Sensational Cedarbrook ready for region’s best
As the world gradually returns to normal, so does GAP’s grandest event.
The 121st BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship will take place June 14-16 & 19 at Cedarbrook Country Club. The beautiful Blue Bell, Pa. venue will welcome 135 of the greater Delaware Valley’s top golfers.
The Amateur normal is back. Participants first compete in 36-hole stroke play qualifying at Cedarbrook and The 1912 Club (qualifying site only) for one of 32 match play spots available. Any ties for the final spot(s) will be broken by a sudden-death playoff at the conclusion of play on June 14.
First and second round matches will take place June 15; the quarterfinals and semifinals follow on June 16. The 36-hole final is set for Saturday, June 19. BMW returns for a seventh consecutive year as the event’s presenting partner.
Cedarbrook, for the sixth time in its 112-year history, will host the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship. And it’s a union filled with some incredible moments.
In 1935, William Hyndman, III became, at the time, the youngest Amateur champion at age 19. In 1957, fellow GAP Hall of Famer Howard Everitt became the seventh individual to successfully defend his Amateur title. Allan Sussel, namesake of the GAP Senior Amateur trophy, fulfilled a 17-year pursuit by defeating Jim Rutter, 8&7, in the 1969 Amateur at Cedarbrook.
Herman Fry reported to work at a Reading, Pa. paint victory hours after his 1971 win. In 1988, Brian Rothaus, at the time, set a record for the largest margin of victory when he defeated George Dillon, 9&8. Finally, Clint Deibert became the first Doylestown Country Club member to win the Amateur in 2005 at Cedarbrook, edging Tug Maude, 2&1.
“We’re very fortunate to host and show off the club. I know everybody here is very excited,” Ron Pine, Cedarbrook’s golf professional, said. “We did a large tree removal project this year. You can see a lot of the golf course from most of the areas behind the clubhouse. It’s some of the best conditioning of the year. The course is firm and fast.”
“It’s a huge excitement for me, but more for the members. Our membership is terrific,” Ric Sucro, a Cedarbrook member of 15 years who will make his BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship debut after qualifying at Heidelberg Country Club, said. “It’s great to host the best amateurs in the Philadelphia area. I just want to represent Cedarbrook and play well.”
Sucro, a two-time Cedarbrook men’s champion, believes the course is properly groomed for its time in the GAP spotlight.
“Our superintendent, Tim Kelly, has 225 acres and has done a tremendous job, so I can’t wait to have the best players see the golf course. It’s going to be a good week,” Sucro, 51, of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., said.
The BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship is a year removed from the not-so-normal. Unprecedented times caused an unprecedented complexion. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, GAP officials canceled qualifying altogether. A field of 80 — 75 percent exempt players, 25 percent players with a Handicap Index of +3.3 or better — competed in the Championship proper. Stroke-play qualifying shifted from 36 to 18 holes. Amateur participants could use single-rider carts for transportation. Caddies and spectators were prohibited.
Trying circumstances aside, Zach Barbin, a Loch Nairn Golf Club member, defeated Michael O’Brien, 5&3, at Lancaster Country Club. By doing so, he became the first player representing a public facility to win the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship. Public courses were officially welcomed into GAP in 1996.
Barbin is looking to add another Amateur footnote come Cedarbrook. Only 10 individuals have won consecutive championships.
“Every tournament I start or play in, I have the goal to win. Obviously, my goal is to win. I think my game is capable of that right now,” Barbin, 22, of Elkton, Md., said. “My game’s really been trending in the right direction. This past month at times, it’s felt like the best it’s ever been.”
Barbin, who will return to Liberty University in the fall for a graduate degree, tees off at 8:50 a.m. alongside fellow former Amateur champions Cole Berman of Merion Golf Club (2015) and Conrad Von Borsig of Philadelphia Cricket Club (2009). Other past winners in the field include Jeremy Wall of Manasquan River Golf Club (2018-19) and Brian Gillespie of St. Davids Golf Club (2001) round out that list.
Aside from offering live scoring on its website, GAP will provide BMW Philadelphia Amateur updates via its social media outlets. Follow @GAofPhilly on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #BMWPhillyAm when posting.
The BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship is open to all media.
For more information, contact Martin D. Emeno, Jr., GAP Director of Operations, at 610-687-2340 ext. 27 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship
Originating in 1897, the Amateur Championship is GAP’s premiere individual event. Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Albert H. Smith captured the first Amateur Championship by defeating J.D. Winsor of Merion Cricket Club in 37 holes at Bala Golf Club. The event’s format switched to medal play in 1938. J. Wood Platt went on to win two consecutive Amateurs under that format. His brother William “Zimmer” Platt earned the 1940 title at Philadelphia Cricket Club by being the only competitor to finish all 72 holes. The event’s format reverted back to match play in 1941. The Amateur Championship wasn’t contested from 1943- 45 because of World War II. Overall, 37 courses have hosted the Amateur.
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 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 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.