Malvern, Pa. – Jeff Osberg added his name to Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s legendary roster of Amateur champions with a performance for the ages.
Osberg became the 24th Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur victor to call Huntingdon Valley home, defeating Nelson Hargrove of Gulph Mills Golf Club by a record, 10&9, margin on Saturday at White Manor Country Club.
Osberg made a devastating move midway thru the first round to grab a commanding lead before closing Hargrove out on the 27th hole. The 10&9 score eclipsed Brian Rothaus’ 9&8 win in 1988 as the largest margin of victory.
“It’s a pretty good list. You look at the names that have come through Huntingdon Valley and then you look at the names who have won the J. Wood Platt trophy and it’s a who’s who of Philadelphia golf,” said Osberg, 29, of West Chester, Pa. “There are a lot of legends on there, a lot of national players and a lot of really great players who have been able to put their names there. It’s going to be awesome to see my name engraved on there as well.”
Osberg joined iconic HVCC figures such as O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., William Hyndman, III, Harold McFarland and Lincoln Roden, III to win the Association’s most prestigious tournament. Huntingdon Valley’s 24 Amateur Champions are double that of the next closest club. Whitemarsh Valley is second with 12.
Hargrove, a recent Brown University graduate, was looking to join Charles Bolling (1978) as the only other Amateur winner from Gulph Mills.
“I would have liked to have played a little better today,” said Hargrove, 21, of Haverford, Pa. “I played so well all week. I just had a tough mental stretch there. Obviously, Jeff’s playing great and I knew I had to play well to beat him. He just played unbelievably solid and wouldn’t let me back in it. I had a good time. I think I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience.”
Both players appeared unsettled at the beginning of the 36-hole final with Hargrove, 1-up, thru six holes. To that point, Osberg hit 3 of 5 fairways and Hargrove 2 of 5.
However, on No. 7 (par 4, 334 yards), Osberg dropped his game into overdrive.
He won the seventh with a par; No. 8 (par 3, 165 yards) after sticking a 9-iron to 15 feet for birdie and No. 9 (par 4, 436 yards) with a conceded 3 after lifting an 8-iron from 158 yards to 12 feet when Hargrove came up short of the green and made bogey. Osberg turned 2-up.
Osberg’s surge was far from over. He took No. 10 (par 4, 417 yards) with a fantastic up-and-down from behind the green for par; No. 11 (par 5, 538 yards) when finding the green in two shots behind a sensational 3-wood from 264 yards to 22 feet that resulted in a tap-in birdie and No. 12 (par 3, 186 yards) with a par after Hargrove missed the green.
“It changed real quickly from being 1-down on the seventh tee box. By the time I was able to catch my breath and really feel like I was playing well I had gotten a 5-up lead,” said Osberg, who won the 2010 Patterson Cup and Silver Cross. “It was a definitely a good place to be.”
Osberg moved 6-up with a birdie on No. 15 (par 4, 329 yards) when a gap wedge from 112 yards stopped five feet from the cup. Hargrove responded with a victory on the next hole, but Osberg finished eagle-birdie to close the morning session, 7-up.
He lifted a 7-iron from 197 yards to 12 feet for eagle and continued to step on the throttle when sinking an improbable, downhill, left-to-right 30-footer on No. 18 (par 4, 418 yards) for an emphatic exclamation point to the morning session.
“You need to look at your opponent on the first tee. He’s there for a reason. He may not have played his best in the morning but there is a reason he is in the final. You have to gear up and understand that you can’t take your foot off the accelerator,” said Osberg. “Anytime you start playing bad that lead can evaporate quickly.”
Osberg was 8-up before, in essence, recording yet another masterful shot on No. 24 (No. 6, par 5, 550 yards). Just right of the green in two, the former Guilford College standout holed a 25-foot eagle chip to go 9-up. Osberg followed up with a 9-iron to eight feet on No. 26 (No. 8). Hargrove found the water and the match was dormie. On the 27th hole (No. 9), Osberg came up short of the green in two but chipped up to a few feet and was conceded the par. Hargrove, unable to find the bottom of the cup all day, barely missed a lengthy par try and shook hands.
“Every year you want to win this tournament,” said Osberg. “I think that it’s been that last six or seven years that I’ve really had my eyes set on winning the Philly Amateur. I watched a lot of other people do it. I watched Michael McDermott do it a few times. It’s feels really good to make it through a long week and come out on top.”
NOTES–Llanerch Country Club will host the match play portion of the 2015 Amateur Championship … Hargrove received good news this week, receiving an invitation to the 53rd Northeast Amateur on June 18-21 at Wannamoisett Country Club.
9. Jeff Osberg, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, d. 26. Nelson Hargrove, Gulph Mills Golf Club, 10&9.
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 150 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.