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118th Open Championship preview

Philadelphia Cricket set to host July 19-20

Milestone meets milestone when the 118th Open Championship heads to Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon) July 19-20.

| Course flyover | Media guide |

The Association’s third Major of the season will unfold under the backdrop of its 125th anniversary. Philadelphia Cricket, a founding GAP Member Club, celebrates the 100th anniversary of its Wissahickon Course this year. Special upon special.

The GAP Open Championship is a two-day, 36-hole stroke play event — a change implemented in 2017. A field of 143 (101 amateurs, 42 professionals) will be cut to the low 60 and ties after Round One. The GAP Open Championship is a William Hyndman, III Player of the Year event.

Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Wissahickon Course hosted the GAP Open Championship on five occasions (1933, 1939, 1960, 1962, 2015). Cricket’s St. Martins Course in Chestnut Hill, Pa. staged the event in the inaugural Open Championship in 1903. It also welcomed the 1907 and 1910 editions.

Philadelphia Cricket Club opened its Wissahickon Course on July 4, 1922. Designed by the accredited A..W. Tillinghast, it underwent a significant restoration in 2013. Architect Keith Foster supervised the project, which included the rebuilding of greens and removal of trees.

“[Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon)] is always in great shape,” Philadelphia Cricket Club COO/Director of Golf Jim Smith, Jr. said. “It’s a true test of championship golf. The winning score is typically even par to 3-under for three days of golf. It’s absolutely an honor [to host the championship], this is one of GAP’s majors and they like to take it to great courses with friendly and cooperative facilities.”

The Wissahickon Course welcomed three national events since its restoration: the 2015 PGA Professional National Championship, the 2016 Constellation Senior Players Championship and the 2019 Big Ten Championship. Golf Digest ranked Wissahickon No. 36 in its 2021 listing of the top classic courses built before 1960.

Blake Hinckley, a Philadelphia PGA Section member, isn’t returning to defend his Open Championship crown. The field will feature nine former titleholders: Michael Little of Makefield Putters (2020); Jeff Osberg of Pine Valley Golf Club (2019, 2016); Billy Stewart of Union League Liberty Hill (2018); Matthew Mattare of Saucon Valley Country Club (2017); Michael R. Brown, Jr. of LuLu Country Club (2010); Rich Steinmetz of Spring Ford Country Club (2009); Mark Miller of Philadelphia Cricket Club (2007); Terry Hertzog of the Philadelphia PGA Section (2001) and Brian Kelly of Bucknell Golf Club (2003, 2000).

Osberg, a four-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year, returns to the Open Championship field after a one-year hiatus. He is accustomed to Cricket’s grounds. Osberg annually participates in the Ross & Smith, the club’s three-day Member-Guest. He finished as runner-up in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Open Championship at Wissahickon a year ago. Osberg carded rounds of 65, 72 and 73 before succumbing to professional Alex Blickle on the fourth playoff hole.

“[Philadelphia Cricket] is an unbelievably great course. I think it sets up well for me. It’s a place I feel very comfortable,” Osberg, 38, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “I haven’t played as much this as I would’ve liked, competition-wise. I haven’t practiced as much as I would like. It’s nice to be at a course that suits my game and allows me to feel comfortable from tee to green. I would say my expectations are pretty high.”

Osberg is looking to become the eighth individual to capture three Open titles. That list includes Jack Campbell (1903-04, 1908), Ed B. Dudley (1933, 1936, 1940), Frank Dobbs (1984, 1991-92), Clarence W. Hackney (1923, 1930-31), Dick Hendrickson (1972-73, 1981), Johnny J. McDermott (1910-11, 1913) and Jerry Pisano (1957, 1962, 1965).

“I grew up caddying in the Open Championship for my dad (Rick). I was there when he won it [in 1999] at Waynesborough, so to have my name on the trophy not once, but twice is something that’s obviously special to me,” Osberg said. “It’s special to be a part of that history. It’s important to me to try and win it a third time, so I’m showing up to get in the hunt for Wednesday.”

GAP Hall of Famer R. Jay Sigel holds the most Open titles at six. He won all of those as an amateur. Overall, amateurs triumphed on 21 occasions.

Open Championship participants include professionals who are members in good standing of the Philadelphia PGA Section, head professionals of GAP Member Clubs and amateurs who are members of GAP Member Clubs and carry a GAP/USGA handicap index of 7.0 or less.

The low professional receives $7,000.

Connect with the Open Championship via GAP’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Use #GAPOpen when posting.

As always, the public and media are welcome to attend.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.