WILMINGTON, Del. – After carding an opening round of even-par 71, Danny Harcourt happened to be paired with arguably the two most accomplished players in Golf Association of Philadelphia recent history, Jeff Osberg and Michael McDermott.
But Harcourt had no idea of the prominence of McDermott and Osberg in the GAP History books.
“To be honest, I had no idea who Jeff [Osberg] and Michael [McDermott] were coming into the day and if I had known about them, I might have been a little nervous, but I had no idea who they were,” Harcourt said. “I knew McDermott had some success in the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall last year, and Osberg won this event last year, but that was all.
“It was a lot of fun playing with Michael and Jeff today,” Harcourt said. “Those two guys hit the ball a long way and they were bombing it way past me. They didn’t play there best, but it was a lot of fun playing with them and they were very nice to me.”
In his first GAP event, Harcourt fired rounds of 71 and 74 to finish in a tie for 13th with six others in the 115th edition of the Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Wilmington Country Club’s South Course Thursday.
Harcourt is no slouch on the links himself. He piled up three wins as a sophomore at Gettysburg College.
Those wins came in the Penn State Harrisburg Invitational, The Hershey Cup and the Ursinus Spring Invitational. Harcourt’s worse finish for Gettysburg during his sophomore campaign was a tie for 17th, a mark that has shown the improvement of his game throughout the years.
“I came into college in the mid-to-high 70s but my game has definitely been improving,” Harcourt, 20, of Fanwood, N.J., said. “My school has a TrackMan, so I have been really working on that but hitting into a screen isn’t the same as seeing balls live on the range. I qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills in 2016 after qualifying at Shackamaxon Country Club and I was proud to see that improvement.”
A self-proclaimed exerciser and devoted brother, Harcourt enjoys spending time with his two younger brothers Jimmy, 18, and Tommy, 16. He plays anything from golf to hockey video games with them.
Harcourt was excited at the opportunity to play in a GAP event and was happy that he did.
“I saw that I was exempt for the event and I felt like this course would fit me well,” Harcourt said. “I wanted to see what the GAP was all about and I heard Wilmington South was a great course so I thought I would come and give it a shot.”
The rising junior grinned when asked about how he would summarize his experience at Wilmington, a world-class venue on the GAP circuit.
“It was a great experience because it was one of the best-run tournaments I had ever played in,” Harcourt said. “I loved how the course was set up and I played really well. Wednesday, I struck the ball really well and putted decent. Even on the putts I missed, I didn’t have a lot of long putts for par. I was really happy how the week ended up for me.”
Hughes makes GAP Major debut
J.D. Hughes has had a summer to remember and wanted to keep the momentum going.
After claiming the Pennsylvania State Amateur Aug. 2 at White Manor Country Club with a score of 10-under par, Hughes decided that Wilmington South and the Patterson Cup would be the perfect venue to compete in his first GAP tournament.
“I heard Wilmington South was a tremendous track and a great place,” Hughes, 21, of Carlisle, Pa., said. “My dad’s good friend from Dickinson College Law School, Bill Taylor, is a member here and he offered for us to stay at his place and get out here for a practice round.”
Hughes did compete in a couple of BMW GAP Team Matches representing LedgeRock Golf Club, where he’s been a member for two years. Hughes also spends some time at Carlisle Country Club as well.
“I played really well at the Pennsylvania Amateur and I am really proud of that accomplishment,” Hughes said. “The last two days have been a lot of fun and I knew that the greens would really test my putting. I had an absolute blast.”
The rising Penn State University junior continued his solid play with rounds of 74 and 70 to place in a tie for eighth. Wilmington South played longer than 7,100 yards and was an ultimate test, but the tall and lanky Hughes enjoyed the challenge.
“I loved the setup here this week and the course being as long as it was allowed me to relax and hit my driver hard,” Hughes said. “I didn’t have to swing too hard and I love the challenge that length provides and since it affects everyone I have no problems with it at all.”
After having a banner summer, Hughes’ future is bright and his easy-going attitude he said will help him move in the right direction.
“I made a commitment to improving the parts of my game that I needed to,” Hughes said. “I was happy with how I stuck to my work ethic and enjoying my time on the course more. Being relaxed makes it easier for me to have success so I take a more laid-back approach.”
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 151 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.