as a Top-10 seed both times. He was the fifth seed in 2017 at Philadelphia Cricket Club after carding a 68 at its Militia Hill course and the ninth seed this year after a round of 71 at Green Valley Country Club and a 74 at Whitemarsh Valley.
“Since the summer started, I haven’t really been playing or practicing that much,” said McGuckin, of RiverCrest Golf Club and Preserve. “I got a couple of lessons from Philadelphia Cricket Club professional Mark Anderson, which helped out a lot. It is all mental with me. If I think I can do it, I can. If I play well, I think I can compete with the best of them.”
After spending two seasons on Temple’s golf team and competing in a total of five tournaments, the finance major decided he would no longer be on the team to focus on his academics.
“Playing golf on the team was great and I loved my teammates at Temple,” said McGuckin. “But my parents and I were talking about how golf isn’t everything. I’m not going to play professional golf and it is what it is.”
After getting Osberg to dormie with two holes remaining, McGuckin lost Nos. 8 and 9 to a par and a birdie.
By McGuckin’s side on Wednesday was Johan Scholdstrum, a fellow member at RiverCrest. Scholdstrum turned out to be vital to McGuckin’s mental efforts after facing adversity late against Osberg.
“Johan is awesome,” said McGuckin. “He and I play quite often up at RiverCrest and I consider him to be one of my closest friends at the club. He is just a great guy. When you have a caddie, you are looking for a companion: someone who you can talk to and who knows the game really well.”
Osberg clawed his way back as best as he could. He extended the match with a 20-foot birdie on the par 3, 121-yard ninth. Osberg said he struggled to make many putts throughout the week, but had high praise for his most-recent competitor.
“I was happy to make it to extra holes after being dormie with two holes to play,” said Osberg, 33, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “I have seen Marty around but never seen him play or swing. I was impressed with how far he hits it and the control he has with his clubs. I’ll be surprised if he loses this week and I would be surprised if he doesn’t win something soon.”
UPDATE: Pick-a-hole location vote/contest
A fan vote played a role in this week’s championship.
Four choices were presented for today’s matches on Hole No. 12, a par 3, measuring approximately 190 yards. Featuring an elongated green with front bunkers and multiple contours, the green is 40-yards long sloped back to front for about 4/5 of the surface with the back 1/5 running front to back.
Letter A – the lower-left hole location – was selected in pick-the-hole vote. Over Wednesday's two rounds, the field played the hole in 7-over par: seven birdies, 25 pars and 14 bogeys.
Two random winners received a pair of tickets to this week’s U.S. Open Championship being played at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.