HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.–The 112th Amateur Championship final is a feline frenzy. Princeton University junior Greg Jarmas of Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association and recent Villanova University graduate Brian Colbert of White Manor Country Club each survived dramatic twists and turns to advance to Saturday’s title match.
Colbert, the first medalist to make an Amateur final since William McGuinness of Tavistock Country Club, who did so in 1996, needed extra holes in both Thursday matches at Huntingdon Valley Country Club. In the quarterfinals, he edged a dogged Robert Galbreath, Jr. of Philmont Country Club in 22 holes before stunning Ben Feld of Green Valley Country Club in the semifinals in 19 holes. Colbert trailed Feld, 4-down, with seven holes to go before winning on the first extra hole.
Jarmas, too, needed some late match heroics. He won three of the final four holes against quarterfinal opponent Chris Ault of Yardley Country Club to win 1-up before defeating semifinal foe Steve Dressel of St. Davids Golf Club, 3&2, on the strength of a late, white hot putter. Jarmas would be the first public golfer in Association history to win an Amateur title. Public facilities became eligible to join the Association in 1995.
“I’m really glad that people are starting to notice me in the area. I hope it helps Villanova with some recruiting. I can’t say I necessarily expected to get this far but I played so well in the stroke play I kind of kept it up,” said Colbert, 22, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “I really grinded out some matches. It’s been kind of weird because I’ve known every player I’ve played and I don’t really know anybody else in the entire bracket.”
“I’m kind of shocked and surprised to be here,” said Jarmas, 20, of Wynnewood, Pa. “I know a lot of people at Cobbs Creek will be rooting for me.”
Colbert, who would be the first White Manor member to win the Amateur, most certainly expired a few of his Wildcat nine lives.
He twice trailed Feld 4-down. However, Colbert clawed back beginning on No. 12 (par 4, 420 yards), winning the next three holes. Colbert dropped a 142-yard, 9-iron to a foot; won No. 13 (par 3, 157 yards) with a par and took No. 14 (par 4, 468 yards) with a conceded birdie after Feld found the creek off the tee. Feld, a junior at Drexel University, responded with a par and a win on No. 16 (par 4, 399 yards), but couldn’t thwart Colbert’s momemtum train.
Did he feel he had regained some traction on No. 16, “I did. Things were spiraling at that point.”
Colbert laced a 3-iron onto the green of No. 17 (par 3, 199 yards) and two-putted for par to win that hole and squared the match on No. 18 (par 4, 448 yards) with a bogey. Colbert had honors on the final tee and applied some pressure by finding the fairway. Feld isn’t certain how or why, but his tee ball found the right hazard and he never recovered. On the first extra hole, No. 1 (par 4, 344 yards), an exhausted Colbert mustered up some strength, roped a driver down the hill and watched it stop on the green 30 feet behind the flag. Feld hit a perfect 3-wood, but his ensuing chip shot came up 15 feet short and he would miss that putt.
“The chip was the disappointing part on that hole,” said a dejected Feld, 21, of Blue Bell, Pa. “I hadn’t executed a shot in awhile and to hit that 3-wood the way I wanted to felt good walking down the first fairway.”
“I did have an invitation to Pine Valley on Saturday, which I will have to cancel now,” said Colbert, a Chicago native who is heading back home after this summer. “Obviously, it’s totally worth it. I’m excited. I hope I can bring it home for my school, teammates, family and friends.”
Colbert’s morning match was almost as frantic.
In an intense duel with former Wildcat teammate Galbreath, Colbert never led until the 22nd hole. He hit 2-iron, 54-degree wedge from 110 yards to 20 feet and two putted for par. Meanwhile, Galbreath uncharacteristically pushed a short putt on the high side.
“That match was so draining,” said Colbert. “Robert played unbelievable. I just tried to grind it out.”
Jarmas, 20, of Wynnewood, Pa. displayed his intestinal stripes as well. A year ago, he fell in an eight player for seven match play spots playoff at Manufacturers Golf & Country Club.
“That hurt a lot,” said Jarmas. “My game is better this year and I really wanted to make match play to see where it’s at.”
Jarmas twice opened a commanding 3-up lead on semifinal opponent Dressel. However, after No. 14, Dressel shaved his deficit to 1-down and appeared poised to draw even.
Jarmas’s flat stick quickly ended that talk, however.
On No. 15 (par 5, 568 yards), Jarmas and Dressel both stopped 25 feet short of the flag. Dressel was a smidge more away, giving Jarmas a good the read. Where Dressel’s putt stopped just shy of dropping, Jarmas’ in.
The next hole was more of the same. Jarmas punched a wedge from 121 yards to 15 feet above the hole and despite facing a wicked right to left birdie try, drained it. Dressel, this time inside of Jarmas but on a similar line, couldn’t respond.
“Being one of the final four players left from a field of 115-120 players is nothing to hang your head about,” said Dressel, 23, of Wayne, Pa. “I ran into a buzzsaw this round.”
If you think Jarmas’ comment about this being unexpected was fodder, you’re wrong.
He was set to play in a U.S. Publinks Championship Qualifier tomorrow in West Virginia. Obviously, he won’t be there.
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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of 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.
NOTES–Despite falling in the quarterfinals, Robert Galbreath, Jr. gave himself a memorable birthday gift when he aced No. 13 with a 6-iron against Colbert. The hole-in-one gave Galbreath,21, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., a 1-up lead at the time. It was his fourth career ace and second in the Association Amateur Championship. He recorded one at Stonewall in 2009. It was, however, Galbreath’s first at Huntingdon Valley, a place where he cut his junior golfing teeth … defending Amateur Champion Michael Hyland, 33, of Marlton, N.J. and Little Mill Country Club fell to Feld, 2&1, in the quarterfinals. A cool putter caused Hyland strife … Dressel took the battle of St. Davids when he stopped 2001 Amateur Champion Brian Gillespie, 34, of Wayne, Pa., 6&4. Either one has taken each of the last three St. Davids Club Championships. Gillespie holds a 2-to-1 lead.
1. Brian Colbert, White Manor CC, d. 4. Ben Feld, Green Valley CC, 19 holes
14. Greg Jarmas, Philadelphia Publinks GA, d. 7. Stephen Dressel, St. Davids GC, 3&2
1. Colbert d. 9. Robert Galbreath, Jr., Philmont CC, 22 holes
4. Feld d. 25. Michael Hyland, Little Mill CC, 2&1
7. Dressel d. 31. Brian Gillespie, St. Davids GC, 6&4
14. Jarmas d. 6. Chris Ault, Yardley CC, 3&2
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