June 13, 2018
LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa.–This is not the Andrew Mason of yesteryear. Yes, it is the same person who dominated the Philly amateur circuit circa 2010, but this golfing version of Andrew Mason is very different.
Golf is not LIFE anymore for the multiple-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Major Champion who gave the professional ranks a try shortly after his amateur success. At age 29, golf occupies the space of a distraction from the daily real-world topics – family and work.
Golf’s importance level is different now.
A little of that former Mason, though, the ball-striking, clutch-putting one, has surprisingly resurfaced this week in the 118th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. Wednesday, the Huntingdon Valley Country Club member and Conshohocken, Pa. resident dispatched a pair of foes in impressive fashion to reach the quarterfinals. He downed David Herbst of West Shore Country Club, 6&4, in Round 1 before stopping Danny Harcourt of Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 5&3, in a Round of 16 match. The quarterfinals begin Thursday at 7:30 a.m. The semifinals immediately follow. The 36-hole Final starts at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Mason’s next challenge is Michael Davis of Aronimink Golf Club, the 2015 Amateur runner-up. The two face off at 7:52 a.m.
The other quarterfinal matchups are: Ben Feld of Huntingdon Valley vs. Marty McGuckin of RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve at 7:30 a.m.; Matthew Mattare of Saucon Valley Country Club vs. Jeremy Wall of Manasquan River Golf Club at 7:37 a.m. and Peter Barron, III of Greate Bay Country Club vs. Ryan Tall of Spring Ford Country Club at 7:45 a.m.
“I think it is what it is for a lot of guys out here, (an escape),” said Mason, who was 3 under in the 29 holes of golf he played Wednesday. He never trailed in either match. “Whenever I was winning all that stuff before I was in college or just graduated college and didn’t have anything else. I was practicing all the time. My life is so much different. This is probably the path I should have taken in the beginning. I made the decision and went for it and wasn’t good enough really. I’m happy. Even if I lost today, I can just go back to my life.”
Mason turned pro in 2013 and spent time on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica with limited success. He then registered a few mini-tour stops before filing to have his amateur status reinstated in 2015. In 2017, it was granted. He returned to GAP tournaments last year in the Open Championship at Philadelphia Country Club where he tied for 49th. In this May’s Middle-Amateur Championship at Llanerch Country Club, Mason carded a 14-over 85 and missed the cut.
“I’m not really as consistent as I once was,” said Mason. “[After becoming an amateur again], I was behind in my career and I really didn’t want to play golf. I have to focus more on time management to be a good amateur in the future.”
The future may be now.
He was a bounce away from failing to advance to the match play portion of the Amateur. Mason’s tee ball on No. 7 (par 4, 439 yards) at Whitemarsh Valley – the second 18 holes of the 36-hole Qualifier – bounced off a tree and landed inbounds. He would make par and avoid the cutline by a stroke. A bounce the other way would have sent the marketing rep for USLI, an insurance company, down the road.
That good fortune now has Mason on the cusp of something he didn’t do the first time: win an Amateur title.
Back in his first GAP stint, Mason won two Open Championships (2011 at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 2012 at Pine Valley Golf Club), a Patterson Cup (2011 at White Manor Country Club) and the 2011 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year. Those 2011 victories saw Mason join iconic figures James McHale, Jr. (1948) of Whitemarsh Valley; William Hyndman, III (1968 and 1969) of Huntingdon Valley and R. Jay Sigel (1980 and 1986) of Aronimink as the only individuals to record victories in both the Association’s Open Championship and Patterson Cup in the same year.
Mason also won back-to-back Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur championships in 2011-12 and the Pennsylvania Open Championship in 2013 (in his first event as a professional).
“It makes this more fun to play in to be honest with you,” said Mason. “I want to win the tournament but as far as putting in the practice I use to do, that’s long gone.”
The Mason title tour may be returning though.
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 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 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.
Round of 16
17. Ben Feld, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 1. Ryan Rucinski, Fieldstone GC, 2&1.
9. Marty McGuckin, RiverCrest GC & Preserve, d. 8. Jeff Osberg, Huntingdon Valley CC, 20 holes.
4. Matthew Mattare, Saucon Valley CC, d. 20. Austin Barbin, Junior Players Club, 2&1.
21. Jeremy Wall, Manasquan River GC, d. 5. Campbell Wolf, Carlisle CC, 5&4.
15. Peter Barron, III, Greate Bay CC, d. 2. Matthew Finger, DuPont CC, 1-up.
10. Ryan Tall, Spring Ford CC, d. 26. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore CC, 1-up.
14. Michael Davis, Aronimink GC, d. 30. Michael R. Brown, Jr., Lu Lu CC, 2-up.
22. Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 6. Danny Harcourt, Mercer Oaks GC, 5&3.
Round of 32
1. Rucinski d. 32. Marc Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 6&4.
17. Feld d. 16. Dylan Stein, Mercer Oaks GC, 3&2.
8. Osberg d. 25. John Samaha, Old York Road CC, 5&4.
9. McGuckin d. 24. Connor McNicholas, Lu Lu CC, 4&3.
4. Mattare d. 29. T.J. Summers, Commonwealth National GC, 2&1.
20. Barbin d. 13. Scott Ehrlich, White Manor CC, 3&1.
5. Wolf d. 28. Alex Pillar, CC at Woodloch Springs, 8&7.
21. Wall d. 12. James Sullivan, Jr., Lu Lu CC, 5&4.
2. Finger d. 31. Aaron Fricke, Lancaster CC, 20 holes.
15. Barron, III d. 18. Troy Vannucci, Little Mill CC, 2&1.
26. Sheehan d. 7. John Barone, Glenmaura National GC, 5&3.
10. Tall d. 23. Michael Moffat, Lu Lu CC, 19 holes.
30. Brown, Jr. d. 3. Gregor Orlando, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 20 holes.
14. Davis d. 19. Marco Nieto, Glenmaura National GC, 2&1.
6. Harcourt d. 27. Alex Golland, Spring Ford CC, 19 holes.
22. Mason d. 11. David Herbst, West Shore CC, 6&4.