BETHLEHEM, Pa. –Less than 24 hours ago, Jeff Osberg of Llanerch CC was in a playoff for the 110th Amateur Championship’s final match play qualifying position. Twenty-eight holes and two opponents later, Osberg finds himself in the quarterfinals of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s most revered championship. Osberg made short work of medalist and top seed Matt Raudenbush of Pine Valley GC, 6&4, in his first-round match and then disposed P. Chet Walsh of Philadelphia CC, 5&4, in a Round of 16 contest to advance at Saucon Valley CC’s Old Course.
Osberg faces Gregg Angelillo of Moselem Springs GC at 8 a.m. tomorrow. The semifinals will immediately follow.
|P. Chet Walsh of Philadelphia CC extricates|
himself from the left greenside
bunker on No. 5 (par 4, 475 yards).
“That’s quite a change from where I was,” said the long-hitting Osberg. “If Pete Moran two putts on the second-playoff hole I was out. [Moran and Osberg were the final two contestants playing off for the 32nd and final qualifying position]. Osberg would advance with a par on No. 11, the fifth playoff hole.
“I don’t really care what seed I am. Either way you are going to play good players. There are so many good players in Philadelphia it doesn’t really matter whether you play 1 or 32 or anywhere in between.”
Osberg’s mantra for Tuesday was consistency.
In the Amateur Championship Qualifier on Monday he “hit a lot of poor shots and poor chips. I made a lot of bogeys and no birdies.” Tuesday, he made just one birdie and one bogey – in each match – but all his other scores were pars, and that was more than good on the grueling Old Course.
It also resulted in Osberg, 26, West Chester, Pa., making the turn in both matches 4-up.
In the morning against Raudenbush, the 32nd seed Osberg won four of the final five holes on the front nine to build up the large cushion, all with level par scores. Raudenbush seemingly had issues with all parts of his game, driving, approaches and putting as Osberg registered fairways and greens.
On No. 11 (par 3, 172 yards), Osberg increased the lead to 5-up when he dropped his bunker shot from the front left to two feet. Raudenbush, in the right bunker, watched his splash out attempt roll 15 by the hole and he failed to make the putt.
Osberg ended the match on No. 14 (par 3, 179 yards), fittingly enough with a par.
“He played how I wanted to,” said Raudenbush of Osberg.
In the afternoon against Walsh, the 17th seed, it was more of the same.
Starting the match on the back nine, Osberg reeled off victories on holes 11-13.
On No. 11 (par 3, 172 yards), he put a 7-iron 30 feet right of the hole and drained the birdie try to move 1 up. On No. 12 (par 4, 443 yards), Osberg chipped up close for a conceded four and Walsh missed his 15 footer to save par. Osberg overshot the No. 13 (par 4, 314 yards) green with his drive, chipped up to 10 feet and missed his birdie chance, however, Walsh’s second shot came up short of the green and when his 10-foot par effort missed, Osberg moved three ahead. The two exchanged pars on the 14th before Osberg all but salted the match away on No. 15 (par 5, 600 yards). Osberg was short of the putting surface in the left greenside bunker in three and Walsh was just short in the fairway in the same number of strokes. Osberg proceeded to knock his bunker try to three feet while Walsh missed a six-footer par chance to halve the hole.
“What I thought was the key was I had what I would consider two makeable chips on 13 and 15 and I turned both of them into bogeys,” said Walsh, 45, of Wayne, Pa. “I left both chips six feet short and missed them both. I was 4 down after six. He was just playing too steady to overcome that.”
Walsh tried to rally with a victory on No. 1 (par 5, 556 yards) with a par compared to an Osberg bogey, however, that momentum was short lived. Osberg won No. 2 (par 4, 465 yards) with a fantastic third-shot chip from just short and right of the green that stopped a foot away from the cup for par and added a win on No. 4 (par 3, 157 yards) when he launched a 9-iron to five feet for an easy three with Walsh in the left greenside bunker off the tee. Walsh failed to get up-and-down.
The match ended on the next hole with a pair of pars.
“I hit it very well. I really hit my irons. The goal was to not lose focus. It’s a long day. It’s a grind. It’s hot. Everyone’s tired. I just wanted to keep the pressure on him,” said Osberg of his afternoon contest. “I wanted to do the same as this morning, hit fairways and greens and make Chet make a lot of birdies to beat me.”
Lange still kicking
Three-time champion Chris Lange of Overbrook GC (1984, 93-94), who recently turned 55 years old, remained alive in his hunt for a fourth championship with victories over Doug Marcincin of Northampton CC, the No. 2 seed, in the second round, 3&1, and a tough John Brennan of Spring Ford CC, 3&1, in the morning.
Lange said he knows he doesn’t hit it as far as his younger foes, he is the oldest remaining player in the field and was the second oldest to advance behind Gary Daniels of host club Saucon Valley CC, but with some guile and ingenuity has managed to survive.
“My mindset is, it is what it is. I’m going to be hitting longer irons in but that doesn’t mean you can’t win a hole,” said Lange.
In Lange’s afternoon contest against Marcincin, he cited the 16th hole (par 4, 496 yards) as a prime example.
Left with 258 yards for a second shot, Lange layed up with a 5-iron to 87 yards. He then put a sand wedge to six feet and made the putt. Marcincin was hole high in two shots, but left himself a five footer on the same line as Lange and missed.
A Lange victory would put him in select company. Only J. Wood Platt (seven times) and Harold B. McFarland of Huntingdon Valley CC (four times) have won four or more Amateurs.
NOTES–The oldest player to make match play was Gary Daniels of Saucon Valley CC. He is 60 years old. The youngest to advance to the Round of 32 was Matthew Burkhart of Meadia Heights GC. He is 19. Both fell in the second round … Overbrook GC fielded brothers, James, Jr. and Michael, and a father-son duo of Lange and Chris Lange, Jr. James and Michael Kania would have faced each other with victories in round one, instead Mike Meisenzahl of Hidden Creek GC, faced both. He defeated James, 1-up, in the Round of 32 but fell to Michael, 2-up, in the second round … Michael Hyland of Little Mill CC is the only other former Amateur Champion alive. He won the title in 2000.
32. Jeff Osberg, Llanerch CC d. 17. P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC, 5&4
24. Gregg Angelillo, Moselem Springs GC d. 25. Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks GC, 2-up
4. Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley CC d. 20. Gary Daniels, Saucon Valley CC, 3&2
12. Michael Kania, Overbrook GC d. 5. Mike Meisenzahl, Hidden Creek GC, 2-up
18. Chris Lange, Overbrook GC d. 2. Doug Marcincin, Northampton CC, 3&1
7. Tom Gramigna, Tavistock CC d. 10. Jimmy Johnston, Merion GC, 1-up
3. Justin Martinson, Hartefeld National d. 14. Ryan McCarty, Little Mill CC, 3&2
6. Michael Hyland, Little Mill CC d. 22. Matthew Burkhart, Meadia Heights GC, 5&3
32. Osberg d. 1. Matt Raudenbush, Pine Valley GC, 6&4
17. Walsh d. 16. Chris Storck, Moselem Springs GC, 6&4
25. Smeraglio d. 8. Stephen Seiden, Concord CC, 3&2
24. Angelillo d. 9. Jim Rattigan, Schuylkill CC, 2&1
4. Mattare d. 29. Robert Bechtold, Loch Nairn GC, 5&4
20. Daniels d. 13. Anthony Martire, Seaview Resort & Spa, 6&4
5. Meisenzahl d. 28. James Kania, Jr., Overbrook GC, 1-up
12. Kania d. 21. Rod James, Five Ponds GC, 4&2
2. Marcincin d. 31. David West, Whitford CC, 5&4
18. Lange d. 15. John Brennan, Spring Ford CC, 3&1
7. Gramigna d. 26. Greg Jarmas, Philadelphia Publinks GA, 2&1
10. Johnston d. 23. Scott Klee, Indian Valley CC, 1-up
3. Martinson d. Daniel Charen, Yardley CC, 2&1
14. McCarty d. 19. Chris Lange, Jr., 1-up
6. Hyland d. 27. Cole Willcox, Philadelphia CC, 3&2
22. Burkhart d. 11. Ben Smith, Woodcrest CC, 19 holes
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