The 119th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship field has been whittled down to eight players after the opening two rounds of matches Wednesday at Stonewall (Old Course, 6,676 yards, par 70). Amongst those advancing into the quarterfinals are defending champion Jeremy Wall of Manasquan River Golf Club; 2009 victor Conrad Von Borsig of Philadelphia Cricket Club; and 2019 medalist Jeff Osberg of Pine Valley Golf Club. Osberg also won the 2014 Amateur. All three are in search of a second J. Wood Platt Trophy.
Stonewall remains a Von Borsig stronghold when it comes to the Amateur. He pillaged the field in 2009, defeating James Kania, Jr. of Overbrook Golf Club, 6&4, for the title.
He improved his Stonewall at Amateur match play record to 7-for-7 with wins over Austin Barbin of Loch Nairn Golf Club in the Round of 32, 1-up; and Zach Falone of Sakima Country Club in the Round of 16, 4&3.
“I’ve been trying to think why I play well here. I’m not particularly comfortable here on any shot and I hit it in the fescue non-stop but I think I figured it out today why I play well here. It’s because it’s a really, really complicated golf course. And it’s really penalizing,” said Von Borsig. 32, of Fort Washington, Pa. “Experience and thinking your way around the golf course is the most important [factor]. It’s not a first shot or a second shot or a putting course, it’s a race to see who makes the least amount of mistakes.”
The quarterfinals begin at 7:30 a.m. with the semifinals to follow. The 36-hole Final is set for 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Von Borsig faces multi-time GAP Major Champion Matt Mattare of Saucon Valley Country Club beginning at 7:52 a.m.
Von Borsig credited the green reading by Amateur competitor and clubmate turned caddie Marty McGuckin for his success in the Falone match. He also referenced a quick Peter Kostis YouTube video on how to improve one’s wedge game as the key to the week so far.
“The game was a little fishy. I was hitting it crooked and the wedges weren’t that sharp. I was trying hard to [get my game] in order with this coming up,” said the affable Von Borsig. “I watched this video two days ago by Peter Kostis [on how to hit your wedges] and he said hinge it up and keep it low and keep your right knee into it. I’ve been doing it [for every club] in the bag and I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can ride it.”
In the Round of 32, Von Borsig grinded out a 1-up lead on Barbin, a University of Maryland commit, after nine holes – the match started on the back nine – before using some of that reflective thinking on No. 7 (par 3, 158 yards) to grab the lead for good. With the match tied, both players came up considerably short of the flag. Barbin tried to ram in his lengthy birdie effort and then missed the six-foot comebacker. Von Borsig rolled his 40-foot birdie try to inches and won the hole with a par.
“It’s like I said it comes down to one decision,” said Von Borsig. “A small little thing like that [determined the win].”
In the afternoon, McGuckin’s reads and a hot-blade led to a 4&3 win over Falone.
“I don’t read the greens all that well but I’ve been rolling it really good. All of a sudden I got a guy who can read it perfect and I can hit the spots good,” said Von Borsig. “All those holes I won I’m making putts from all over the place.”
Wall won two tight matches to keep his hopes of being the first repeat winner since Chris Lange of Overbrook in 1993-94. He defeated Max Siegfried of Aronimink Golf Club, 2&1, in the Round of 16 after needing 19 holes to dispense Eric Williams of Honesdale Golf Club in the opener.
“I found a way. I didn’t hit it very well. I kind of made a lot of putts that you need to make to keep the momentum going,” said Wall, 23, of Brielle, N.J. “I made a lot of the eight to nine-footers to either half or win a hole. I just made a lot of smart decisions and made timely putts.”
That included draining a 15-foot par saver on Williams on the first extra hole (No. 10, par 4, 445 yards) for the win.
Osberg, too, had some tension in both victories. In the Round of 32, he defeated Carey Bina of Radnor Valley Country Club, 4&3, by winning five of the last holes after finding no breathing room early. Against Peter Bradbeer of Merion Golf Club in the Round of 16, Osberg trailed standing on the 14th hole of the match – No. 5 (par 3, 192 yards). A par there gave him the win, a conceded birdie on the next hole gave him the lead and a 30-foot birdie dagger on No. (par 4, 331 yards) earned him the victory.
Osberg, ironically, faces Wall’s brother Jack, tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. Jeremy plays Andrew Cornish of RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve at 7: 45 a.m.
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.
Round of 16
1. Jeff Osberg, Pine Valley Golf Club, d. 16. Peter Bradbeer, Merion Golf Club, 2&1;
9. Jack Wall, Manasquan River Golf Club, d. 8. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore Country Club, 4&2;
13. Danny Harcourt, Mercer Oaks Golf Course, d, 4. David Hicks, The Shore Club, 4&3;
12. Vincent Kwon, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, d. 5. Kevin Scherr, Woodstone Country Club & Lodge, 2&1;
2. Andrew Cornish, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve, d. 18. Ben Feld, Green Valley Country Club, 2&1;
23. Jeremy Wall, Manasquan River Golf Club, d. 7. Max Siegfried, Aronimink Golf Club, 2&1;
19. Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club, d. 30. Kyle Deisher, Five Ponds Golf Club, 4&2;
27. Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia Cricket Club, d. 11. Zachary Falone, Sakima Country Club, 4&3.
Round of 32
1. Osberg d. 32. Carey Bina, Radnor Valley Country Club, 4&3;
16. Bradbeer d. 17. Troy Vannucci, Little Mill Country Club, 4&2;
8. Sheehan, Talamore Country Club, d. 25 Patrick Knott, Merion Golf Club, 1-up;
9. Wall d. 24. Michael O’Brien, Bala Golf Club, 2&1;
4. Hicks d. 29. Adam Sutovich, Brookside CC of Allentown, 5&4;
13. Harcourt d. 20. Cole Berman, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 6&5;
5. Scherr d. 28. Chris Ault, Yardley Country Club, 2&1;
12. Kwon d. 21. Martin McGuckin, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 2&1;
2. Cornish d. 31. William Mirams, Shawnee Country Club, 1-up;
18. Feld d. 15. Dan Close, Woodcrest Country Club, 5&4;
7. Siegfried d. 26. Mariano Medico, Fox Hill Country Club, 4&2;
23. Wall d. 10. Eric Williams, Honesdale Golf Club, 19 holes;
30. Deisher d. 3. Zachary Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club, 2-up;
19. Mattare d. Ambrose Abbracciamento, Jericho National Golf Club, 4&3.
27. Von Borsig d. 6. Austin Barbin, Loch Nairn Golf Club, 1-up;
11. Falone d. 22. Benjamin Smith, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 3&2.