“When we drive, I carpool,” Jeremy Wall said. “I love to drive and me driving gets the day off to a good start.”
Both Jeremy and Ethan were able to qualify for their first Amateur by way of the qualifier at Greenbriar Oceanaire Golf & Country Club on May 20. Jeremy claimed medalist honors with a round of 73 and his brother finished second after carding a 76.
Jeremy and Ethan both qualified for match play. Jeremy shot rounds of 73 and 72 after starting on the Wissahickon course and Ethan shot rounds of 78 and 70 beginning on Militia Hill.
Jeremy is the No. 15 seed and will play No. 18 seed P.J. Acierno at 7:37 a.m. starting on 11. Ethan is the No. 23 seed and will play 2015 Amateur champion and Philadelphia Cricket Club member Cole Berman at 7:52 a.m. starting on the 11th as well.
The two brothers are very familiar with each other’s games. The Brielle, N.J. natives both played college golf together at Loyola University Maryland where Jeremy is a rising senior majoring in accounting and Ethan will be a redshirt senior getting his Master’s Degree in accounting.
Jeremy’s game has been solid of late after finishing T-4 in the 116th New Jersey State Amateur Championship at Tavistock Country Club after carding a four-round total of 7-under-par 281. Ethan missed the cut after shooting 85 and 67 in the first two rounds.
Golf can be summed up as a family affair for the Wall’s, and they play a good amount of it together.
“Our family is full of golfers and we are competitive,” Jeremy said. “We will all go out and have some four-ball matches and those matches get a little gritty, but it is fun. My mom has to deal with five boys. God bless her.”
The only other time the two played competitively in a match against each other was in the 2015 Manasquan River Golf Club Championship where Ethan was able to squeak by his brother and for now, claim the upper hand in matches between the two.
“Jeremy took it to 16 but I was able to win the match, so I have that going for me,” Ethan Wall said of his triumph in the match against Jeremy.
For speculation’s sake, the brothers could meet in the quarterfinals and Ethan and Jeremy both said it would be a good match and the loser might have to loop for the winner between the two.
“If we got paired up in the first round of match play, in order to save our parents some trouble the loser would probably caddie for the other,” Ethan said. “Since we are carpooling together you can’t just take the car and leave. While you are competing, and want to win badly, it isn’t the end of the world because we would know that a Wall would be continuing on and that is always a good thing.”
Under the setting sun, six players went to extra holes to decide who would be playing more golf tomorrow. It wasn’t a low-scoring playoff, as evidenced with zero red numbers earning spots, but instead featured a grind-it-out mentality for three available spots.
Ultimately Jack Melville of Lu Lu Country Club, Brian Fischer of Commonwealth National Golf Club and Matthew Smith of French Creek Golf Club prevailed. The triumphant trio beat out Matthew Mattare of Saucon Valley Country Club, Glenn Smeraglio of Lu Lu and Sean Semenetz of the home club.
In the first trio to go off the 18th (par 4, 469 yards) at Wissahickon, Fischer and Smith were the only hopefuls to card pars.
For Fischer, a Drexel University golfer, it wasn’t a very stressful experience at all.
“I didn’t have any feelings really entering the playoff. If I made it, great, if I didn’t, that would be okay, too,” said Fischer, a 21-year-old graduating Dragon captain from Philadelphia, Pa. “That’s probably what helped me, standing on the first tee, to be honest.”
His play showed it. His booming 3-wood rocketed to in front of the creek on No. 18, leaving him just 90 yards in. Fischer flipped a 58-degree wedge to 15 feet and two-putted to grab his spot.
For Smith, 27, of Downingtown, Pa., it was a left greenside bunker shot that saved the day. It was a beauty, and one that got a loud applause from the overlooking terrace full of players and spectators.
“That was a big moment for me, getting up and down for par. It was about an 8-footer, and played it just a ball outside to the right and it fell,” said Smith, who fired a 2-under 70 at Militia Hill followed by a 10-over 80 at Wissahickon.
It wasn’t until the second playoff hole that Melville earned his spot – the final spot, to be exact. His standard par on the starting hole (par 4, 396 yards) was good enough to get the job done. Mattare, playing alongside Melville for the last spot, had his chip come up short and missed the putt. Melville got the spot as Mattare was then putting for six.
“My heart is beating out of my body right now,” said Melville, 19, of Maple Glen, Pa., immediately walking off the course. “That was intense. Matt got a little unlucky there at the end, but I’m happy I pulled this one out. Making match play was my goal entering the day.”
Griffin Smith of Jericho National Golf Club was unable to show for the playoff despite carding the coveted 150 number. Instead, he attended his graduation ceremony at Council Rock South High School.
Forty-one Amateur Championships have come and gone since the last time Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Wissahickon course hosted the most prestigious Golf Association of Philadelphia event.
The 1976 Amateur, won by two-time Amateur Champion O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., was the last time the Amateur was played on the Wissahickon course.
The 2004 Amateur, won by Scott Ehrlich, was played on just the Militia Hill course and was the last time the club hosted the event.
Thirteen Philadelphia Cricket members represented the club in the qualifying portion, the most total players of any club in the tournament.
The club has hosted many high prestige events, most recently the 2016 Constellation Senior Players Championship, one of five majors on the PGA Tour Champions, won by German Bernhard Langer.
The course lived up to the hype and played extremely tough throughout the day as the sun was firming up the greens, leaving little opportunities to control distances from out of the rough and on the greens.
“The whole staff was on board for Wissahickon to host the BMW Philadelphia Amateur,” John Brennan, PCC member and qualifying medalist, said. “We get a lot of support in the [BMW GAP Team Matches] and we like the prestige of hosting big events because it allows the staff to showcase all of the great services we offer here.”
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.
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