LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa. –The DIY Network may want bidding rights on the 118th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Final. Jeremy Wall of Manasquan River GC and Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley CC – check the surnames – constructed impressive victories Thursday at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club en route to the 36-Hole Finale set to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Wall, an impressive 22-year-old from Brielle, N.J., blasted reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Matt Mattare of Saucon Valley CC in the quarterfinals, 8&7, before hammering out a 4&3 semifinal victory over Marty McGuckin of RiverCrest GC & Preserve. Mason, 29, of Conshohocken, Pa., chiseled out an excruciating hard-fought 21-hole decision over Michael Davis of Aronimink GC in the quarters before stoning Ryan Tall in the semifinals, 3&2.
It is the first Amateur Final for both players. Wall is competing in only his second #BMWPhillyAm. He made match play last year but lost in the first round. Mason, playing in his first Amateur since regaining his Amateur status last June, made his deepest Amateur run in 2011 with a semifinal appearance. He lost to eventual Champion Michael Hyland.
“Like the Metropolitan Golf Association, everybody comes and wants their name on these trophies,” said Wall, who has made the hour plus commute each tournament day. “The players around here and the courses around here are unbelievable. It would be a great honor to win it.”
Added Mason, “I wasn’t expecting to be here by any stretch of the imagination. It’s been fun. There have been a few other Huntingdon Valley members to have won it here and some other great players to win it here at Whitemarsh like Michael McDermott. It would be nice to add my name to that list.”
Wall, a recent Loyola University Maryland graduate, stated his intentions early and often against Mattare. He won the first four holes and the last four holes of the front nine to be 8-up at the turn.
The smooth-swinging righty birdied Nos. 2 (par 4, 436 yards), 3 (par 5, 563 yards), 4 (par 3, 240 yards) and 9 (par 3, 121 yards). His birdie on No. 2 was a chip-in from the right greenside bunker. It set the tone for the whole match.
“There wasn’t much I could do,” said Mattare, 32, of Jersey City, N.J. “I went from looking like I’m going to win that hole to being 2-down. It was downhill for me from there.”
Wall finished his 11 holes in 4-under par.
In his afternoon contest with McGuckin, Wall never trailed, slowly built a lead and never truly gave his opponent an opening. Wall won No. 4 with a par and then made a 15-footer on No. 5 (par 5, 506 yards) for birdie after his second shot trickled off the back of the green. He stood 2-up. A dogged McGuckin parred No. 6 (par 4, 374 yards) for the win to halve his deficit but on No. 9 (par 3, 124 yards) Wall extended that advantage with a 3. McGuckin missed the green short and right and failed to get up-and-down. Wall two-putted from 20 feet.
As winds continued to howl across the property, Wall jumped aboard the par train. He finished the match with six straight level scores. Errant McGuckin drives on Nos. 13 (par 4, 370 yards) and 14 (par 4, 378 yards) erased the comeback chances.
“The goal is to make match play, like it is for everyone,” said Wall. “Once I made match play it was just take each match as it presents itself and try to win it.”
The Mason-Davis quarterfinal match was a rollercoaster on turf.
Davis was 2-up after two holes. Mason headed to the back side 2-up after 9.
Mason remained 2-up thru 15 holes when Davis made a late push. The recent Princeton University graduate drained a 20-foot downhill birdie slider on No. 16 (par 3, 161 yards) to move one back, and then after Mason found trouble twice on the No. 17 (par 5, 484 yards) fairway, was conceded birdie to make the match All Square. The players halved the next three holes, when then on No. 3, the 21st hole of the match, both found the right tree line off the tee. Mason chipped out, albeit into the hazard, which was dry, but Davis was stymied behind a tree root. Davis’ third shot crossed the frontside creek but some 60 feet from the hole. Mason flubbed his chip but fortuitously stayed short of the creek. He hit his next shot to six feet below the cup. Mason made the par putt. Davis three-putted for bogey.
“We both didn’t have all our game. It was so windy you had to worry about not hitting too squirrely of a shot,” said Mason. “I think that may have been the longest match I’ve ever played.”
In the semifinals, Tall and Mason went back-and-forth early. The match was All Square thru six holes with four victories exchanged.
Mason then forged ahead for good with pars on Nos. 7 (par 4, 440 yards) and 8 (par 4, 481 yards). Tall three-putted both of those treacherous greens. Mason and another par won No. 10 (par 4, 382 yards) to go three clear. Tall responded with a birdie on No. 11 (par 5, 511 yards) from 20 feet and Mason missed a four-foot birdie answer. Mason, however, tempered Tall’s rally immediately, two-putting for par from 40 feet on No. 12 (par 3, 188 yards) to go back 3-up. He closed the match out on No. 16 with a par.
“This week was such a huge learning experience for me,” said Tall, 18, of Devon, Pa. “I was able to play against so many guys who had really impressive resumes. As a Junior [golfer], you only have three to four years of a resume but in an event like this you can have 20-30 years to compile good finishes. Competing alongside the GAP’s best was definitely a great experience.”
The 36-hole Final is open to the public.
NOTES–This is the 15th time Whitemarsh Valley has hosted the Amateur Championship, the most of all-time … Whitemarsh Valley is the home of J. Wood Platt, for whom the Amateur Championship Trophy is named. Platt won a record seven Amateur titles from 1920-42.
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 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 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.
21. Jeremy Wall, Manasquan River GC, d. 9. Marty McGuckin, RiverCrest GC & Preserve, 4&3.
22. Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 10. Ryan Tall, Spring Ford CC, 3&2.
9. McGuckin d. 17. Ben Feld, Huntingdon Valley CC, 2&1.
21. Wall d. 4. Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley CC, 8&7.
10. Tall d. 15. Peter Barron, III, Greate Bay CC, 5&4.
22. Mason d. 14. Michael Davis, Aronimink GC, 21 holes.