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120th #PattersonCup: Final Round

Nicholas defeats Brown in Patterson playoff

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WAYNE, Pa. – Drue Nicholas’ grit made great.

The polished 20-year-old from Galloway National Golf Club outdueled veteran and champion golfer Michael R. Brown, Jr. in a playoff to win the 120th Joseph H. Patterson Memorial Cup presented by Provident Bank Thursday at St. Davids Golf Club (par 70, 6,546 yards). Nicholas’ birdie on the fifth playoff hole, in sudden-death, clinched his first GAP Major victory. Both players completed a four-hole aggregate playoff, the event’s tiebreaker, deadlocked at 15 strokes apiece. The two finished regulation tied at 7-under par with a score of 133.

“I’d say Junior golf is probably the root of it. You are living and dying on every stroke out there because you are trying to get a scholarship. That’s probably where I got my grit,” said Nicholas, who attended N.C. State for a year before transferring. “Coming back to go to Drexel [University], being in Philadelphia, which is one of the grittiest cities in the country. You just have to dig deep some times.”

At multiple times, Nicholas’ championship chances seemed buried. Each time, he escaped. None better than on the final hole of the four-hole aggregate playoff, No. 9 (par 3, 230 yards).

Nicholas trailed Brown by a stroke, 11 to 12. Both players pushed their tee balls right. Brown found the hard-pan next to the cart path. Nicholas landed in the greenside bunker on a downward slope. Brown chipped up to 20 feet left of the cup, but on the proper tier. Nicholas “chunked” his bunker shot and stared at a 30-footer up-the-hill must make. As if it was his destiny, Nicholas’ par putt tumbled over the edge. Brown’s look for par and the win dried up short.

“I was just telling myself get it to the hole. Luckily it fell. I didn’t expect that, quite frankly,” said a candid Nicholas, who lives in Philadelphia, Pa. “Luckily I got it there. I struggled with that all day today. I put the ball a cup out right. I thought I was done. I just couldn’t believe it went in.”

Brown, the 2018 Patterson Cup victor and reigning BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion, understands the mettle Nicholas displayed.

“Drue did what winners do. They hit big shots at big moments,” said Brown, 49, of LuLu Country Club and Maple Shade, N.J. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised when he made the putt on the fourth playoff hole. Usually, somebody that wins a golf tournament does something special like that. And that was certainly that. It was an amazing putt at a time he absolutely had to have it.”

On the fifth playoff hole (No. 1, par 4, 385 yards), the first of sudden death, Nicholas secured the precious Patterson. With Brown long of the green in two shots, Nicholas knocked a 60-degree wedge from 89 yards to three feet. Brown managed a par, but the steely Nicholas stepped forward and calmly rolled in the winner.

“I hit it really good. I just didn’t want it to hit the pin. I know that sounds bad to say. Luckily it was perfect,” said Nicholas. “I figured Michael was going to make par. I knew I had to make the putt. I was so happy [when it went in]. It rolled end over end. I said, ‘I think it’s in, I think it’s in. I was just relived.’ Mike’s one of the best. To be able to beat him on a pretty big stage, almost mano-to-mano, so to speak, was awesome.”

Brown’s victory in the Amateur this June completed the GAP Grand Slam.

Nicholas entered the day atop the leaderboard, carding a first-round Patterson Cup scoring record of 7-under par. Brown started a stroke back.

Little separated the two all day. Nicholas had Brown by two strokes after the opening nine holes. However, Brown birdied No. 10 (par 3, 177 yards) and Nicholas bogeyed No. 12 (par 4, 454 yards). The two remained deadlocked all the way to the clubhouse.

Nicholas’ second-best Houdini escape of the day came on No. 17 (par 3, 184 yards). Knowing what was at stake, he tugged a 6-iron into the deep, left greenside bunker. Facing certain disaster, Nicholas blasted out, with touch, and watched his ball dry up just short of the cup. An easy par. Never a doubt.

Nicholas’ earlier Junior golf mention may seem a bit peculiar, but consider he won the prestigious Optimist International Junior Golf Championship Boys 14-15 Division in 2017. The list of winners is a whose who of golf: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and many more PGA TOUR stars.

He noted he received a serious amount of college offers before heading to N.C. State. Not the fit he was looking for, Nicholas headed back home.

“I was getting those looks and figured I had to take it,” said Nicholas. “At the time, I wanted to go pro in golf. It just wasn’t for me. I came back to Philly. I have a much better balance now with golf and everything else. I want to be in finance and there is not a much better place than Philly.”

The week wasn’t a total loss for Brown, who sits as one of GAP’s most accomplished players these days. He added to his career playing resume by clinching the season-long Silver Cross Award – his first. Brown’s four-round total ended at 8-under 275 and bested Carlisle Country Club’s John Peters by two strokes for the honor. Before his Patterson rounds (64-69), Brown carded rounds of 72 and 70 during his march to the BMW Philadelphia Amateur trophy.

The Silver Cross is presented to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying rounds of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship and the Joseph H. Patterson Cup.

Provident Bank

Provident Bank, a community-oriented financial institution offering “Commitment you can count on” since 1839, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $13.72 billion as of June 30, 2022. With $10.87 billion in deposits, Provident Bank provides a comprehensive suite of financial products and services through its network of branches throughout northern and central New Jersey, as well as Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania and Nassau and Queens counties in New York.  The Bank also provides fiduciary and wealth management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company and insurance services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Provident Protection Plus, Inc. For more information about Provident Bank, visit www.provident.bank or join the conversations on Facebook (ProvidentBank) and Twitter (@ProvidentBank).

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 340 Member Clubs and 99,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Round Two
Name, clubR1-R2-Total
*Drue Nicholas, Galloway National Golf Club63-70–133
*Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu Country Club64-69–133
Cole Willcox, Merion Golf Club67-67–134
Andrew Keeling, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club69-67–136
Joseph Tigani, Fieldstone Golf Club70-66–136
Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley Country Club66-71–137
Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club69-69–138
Kevin Kramarski, Moorestown Field Club68-70–138
Chris Baloga, Briarwood Golf Club68-71–139
Peter Barron, III, Galloway National Golf Club70-69–139
Andy Butler, Huntingdon Valley Country Club64-75–139
Marty McGuckin, Philadelphia Cricket Club70-69–139
Gregor Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club70-69–139
Ryan Tall, LuLu Country Club68-71–139
David Hurly, Aronimink Golf Club72-68–140
Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville Country Club67-73–140
Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink Golf Club65-75–140
Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club67-73–140
John Peters, Carlisle Country Club67-73–140
John Brennan, Philadelphia Cricket Club70-71–141
Zach Dilcher, Hartefeld National73-68–141
Brock Kovach, LedgeRock Golf Club68-73–141
Richard Riva, LuLu Country Club68-73–141
Jamie Slonis, Tavistock Country Club71-70–141
Jack Wallace, Riverton Country Club69-72–141
David Colleran, Overbrook Golf Club72-70–142
Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook66-76–142
Stephen Dressel, St. Davids Golf Club70-72–142
Jason Loehrs, McCall Golf Club69-73–142
Joey Morganti, Llanerch Country Club67-75–142
Colin Sanderson, Makefield Highlands Golf Club72-70–142
Roy Anderson, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club73-70–143
Zak Drescher, Bent Creek Country Club73-70–143
Buddy Hansen, Blue Bell Country Club70-73–143
Nikita Romanov, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association73-70–143
J.T. Spina, Philadelphia Cricket Club71-72–143
Jim Sullivan, LuLu Country Club71-72–143
Matt Teesdale, The 1912 Club69-74–143
Dawson Anders, Indian Valley Country Club73-71–144
Stephen Barry, Running Deer Golf Club69-75–144
Connor Bennink, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club71-73–144
Michael Davis, Aronimink Golf Club72-72–144
Thomas Larkin, Paxon Hollow Country Club72-72–144
Christian Matt, Cedarbrook Country Club70-74–144
Ross Pilliod, LedgeRock Golf Club71-73–144
Scott Ehrlich, Waynesborough Country Club73-72–145
Logan Hay, Burlington Country Club70-75–145
Jack Irons, Little Mill Country Club71-74–145
Anthony Cordaro, Saucon Valley Country Club70-76–146
Dan Keenan, Little Mill Country Club69-77–146
Scott McLaughlin, LuLu Country Club71-75–146
Johnny Murphy, The Shore Club73-73–146
Jon Rusk, LuLu Country Club73-73–146
Kevin Scherr, Allentown Municipal69-77–146
Brendan Borst, Philadelphia Cricket Club73-74–147
Joshua Krumholz, Moselem Springs Golf Club72-75–147
Logan Paczewski, Huntsville Golf Club70-77–147
R.J. Wren, Honeybrook Golf Club70-77–147
Alex Seelig, Reading Country Club72-76–148
Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club73-75–148
Alex Butler, Overbrook Golf Club73-76–149
John Dimler, Northampton Country Club72-78–150
Matt Dolinsky, Honeybrook Golf Club73-77–150
Luis Diaz, Wedgwood Country Club71-80–151
Luke Fagley, LedgeRock Golf Club73-80–153
Jarred Texter, Conestoga Country Club72-WD–WD
WD – withdrawal
* – Nicholas wins on fifth playoff hole