The J. Wood Platt Trophy will find familiar hands at the end of this year’s BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship. Jeremy Wall, the reigning titleholder, and Jeff Osberg, the 2014 victor, both advanced to the 36-hole Final Thursday at Stonewall (par 70, 6,676 yards). The Championship Match is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
Wall defeated Conrad Von Borsig of Philadelphia Cricket Club, the 2009 Amateur Champion, in the semifinals, 1-up. In the morning quarterfinals, Wall overcame an early 4-down deficit that included a one-hole penalty for being late to his tee time, to defeat Andrew Cornish of RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve, 3&2. Wall would be the first repeat winner of the Amateur since Chris Lange in 1993-94.
Osberg cooled a red-hot Danny Harcourt of Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 2&1, in his semifinal contest. He advanced from the quarterfinals via disqualification when Jeremy’s brother Jack missed his 7:30 a.m. tee time. Both brothers, traveling separately, were forced to find an alternate route to the course from Brielle, N.J., due to an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Jack Wall arrived at the course 15 minutes after his scheduled tee time.
“I’m extremely excited. Obviously, the goal at the beginning of the week is to make it to Saturday, so I’m relieved to have done that,” said Osberg, who earned the top seed in match play via Tuesday’s Qualifier. “I feel like every match was extremely stressful. The last time I was in the Final (2016) I had some stressful matches and I had some easier ones. In the year that I won I kind of breezed through the matches to get to Saturday. This was as hard as I envisioned it to be and it kind of lived up to each of the player’s reputations that I played this week.”
In his other Amateur Final appearance, Osberg lost the 2016 Final to Michael McDermott, 1-down.
“Yeah it was a crazy start to the day. It’s a shame because Jack left before me. He had over an hour worth of traffic time, and then you know, the turnpike and this and that. I was just lucky because I hadn’t made it as far as him yet, so I had the option to reroute, and fortunately made it here,” said Wall, 23. “[I was] probably 45 seconds late. [I was 1-down] but you know, I was like, you have 17 holes to make up one hole, you can do it.”
Rule 5.3a calls for a player to be disqualified if later than five minutes to his scheduled tee time. If a player arrives and is ready to play under that time mark, it is a loss of hole penalty.
Brielle, N.J., is 110 miles from Elverson, Pa. and Stonewall.
The semifinal battle of past Amateur winners – Wall and Von Borsig – went to the final hole before reaching a verdict.
Though Wall never trailed after hole No. 10 (par 4, 445 yards) the match had its rollercoaster moments. He moved 2-up three times on the back nine before Von Borsig answered each instance immediately. Von Borsig’s final response came on No. 17 (par 3, 131 yards) when he canned a 50-foot birdie to keep hope alive.
On No. 18 (par 4, 442 yards), Wall’s tee ball found the left rough but his 8-iron approach from 191 yards landed a few paces short, right of the green in a manageable position approximately 30 feet under the hole. Von Borsig, 32, of Fort Washington, Pa., striped his drive and then sent his 9-iron from 148 yards to 30 feet right of the cup. Both players gave their birdie looks a chance. Each made par.
“I was almost thinking if we can win this for me and maybe for him a little bit, that’d be a cool kind of family thing,” said Wall. “I was thinking about him a little bit when I was out there. I lost the par 3 and walking up to that tee [on No. 18], I was like, ‘You know what, it could be worse, I could have been as unlucky as Jack got this morning and been home not even having a chance.’ So that was motivation for sure.”
Osberg trailed Harcourt, 22, a recent Gettysburg College graduate from Fanwood, N.J., by two holes before drawing even with victories on Nos. 7 (par 3, 158 yards) and No. 9 (par 3, 211 yards). The two then went back-and-forth over the next five holes, exchanging victories four times. The last of those was on No. 14 (par 4, 391 yards). Osberg netted a birdie after he knocked a 100-yard sand wedge to six feet to tie the match. That was also where the 34-year-old Bryn Mawr, Pa., resident put the pedal down. He made a fantastic bunker save on No. 15 (par 3, 178 yards) from a lie up against the lip of the bunker – Harcourt’s tee ball buried in the adjacent bunker – and then took No. 16 (par 4, 436 yards) with a chip-in birdie from 30 feet after missing the green right and long. He closed out the match one hole later.
“I know that there’s not a tremendous amount of multiple-time winners of the Philly Amateur. It would be great to win this twice, but I’m not really thinking too far ahead,” said Osberg. “I’m excited to be playing on Saturday. It’s great to be back in the Final. You don’t know how many opportunities you are going to get to play in the Final.”
There are 20 multiple-time Amateur winners, led by the legendary J. Wood Platt who won seven.
NOTE–Jack Wall was disqualified under the aforementioned Rule 5.3a.
“I probably left 15 minutes later than I wanted to, but when I got in the car, the GPS said 6:45 a.m. Then crazy things started to happen, and it went up over an hour. After that, things were pretty hectic. I was calling Jeremy and my mom, trying to figure out a better way to get here, but it just wasn’t in the cards.
“I’m glad Jeremy was able to get here in time. It was a crazy car ride for me, but things just didn’t go my way.”
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.
1. Jeff Osberg, Pine Valley Golf Club, d. 13. Danny Harcourt, Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 2&1; 23. Jeremy Wall, Manasquan River Golf Club, d. 27. Conrad Von Borsig, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 1-up.
1. Osberg d. 9. Jack Wall, Manasquan River Golf Club, disqualification; 13. Harcourt d. 12. Vincent Kwon, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 3&2; 23. Wall d. 2. Andrew Cornish, RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve, 3&2; 27. Von Borsig d. 19. Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley Country Club, 1-up.