HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.–Michael Hyland’s bid for Amateur Championship history remains very much alive, and Brian Gillespie looks to add a second J. Wood Platt Trophy to his cabinet. Those two storylines, plus six fresh faces looking for first-time glory, headline the quarterfinal tales of the 112th Amateur Championship. The quarters begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday at Huntingdon Valley Country Club with the semifinals to follow.
Hyland the defending champion as well as the 2001 Amateur winner, would be just the eighth player in history with three or more Platt titles. Gillespie, the 2001 Amateur Champion, looks to join a rare group with two trophies.
“It’s a huge honor to make it back to the quarterfinals,” said Hyland, 33, of Marlton, N.J. “I have nothing to prove out here anymore. This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I want to see how far I can last.”
“I had no expectations coming into the tournament. I wasn’t really nervous. Whatever happens, happens,” added Gillespie, 37, of Wayne, Pa. “Again, my name is already on the trophy and I think that helps. If it wasn’t on there and you start to get this deep you start to think, ‘Boy I could get my name on that trophy.’ But it’s already on there and Michael did it last year after an 11-year layoff so it’s possible for guys like me to do it again.”
Hyland, who qualified as the No. 12 seed, survived two tight contests to keep hope alive. He defeated Travis Gahman of Philadelphia Publinks GA, 2&1, in his opening match before needing 19 holes to stop a game Dan Bernard of Aronimink GC in the Round of 16. Hyland led Bernard 4-up at the turn, but watched that lead slowly evaporate as the determined Bucknell University senior drew even when the two walked off the 17th green. Bernard, 21, of Malvern, Pa., knocked an 8-iron from 153 yards to a couple feet to win that hole, No. 8 (par 4, 409 yards). Hyland survived weary legs and a tired swing to close Bernard out on No. 10 (par 4, 378 yards) with a two-putt from 30 feet. Bernard left himself an impossible third shot when he missed the green long.
Gillespie’s matches weren’t filled with as much drama but his upcoming one could very well be.
He defeated the No. 2 seed Nelson Hargrove of Merion GC, 4&2, in the morning before stopping Brandon Matthews of Fox Hill CC, seeded No. 15, 3&1, in Round 2. Gillespie won the final three holes with pars to close out the 2010 PIAA state champion.
“It’s hard not to sit back and watch these guys hit it 30 or 40 yards by you. You almost become a spectator,” said Gillespie of facing a pair of young players. “I added the two guys ages I played together and they equaled mine. I just try to hit the fairways and greens and make pars. At a golf course as difficult as this with the conditions, for someone like me it’s not going to be a birdie fest. Par is a good score and I think that favors me.”
Hargrove, 20, is a junior at Brown University. Matthews, 17, recently graduated from Pittston Area High School and is heading to Temple University this fall.
Gillespie is taking full advantage of his opportunity. He qualified for match play by surviving a seven-for-two playoff last night. Gillespie birdied No. 10, the first playoff hole, to earn the 31st seed.
Gillespie’s quarterfinal matchup comes against clubmate Steve Dressel. The two have combined to win the last three St. Davids Club Championships. Dressel , 23, of Wayne, Pa., is in his first Amateur quarterfinal. He qualified as the No. 7 seed.
“We were hoping it would be in the final,” said Dressel of the matchup, “but at least there will be one St. Davids’ member in the final four. There will be very few surprises. We’ve seen it all before.”
Medalist Brian Colbert, the top seed, upended Daniel Charen of Makefield Highlands GC, 4&3, in his first match and fellow Villanova University Wildcat James Kania, Jr. of Overbrook GC, 3&2, in the second. Colbert, who graduated in May with a business degree, never trailed in either match. Colbert made the turn with Kania, whose brother Michael was a Villanova teammate of his, All Square, before winning three of the final four holes to close out his friend and foe.
“There was a definitely a lot of pressure to validate today,” said Colbert, 22, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “I was glad to beat James. He’s a good friend of mine. It was bittersweet.”
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.
Round of 16
1. Brian Colbert, White Manor CC, d. 16. James Kania, Jr., Overbrook GC, 3&2
9. Robert Galbreath, Jr., Philmont CC, d. 8. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC , 1-up
4. Ben Feld, Green Valley CC, d. 20. David Liotta, Whitemarsh Valley CC, 4&3
12. Michael Hyland, Little Mill CC, d. 28. Dan Bernard, Aronimink GC, 19 holes
31. Brian Gillespie, St. Davdis GC, d. 15. Brandon Matthews, Fox Hill CC, 3&1
7. Stephen Dressel, St. Davids GC, d. 10. Jeff Osberg, Llanerch CC, 3&2
14. Greg Jarmas, Philadelphia Publinks GA, d. 30. Ray Thompson, Overbrook GC, 2&1
6. Chris Ault, Yardley CC, d. 22. Ben Smith, Little Mill CC, 1-up
Round of 32
1. Colbert d. 32. Daniel Charen, Makefield Highlands GC, 4&3
16. Kania, Jr. d. 17. Robert Cunningham, Overbrook GC, 19 holes
8. Lutz d. 25. Thomas Hyland, Little Mill CC, 6&5
9. Galbreath, Jr. d. 24. Grant Skyllas, Moselem Springs GC, 4&2
4. Feld d. 29. Zach Allison, Lehigh CC, 5&4
20. Liotta d. 13. P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC, 22 holes
28. Bernard d. 5. Sean Fahey, Overbrook GC, 3&2
12. Hyland d. 21. Travis Gahman, Philadelphia Publinks GA, 2&1
31. Gillespie d. 2. Nelson Hargrove, Merion GC, 4&2
15. Matthews d. 18. Christopher Fuga, Phoenixville CC, 4&3
7. Dressel d. 26. Michael Johnson, Talamore CC, 6&5
10. Osberg d. 23. Mike Meisenzahl, Little Mill CC, 3&2
30. Thompson d. 3. Brandon Dalinka, The Ridge at Back Brook, 1-up
14. Jarmas d. 19. J.D. Dornes, Merion GC, 3&2
6. Ault d. 27. Vince Boyle, Torresdale-Frankford CC, 6&5
22. Smith d. 11. Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks GC, 2-up
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