FLOURTOWN, Pa.– Gregor Orlando turned the 117th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Final into his own Magic Kingdom. Saturday at his Philadelphia Cricket Club home, Orlando upended Grant Skyllas of LedgeRock Golf Club, 9&8, at the Wissahickon Course to become the 10th Cricketeer to hoist the J. Wood Platt Trophy in victory. The last being Cole Berman in 2015.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on that trophy with some of the best players in the area,” said Orlando, 26, of Philadelphia, Pa. “It’s really special. There’s nothing quite like winning the Amateur.”
Orlando was 3-up after the first 18 of the scheduled 36-hole Final. He then strengthened his title grip with each successive hole, winning six of the final eight to close his match on No. 28 (No. 10, par 3, 175 yards).
This was the first BMW Philadelphia Amateur conducted on Cricket’s Wissahickon Course since 1976, when Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Famer O. Gordon Brewer, Jr. was crowned Champion.
Skyllas was looking to become the first LedgeRock member – the club was founded in 2004 – to etch his name on the Association’s most prestigious trophy. He was also looking to become the first player from Berks County to win the Amateur in 40 years.
“I just didn’t have it today. It’s not like I gave up. It’s just that the shots weren’t starting in the direction I wanted to. I couldn’t get my putts started on the right line. And then when I hit one on the right line it didn’t go in,” said Skyllas, 30, Reading, Pa. “I played well all week. I was just a little flat today. I lost to a great champion. He doesn’t make many mistakes. I’m proud to be here.”
Orlando stated his championship intentions immediately, birdieing No. 1 (par 4, 425 yards) when he knocked a pitching wedge from 138 yards out of the right fairway bunker to 10 feet. He took No. 2 (par 4, 421 yards) with a bogey and the chase for the hardware was on. A steady Gregor and uneasy Skyllas resulted in the lead swelling to 4-up after 15 holes. The highlight coming with a Gregor birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 425 yards) when he knocked a gap wedge from 120 yards to inches. On No. 16 (par 4, 425 yards), Skyllas tried to jumpstart a comeback. He drained a 50-footer for a birdie to win the hole and added a first pump. However, the pair halved the remaining two holes and Gregor ended the morning 18 holes 3-up.
“I was a little nervous. I didn’t sleep well last night,” said Orlando. “I think it was the fact I wanted to win so badly. I came out wanting to get out to a big lead. I wanted to get out to a quick start.”
He started quickly and finished even faster.
Orlando hit nine of the final 10 greens in regulation to keep Skyllas under pressure. A fatigued Skyllas only hit two of seven fairways and five of 10 greens in the second 18. He missed short putts for halves on the final three holes to throttle any comeback attempt.
When Orlando converted a four-footer for par on No. 10 (par 3, 175 yards) – after Skyllas missed his eight-footer for 3 – the home crowd erupted in applause. That’s the same hole he aced last August to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia.
“I’ve wanted paint [on the Champions Boards] inside so bad. I haven’t been able to deliver especially in the club championships," said Orlando. "Now I got that paint, and it’s on the GAP Major board, so that makes it even sweeter.”
NOTES–The match play site for the 2018 BMW Philadelphia Amateur will be Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. The second qualifying site is to be determined.
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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.
13. Gregor Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club, d. 14. Grant Skyllas, LedgeRock Golf Club, 9&8.