June 7, 2018
The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s most influential benefactor, J. Wood Platt, called Whitemarsh Valley Country Club home for decades.
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Platt, a seven-time BMW Philadelphia Amateur champion and nine-time Amateur medalist, won the #BMWPhillyAm at Whitemarsh in 1938 when the format reverted back to 72 holes of stroke play. He defeated Huntingdon Valley’s W.B. McCullough, Jr. in 20 holes at Whitemarsh in 1942 to claim his final Amateur title.
For a record 15th time, the #BMWPhillyAm returns to Platt’s home with 134 players looking to etch their name onto the trophy named in his honor.
Each competitor will take part in a 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifier at Green Valley Country Club (qualifying site only) and Whitemarsh Valley for one of 32 match play spots available. Any ties for the remaining spots will be decided by a sudden-death playoff at the end of play on June 12.
First and second-round matches will take place June 13, with the quarterfinals and semifinals following on June 14. The remaining two players clash in a 36-hole final on Saturday, June 16. BMW USA returns for a fourth year as a presenting partner of the event.
This year’s defending champion, Cricketeer Gregor Orlando, represented the club’s 10th title, third-most behind Huntingdon Valley (24) and Whitemarsh (12) by defeating LedgeRock Golf Club’s Grant Skyllas, 9&8, at Cricket’s Wissahickon course, matching the second-largest margin of victory in a Final.
Huntingdon Valley’s Jeff Osberg defeated Nelson Hargrove of Gulph Mills Golf Club, 10&9, in 2014 at White Manor in the largest margin of victory.
Orlando will look to become the first person to repeat since Chris Lange, Sr. of Overbrook Golf Club did so in 1993-94.
“For me to repeat as Philly Am. champion, I need to make a lot more putts than I have been lately,” Orlando, who finished tied for ninth at Llanerch Country Club in the recently completed 35th Middle-Amateur presented by Callaway Golf, said. “It’s all about keeping your head down, staying focused and not getting too far ahead of yourself. Those are vital, especially in a match play type environment. You don’t want to give anything away by trying too hard. I remember not sleeping well the night before the Championship last year because I wanted it so bad.”
Unlike his victory at his home club, Orlando doesn’t have any experience at either Whitemarsh or Green Valley, but he said it won’t alter his style of play whatsoever in his quest for another title.
“Winning the Amateur was thrilling,” Orlando said. “It is the biggest win I have ever had and it will be something I will always cherish and always remember. Being a Philly Am. Champion I get some head nods once and awhile. The guys at Cricket give me a hard time considering I won it on my home course.”
The last time Whitemarsh Valley hosted the #BMWPhillyAm was 2008. That year, Merion Golf Club’s Michael McDermott defeated Philadelphia Country Club’s Cole Willcox, 6&4, for the first of his now three Amateur titles.
“What I remember most is this incredible turnaround I had in the final match against Cole,” McDermott, 43, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “Cole was playing beautiful golf and was beating me in every way. I turned in 1-down when I could have been 5 or 6-down. From that point forward, I probably played the best 20 holes of my life.”
McDermott played the final 22 holes in 9-under-par to defeat Willcox, 6&4 after being 2-down thru 10 holes.
“It’s funny. I won there 10 years ago and I took a photo with my 2-month-old son who is now 10,” McDermott said. “It’s amazing what life was like back then. That win at Whitemarsh was my first Amateur victory after a lot of heartbreaking finishes. You go into this week free and full of those great memories.”
In addition to the aforementioned duo, past Champions in the field include Gregor Orlando (2017) of Philadelphia Cricket Club; Michael McDermott (2008, 2013, 2016) of Merion Golf Club; Cole Berman (2015) of Philadelphia Cricket Club; Jeff Osberg (2014) of Huntingdon Valley Country Club; Conrad Von Borsig (2009) of Philadelphia Cricket Club; Scott Ehrlich (2004) of White Manor Country Club, Brian Gillespie (2001) of St. Davids Golf Club and Jim Sullivan, Jr. of Lu Lu Country Club (1999).
GAP Hall of Famers such as John Dyniewski (1962), William Hyndman, III (1958), Lincoln Roden, III (1950) and J. Wood Platt (1938, 1942) also claimed victory at Whitemarsh Valley.
As always, both the public and media are welcome to attend.
Aside from offering live scoring on its website, the Association will provide #BMWPhillyAm updates via its social media outlets. Follow @GAofPhilly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Watch live broadcasts via Periscope as well.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) 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 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of 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.