Jan 21, 2017

Top Headlines of 2016

To complete the 2016 scrapbook, the Golf Association of Philadelphia will unveil its Top 10 headlines. Whittling down a year’s worth of activity into a small bundle of thoughts wasn’t easy, but we gave it a try.

1.

  The 116th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship, with Merion’s East Course serving as the backdrop for the first time since 1954, served up a dramatic Final between Association top dogs Michael McDermott and Jeff Osberg. In front of a gallery of more than 200 spectators, McDermott, a member of the host club, was 3-up after the first 18 of the 36-hole Final. Osberg, who plays out of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, responded with a sterling charge on the second 18, grabbing a 2-up lead with four holes to go. McDermott then answered with wins on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 thanks to clutch shots and putts to recapture the lead, 1-up. On the last hole, the same grounds Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and others have traversed, Osberg watched a birdie chip from 80-feet rim out. It most likely would have forced extra holes. McDermott, standing 60 feet away, but on the green, two putted from 60 feet for his third BMW Philadelphia Amateur title.

2.

  Spring Mill Country Club’s Chris Crawford wasn’t just a force in the Philadelphia region in 2016. He also made waves on the national stage as well. The recent Drexel Dragons standout and now graduate bombed a birdie from 40 feet on the closing hole to qualify for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. That memorable stroke capped a qualifying score of 6-under-par 138 total, earning Crawford the sixth and final spot in a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier at Canoe Brook Country Club. He would go on to shoot back-to-back, 6-over 76s in the Championship Proper, missing the cut by five shots.

3.

  Three — yes, three — of the Association’s four Majors were decided in playoffs in 2016. In a four-hole aggregate format, Saucon Valley Country Club’s Matthew Mattare bested Michael R. Brown, Jr. and Matthew Finger by one and two strokes, respectively, to take the 32nd Middle-Amateur presented by Callaway Golf. Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Jeff Osberg played eight extra holes en route to grabbing both the Open Championship and Joseph H. Patterson Cup. The two-time William Hyndman, III Player of the Year knocked off a pair of collegiate contenders (Christopher Crawford, David Hicks) to become the first player to win both Majors in the same season since Andrew Mason did so in 2011.

4.

  Introduced in January 2016, this informative website space presents an in-depth look at everything the Golf Association of Philadelphia makes available to its Member Clubs and members. Philling the GAP is a monthly series highlighting the many services the Association provides such as handicapping, course rating, tournaments or even technology perks. We view this campaign as a way to educate the public on what exactly our Association does and offers. Make sure to follow along!

5.

  The Players of the Year competition welcomed three returnees and a newbie. In close races that came down to the wire, Jeff Osberg (William Hyndman, III), Chip Lutz (Senior) and Don Donatoni (Super-Senior) each outlasted their contemporaries. For the second straight year, Osberg edged Michael McDermott. Meanwhile, it’s seven consecutive titles for Lutz and four for Donatoni. In the Association’s Junior sect, Marty McGuckin earned his first Player of the Year Award thanks to breakout season. The Temple University freshman finished as runner-up in the Junior Boys’ Championship and captured the Christman Cup presented by GlobalGolfPost along the way.

6.

  A vision of Golf Association of Philadelphia President Bob Morey, the 1 MORE campaign encouraged members to further engage with the game in 2016. Whether that meant an extra meal, another round among friends or a follow-up lesson with your teaching professional, the act of “one more” resounded through this promotion. More than 300 members opted into the program, which ran from April to October, to show their support.

7.

  It was another special year for the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust. In 2016-17, the Trust assisted 191 Caddie-Scholars in pursuit of higher education with a record $1.15 million in grants. Overall, the J. Wood Platt raised a near record $1.5 million that including two anonymous Endowed Scholarship Program grants, one for $50,000 and one for $100,000. Despite its efforts, students still face a remarkable 57-percent in unmet need. Please consider making a donation to the Trust: Donation form.

8.

  Rumor has it that “a decade of excellence” was originally tabbed as the main headline for the Golf Association of Philadelphia Magazine’s Winter 2016 Issue; the editorial brass, understandably so, scrapped it to avoid pomposity. But it’s an occasion that deserved its distinguished due and a spot on this year-end list. Here’s to the next decade-plus.

9.

  Say it ain’t solo. The USGA ruled that scores shot while playing golf by yourself are no longer acceptable for handicap purposes. “This change underscores the importance of providing full and accurate information regarding a player’s potential scoring ability, and the ability of other players to form reasonable basis for supporting or disputing a posted score.” Nevertheless, the Golf Association of Philadelphia saw 1,140,375 scores posted to individuals’ handicap records during the active posting season in 2016.

10.

  Lehigh Country Club’s Bob Beck is likely still shaking his head over this one. In the Brewer Cup final against Christopher Clauson, his victory prospects went askew once a drive on the first extra hole careened toward out-of-bounds territory. One of those “lucky bounces” put Beck’s golf ball in the fairway. He knocked his approach into the right greenside bunker on No. 1 at Overbrook Golf Club. Beck then holed his next shot for birdie and an improbable Brewer win.

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.

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