June 14, 2018
It was an action-packed morning of matches Thursday at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club (par 72, 6,883 yards) for eight title hopefuls. After all was said and done, only four dreams of the J. Wood Platt Trophy were left intact.
Take a look inside how the quarterfinals matches unfolded, and who came out victorious.
In a battle between Feld, Drexel University’s Golf Coach, and McGuckin, a former Temple University player, the Owl flew away victorious.
RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve’s McGuckin utilized three birdies en route to a 2&1 victory over Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Feld.
McGuckin found himself dormie with four to play. Realizing he needed to make moves, he did so by winning Nos. 15 (par 4, 426 yards) and 16 (par 3, 161 yards) to cut the deficit to just 2 down. The 17th hole (par 5, 484 yards) ultimately was the closing chapter.
“I almost gave a match away already this week, being dormie, so I didn’t want to lose the lead late. If Ben won 15 or 16, I knew that I’d be able to close it out on No. 17 because of my yardage advantage,” said McGuckin, who played for the Owls during both his freshmen and sophomore seasons. “I knew if I made a 4 I knew I would be in good position. And I did.”
McGuckin’s steady play of 1-over-par thru 17 holes was the difference at the end of the day, combined with a shaky Feld driver.
“My driver wasn’t on today. I was scrambling for pars all day, and that ended up hurting me,” said Feld, who had advanced to the #BMWPhillyAm semis in 2012 and 2014. “A week like this doesn’t do anything but make you want to come back out here and get better. You end up tasting the [GAP success] and it motivates you.”
Jeremy Wall (No. 21) def. Matt Mattare (No. 4)
Wall’s 8&7 defeat of Mattare in the quarterfinals is one of the bigger match-play statements in recent GAP years.
The 22-year-old Wall, a Manasquan River Golf Club member, garnered a personal birdie party, taking out the 2017 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year along the way. Wall, a recent Loyala University Maryland graduate, went 4-under-par on Whitemarsh Valley’s front in order to take care of Mattare, winner of last year’s GAP Open Championship at Philadelphia Country Club.
“It was a good day. I blocked my drive on the first hole, but from there, it was pretty smooth sailing,” said Wall, who said he’s been struggling with the putter this week up until today. “Matt didn’t really have it but winning the first four holes put me in good position and I was metal to the petal from there.”
Wall’s birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 436 yards), 3 (par 5, 563 yards), 4 (par 3, 240 yards) and 9 (par 3, 121 yards) accounted for the scorching red numbers. He bettered Saucon Valley Country Club’s Mattare overall by 10 strokes – 32 to 42.
“It was just one of those kinds of days. He played great. 8&7 happens when one guy plays really well and one guy plays really bad,” said Mattare, 32, who will defend his Open title July 18-19 at St. Davids Golf Club. “I just couldn’t get a putt to drop today and it was kind of the flip side from yesterday. It all came to a screeching halt.”
Ryan Tall (No. 10) def. Peter Barron, III (No. 15)
In only his second appearance in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur, Tall continues to prove himself on the area’s biggest circuit.
In a 5&4 victory over Greate Bay Country Club’s Peter Barron, III, Tall showed that he could hang with the best players GAP has to offer.
“My game has come along well the last few years,” said Tall. “I was able to play in last year’s Amateur at Philadelphia Cricket Club and it was a huge learning experience. I saw what it took to make it to match play. Whether playing in AJGA events or GAP Junior events, all that experience helps.”
With the wind blowing some 20 miles per hour, keeping the ball below it was crucial. Tall’s lower than normal ball flight paid dividends in the match, especially on Nos. 10 (par 4, 384 yards) and 11 (par 5, 512 yards) where he went birdie, par to extend his lead to 4-up and he never looked back.
“I just thought if I gave myself a chance to get into match play, that would be cool,” said Tall, 18, of Devon, Pa. “I definitely look at the week as a success and it is flying by so fast. Once you are at a certain threshold, golf rewards consistent play.”
“The week here was great,” said Barron, III, 42 of Mays Landing, N.J. “I love playing in any GAP event and the facilities are great here at Whitemarsh Valley. It is like playing in a smaller version of a PGA TOUR event. It was fun to get back out here and play.”
Andrew Mason (No. 22) def. Michael Davis (No. 14)
Andrew Mason, of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, headed to the 17th tee (par 5, 484 yards) at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club with a 1-up lead in his quarterfinal match in the 118th BMW Philadelphia Amateur.
Two bad breaks later, he was All Square on No. 18 against Aronimink Golf Club’s Michael Davis wondering what had just happened.
Mason’s drive rolled to the grass lip of the bunker on the downslope, leaving a nearly-impossible layup, which he was only able to advance approximately 60 yards.
In the left rough, Mason hit a low punch below the trees. As it was flying, it clipped the last branch and ended up in the hazard. Mason then conceded the hole to Davis.
“After 17, my mental state was gone,” said Mason who won the match in 21 holes. “That sequence pissed me off and I thought I made my putt to win on 18 but I missed about six or seven of those throughout the day.”
“We went back-and-forth for a majority of the match,” said Davis, a recent Princeton University graduate. “I made bogey on both Nos. 3 and 5 because of three-putts. So I felt like I gave two holes away there. Andrew then chipped in on No. 4 for birdie so Nos. 3, 4 and 5 were a turning point in this match. Those holes just threw me off.”
After Davis won the first two holes, Mason won the next four to take a stronghold on the match. But birdies on Nos. 12, 13, 16 and 17 got Davis back to All Square. After halving 18 and the first two holes of the playoff, Davis and Mason both laid up on No. 3 (par 5, 563 yards). Davis was behind a tree and Mason was too far out.
But after Mason hit his lay-up into the hazard and took two shots to get on the green, Davis found the green with his third. But a remarkable up-and-down from Mason, capped with an eight-footer was good enough after Davis three-putted from some 60 feet.
“I don’t think either of us had our best stuff today,” said Mason, 29, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “I just made a couple of more putts than he did. I got really lucky on No. 3 because I didn’t shoot the right yardage to the hazard and then almost hit it into the hazard and made a putt. I just got lucky there.”
Davis, the 2015 #BMWPhillyAm runner-up at Llanerch Country Club, was ultimately happy with his week at Whitemarsh Valley.
“I haven’t played a whole lot of golf since our season ended at Princeton,” said Davis, 22, of Newtown Square, Pa. “I have been focusing on my exams and getting ready to graduate. My putting wasn’t as good as it was the first two days. I just have to keep working on my putting and I should be good for this summer.”
Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across 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.