PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — A pair of peaking collegians advanced in U.S. Amateur Qualifying administered by GAP at a magnificent Sunnybrook Golf Club (par 72, 6,989 yards) Wednesday.
Talamore Country Club’s Patrick Sheehan, a rising junior at Penn State University, carded a 9-under-par 135 to earn medalist honors. He edged Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Conor McGrath, a rising senior at Temple University, by a stroke for the top spot.
The 121st U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 9-15 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.
“I’ve just been hitting it really well this summer, and I knew if I could play as well as I have been, I’d have a chance at it,” Sheehan, 20, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “I love Sunnybrook. I played a practice round here yesterday. I knew how to plot my way around the course.”
McGrath echoes Sheehan’s Sunnybrook affinity. Fondness and familiarity factored into his performance.
“I love this place,” McGrath, 21, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said. “I came out Monday for a practice round, but before that, I haven’t been here for years. I love the layout, the look. The greens are spectacular. I love them. It’s such a pure golf course.”
In Round One, Sheehan posted a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 — one off McGrath’s pace.
“I put myself in a good position going into the second round,” Sheehan said. “I think the 30-minute break [between rounds] kept me in my rhythm. I shot 3 under on the front nine in the second round. I just made a five-foot birdie putt on No.9 when the horn blew.”
Ah, the horn. GAP officials suspended play at 3:02 p.m. due to severe weather. It resumed at 5:10 p.m.
Prior to the delay, Sheehan vaulted McGrath atop the leaderboard thanks to his aforementioned front nine. On No. 2 (par 4, 460 yards), he sent a 9-iron 156 yards to 10 feet above the hole for birdie. Sheehan logged two putts from 20 feet on No. 3 (par 5, 511 yards) after reaching the green in two with a 6-iron from 221 yards. A 60-degree wedge from 101 yards set up that five-footer for birdie on No. 9.
If a 30-minute lunch break didn’t faze Sheehan, then a two-hour weather delay sure didn’t. Sheehan stayed steady. Eight pars and a birdie steady. On No. 16 (par 5, 559 yards), he launched a 5-iron 227 yards to 15 feet. Sheehan ran his eagle attempt five feet past the hole. He made the comeback slider.
Sheehan is in the thick of a tremendous golf stretch. He tied for third in the 117th GAP Open Championship a week ago at Country Club of York. He earned medalist honors in Pennsylvania Golf Association Open Championship Qualifying at Indian Valley Country Club on Monday thanks to a remarkable 6-under-par 66. Furthermore, he finished as runner-up in the PAGA R. Jay Sigel Amateur Match Play Championship last month. Now add the 121st U.S. Amateur — Sheehan’s first appearance — to an already busy golf schedule.
“I’ve been playing and practicing all of the time. It’s the most I’ve ever taken my game seriously. I try to work at it every day,” Sheehan, the 2019 Harry Hammond Award winner, said. “I needed to get better, and I knew I needed to get more consistent.”
McGrath is clearly taking his game seriously as well. The reigning BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion opened with a 6-under-par 66 at Sunnybrook.
Back-to-back birdies funded his Kickstarter. He stuffed a wedge from 139 yards to a foot on No. 2 (par 4, 460 yards). McGrath’s sand shot from the front bunker on No. 3 (par 5, 511 yards) nicked the flagstick and rolled to six feet. He cleaned up the birdie putt.
“That was really good to jumpstart the round. We rode that momentum,” McGrath said.
Another sandy circumstance unfolded on No. 7 (par 5, 540 yards), where McGrath caught the front bunker with a 4-iron. He splashed out to eight feet. That same 4-iron proved pivotal on Nos. 8 (par 3, 220 yards), 11 (par 4, 404 yards) and 16 (par 5, 559 yards). McGrath used it to set up a 20-footer on the former, a pair of two putts on the par 5s. His lone missed green resulted in his lone bogey. After finding the front bunker on No. 17 (par 3, 203 yards), McGrath’s extrication raced 20 feet past the flagstick. His ensuing par putt burnt the edge.
McGrath responded with true championship grit. On No. 18 (par 4, 410 yards), he split the fairway with a booming drive. McGrath then gently peeled a 54-degree wedge from 97 yards off the green’s back slope. A testy three-footer for birdie promptly plummeted.
“[Leaving a Round One imprint was] something Beck and I talked about coming in. We wanted to get off on a good note and set the tone. Fortunately, we did that,” McGrath said. “I played pretty smart golf today.”
And some pretty great golf this summer. McGrath, who advanced to U.S. Open Final Qualifying this year, will compete in his first U.S. Amateur.
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|Name, city, state||Rd1-Rd2–Total|
|Patrick Sheehan, Doylestown, Pa.||67-68–135|
|Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||66-70–136|
|Alternates (in order)|
|Henry Shimp, Charlotte, N.C.||68-72–140|
|*Benjamin Feld, Philadelphia, Pa.||71-70–141|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Kyle Vance, Audubon, Pa.||72-69–141|
|Austin Barbin, Elkton, Md.||70-72–142|
|Conrad Von Borsig, Fort Washington, Pa.||72-70–142|
|Brock Fassnacht, Lititz, Pa.||72-71–143|
|Tyler Stahle, Philadelphia, Pa.||74-70–144|
|James Allen, Scarsdale, N.Y.||74-71–145|
|Max Siegfried, Villanova, Pa.||72-73–145|
|John Spina, Schwenksville, Pa.||71-74–145|
|Dawson Anders, Telford, Pa.||73-73–146|
|Cole Berman, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||71-75–146|
|Liam Hart, Holland, Pa.||75-71–146|
|Matthew Homer, Wilmington, Del.||71-75–146|
|Kevin O’Brien, Philadelphia, Pa.||74-73–147|
|Ryan Smith, Leesburg, Va.||77-70–147|
|Elmer Hansen, Blue Bell, Pa.||75-73–148|
|Stephen Lorenzo, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.||73-75–148|
|Daniel Rudershausen, Kennett Square, Pa.||75-73–148|
|Will Wears, Baltimore, Md.||73-75–148|
|Parker Wine, West Chester, Pa.||74-74–148|
|Douglas Beney, Greenwich, Conn.||78-71–149|
|Erik Brubaker, Delmar, Del.||74-75–149|
|David Hurly, Newtown Square, Pa.||76-73–149|
|Bryan Ott, Allentown, Pa.||70-79–149|
|Nicholas Hano, Warrington, Pa.||74-76–150|
|Michael Thomas, Scott Township, Pa.||73-77–150|
|Robert Robertson, Villanova, Pa.||77-74–151|
|Carter Thompson, Tallahassee, Fla.||73-78–151|
|Jack Hamilton, Canada||75-77–152|
|Joey Morganti, Havertown, Pa.||74-78–152|
|Robert Vollero, New York, N.Y.||76-76–152|
|Cal Buonocore, Newtown Square, Pa.||75-78–153|
|Nick Vecellio, Fogelsville, Pa.||75-78–153|
|Darren Nolan, Glenside, Pa.||77-77–154|
|Chris Orlando, Broomall, Pa.||77-77–154|
|Jack Wallace, Cinnaminson, N.J.||77-77–154|
|Christopher Lawler, Philadelphia, Pa.||79-76–155|
|Andrew Curran, Media, Pa.||77-79–156|
|Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington, Del.||78-79–157|
|Joseph Altemose, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.||76-82–158|
|P.J. Schulte, Middle Township, N.J.||83-79–162|
|Tripp Durham, Wayne, Pa.||84-79–163|
|Robert McGowan, Exton, Pa.||85-86–171|
|Noam Roizman, Blue Bell, Pa.||NS|
|Jesse Hunsicker, New York, N.Y.||NS|
|Luke Fayocavitz, Clark Summits, Pa.||77-NS–NS|
|Adam Benza, Hellertown, Pa.||89-WD–WD|
|Brendan Borst, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||79-WD–WD|
|Alex Butler, Philadelphia, Pa.||76-WD–WD|
|Conner Charlebois, Canada||80-WD–WD|
|Jack Cooley, Philadelphia, Pa.||74-WD–WD|
|Marty McGuckin, Phoenixville, Pa.||73-WD–WD|
|Jack Melville, Maple Glen, Pa.||79-WD–WD|
|Jeffrey Osberg, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||77-WD–WD|
|Stewart Rickenbach, Doylestown, Pa.||73-WD–WD|
|Nikita Romanov, Wilmington, Del.||84-WD–WD|
|Joseph Rueter, Philadelphia, Pa.||78-WD–WD|
|Tucker Sandercock, Bethlehem, Pa.||72-WD–WD|
|Ric Sucro, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.||82-WD–WD|
|Cole Willcox, Malvern, Pa.||74-WD–WD|
|Kyle Williams, Clarks Summit, Pa.||80-WD–WD|
|Jimmy Wolfe, Pottstown, Pa.||77-WD–WD|
|Carter Field, Fort Washington, Pa.||75-WD–WD|
|Brian Fischer, Philadelphia, Pa.||78-WD–WD|
|James Gradisek, Wayne, Pa.||80-WD–WD|
|Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||75-WD–WD|
|Billy Johns, Philadelphia, Pa.||80-WD–WD|
|Alexander Kim, Conshohocken, Pa.||78-WD–WD|
|Joshua Krumholz, Reading, Pa.||76-WD–WD|
|Ryan Divis, East Norriton, Pa.||80-WD–WD|
|Chris Dorey, Allentown, N.J.||76-WD–WD|
|Matthew Loeslein, Philadelphia, Pa.||76-WD–WD|
|Jake Maddaloni, Newtown Square, Pa.||82-WD–WD|
|Robert Maguire, Pottstown, Pa.||79-WD–WD|
|Kyle Martin, Lansdale, Pa.||77-WD–WD|
|Michael Davis, Newtown Square, Pa.||WD|
|Scott Ehrlich, Berwyn, Pa.||WD|
|Shawn Lavin, Drexel Hill, Pa.||WD|
|Kirk Massie, West Port, Conn.||WD|
|Liam McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||WD|
|Bryan Adkison, Boston, Mass.||WD|
|* – determined in playoff|
|NS – no show’ WD – withdrawal|
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