Wilmington Country Club welcomes the region’s top amateurs when the 115th Joseph H. Patterson Cup sets sail on its South course Aug. 9-10.
Think big when it comes to Wilmington; the fairway, bunker and green sizes make the Delaware venue a beauty in the eyes of all beholders.
“It’s a great test. We’ve hosted plenty of good championships on that golf course, and it always holds up,” Joe Guillebeau, Wilmington’s golf professional, said. “The golf course is in great condition, especially for August. We’ve had so much rain that the rough is rough. It’s a matter of trying to keep up with it instead of it burning out like it normally would in August. I think it’s going to be just great. We’re looking forward to it.”
Wilmington’s hosted the Patterson Cup on two occasions. In 1967, Atlantic City Country Club’s William H. Care, Jr., a two-time Silver Cross Award winner (1964-65) prevailed on the venue’s North and South courses with a 145 total. Wilmington also hosted the then one-day, 36-hole affair with neighbor Fieldstone Golf Club in 2001. Tavistock Country Club’s Jamie Slonis, who is in this year’s field, won with a score of 144. He also competed in the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Wilmington.
“I’ve just always liked that golf course,” Slonis, 48, of Sewell, N.J., said. “At the time, it seemed to fit my eye. I drove the ball pretty well there. I like the look and the shape of the holes. For whatever reason, it always seemed to suit me.”
Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Jeffrey Osberg, the event’s defending champion, is also well-familiar with Wilmington. His boss is a member there.
“I think it’s a championship golf course that will bring out the best champion,” Osberg, 33, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “My expectations are to win this year. I’m looking forward to defending. I haven’t had a great season so far, but I feel like I’m playing well. I know there are a lot of people who are playing great in the GAP right now. Matt Mattare [recent Open Championship winner] is having an exceptional year. Same goes for Gregor Orlando and Michael McDermott. I think it’s going to be a powerhouse leaderboard.”
Perhaps one filled with past champions. Former titleholders in the field include Christopher Crawford of Spring Mill Country Club (2015), Cole Berman of Philadelphia Cricket Club (2014), James Kania, Jr. of Overbrook Golf Club (2009), Glenn Smeraglio of Lu Lu Country Club (2008, 1998), McDermott of Merion Golf Club (2007) and Greg O’Connor of Bellewood Country Club (2000).
All striving for a return to the winner’s circle.
“I would hope to contend,” Slonis said. “I had some success until the last five holes last year in the Patterson Cup at Huntingdon Valley, which is a course I’ve always liked. My game is probably not where it was when I won years back, but I think if I can manage myself around, I would hope to be up in the top tier. There are a lot of kids shooting a lot of good scores lately, so it’s tough to keep up. If I play to my potential, I could maybe make a little noise like I did last year.”
The Joseph H. Patterson Cup also serves as the final two rounds of the Silver Cross Award. That honor is presented to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying rounds of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship and the Patterson Cup. Philadelphia Cricket Club’s John Brennan leads LedgeRock Golf Club’s Nathan Sutherland by three strokes. Osberg, a two-time Silver Cross Award winner (2010, 2015), sits seven shots back.
As always, both the public and media are welcome to attend.
Aside from offering live scoring on its website, the Association will provide Joseph H. Patterson Cup updates via its social media outlets. Follow @GAofPhilly on Twitter and Instagram. Use the #PatCup hashtag when posting.
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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.