Splendid Stonewall set for 119th #BMWPhillyAm
Remote in location yet revered in reputation, Stonewall steps into the spotlight when it hosts the 119th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship June 11-13 & 15.
The majestic Elverson, Pa. venue will welcome 138 of the region’s top players. At stake is the coveted J. Wood Platt trophy, awarded to the champion of GAP’s premier event.
Participants first compete in a 36-hole stroke play qualifier at Stonewall’s Old and North (qualifying site only) courses for one of 32 match play spots available. Any ties for the final spot(s) will be broken by a sudden-death playoff at the conclusion of play on June 11.
First and second-round matches will take place June 12, with the quarterfinals and semifinals following on June 13. The remaining two players face off in a 36-hole final on Saturday, June 15. BMW USA returns for a fifth consecutive year as the event’s presenting partner.
Manasquan River Golf Club’s Jeremy Wall will defend his title. He defeated Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Andrew Mason in 36 holes a year ago at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. Wall enters Stonewall with one goal in mind — at least to start.
“I’m just hoping to make match play,” Wall, 23, of Brielle, N.J., said. “That was my goal last year. If you don’t complete the first goal, then you’re not going to win. You can’t be thinking about match play during stroke play. You just have to take care of what you need to take care of and move on from there.”
Wall brings a limited amount of course experience to Stonewall (North). He’s never set foot on the Old Course.
“That’s a USGA championship golf course, so I don’t expect anything less than a strong but fair test of golf,” Wall, who competed in U.S. Open Sectional qualifying earlier this week, said.
Wall will tee off alongside a pair of former Amateur champions in Lu Lu Country Club’s James Sullivan, Jr. (1999) and Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Conrad Von Borsig (2009). Stonewall served as the site of Von Borsig’s triumph. He defeated Overbrook Golf Club’s James Kania, Jr., 6&4, in the Final.
“I’m excited to be back. I love those golf courses and the beautiful Chester County countryside out there,” Von Borsig, 32, of Fort Washington, Pa., said. “The year I won at Stonewall, I was kind of on the bubble. I was [seeded No. 28]. There’s precedent that seeding doesn’t matter too much. I expect to make match play, and from there you never know. Nobody’s beaten me at Stonewall in 10 years, so we’ll see.”
Affability, not arrogance. After all, past success at Stonewall, a place with plenty of risk/reward scenarios and strategic shot selections, serves one well.
“Playing all of those matches there and having so much experience, you saw patterns: holes that you could play more aggressive, holes you could play more conservative,” Von Borsig said. “I’ll definitely lean on those matches. They’re still blazed in my mind. I think I can rely on some of that experience still, even though it’s 10 years later.”
Stonewall hosted its first BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship in 2000, when Little Mill Country Club’s Michael Hyland defeated three-time champion (2008, 2013, 2016) Michael McDermott in 38 holes. In 2009, McDermott, a Merion Golf Club member, lost to Von Borsig in the semifinals, 1-up.
His last competitive trip to Stonewall? A remarkable run to the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship quarterfinals, where he fell to eventual champion Stewart Hagestad of Newport Beach Calif., 2-up.
“Between two Philadelphia Amateurs and the U.S. Mid-Amateur, all of them have been good weeks. But at the same token, I haven’t actually won anything at Stonewall, so maybe this will be the week when everything will align,” McDermott, 44, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “Stonewall has certainly been a place where I’ve had good success in matches in the past. I’m excited. I just got to try and have energy to be able to go a full week.”
Other former Amateur champions in the field include Cole Berman of Philadelphia Cricket (2015); Jeff Osberg of Pine Valley Golf Club (2014); Scott Ehrlich of Waynesborough Country Club (2004) and Brian Gillespie of St. Davids Golf Club (2001).
As always, both the public and media are welcome to attend.
Aside from offering live scoring on its website, GAP will provide BMW Philadelphia Amateur updates via its social media outlets. Follow @GAofPhilly on Twitter and Instagram. Watch live broadcasts via Periscope.
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.