July 21, 2014

Caddie John Leighton and Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Jeff Osberg
shake hands following Osberg’s 2-under-par 68.

*Photo gallery
*Scorecards
*William Hyndman, III Player of the Year Award standings

Homecoming king: Osberg heads U.S. Mid-Amateur Qual. at HVCC

  HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. — Donning the prized medal in a USGA Qualifier isn’t a new experience to Jeff Osberg. He’s turned the task on four occasions — three for the U.S. Amateur (2009, 2011-12) and one for the U.S. Mid-Amateur (2011). Osberg also isn’t a stranger to Huntingdon Valley Country Club. He joined the prestigious William S. Flynn design last year and knows its intricacies and subtleties fairly well.

  So when event and venue came together Monday, the result didn’t come as a surprise to most. Osberg, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s reigning Amateur Champion, carded a 2-under-par 68 to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Amateur Championship Qualifier administered by the organization at Huntingdon Valley (par 70, 6,851 yards). He grabbed one of nine qualifying positions available for the Championship proper. Thomas Brennan of Covington, La., David Brown of Pittsburgh, Pa., Chester Valley Golf Club’s Josh Isler, Saucon Valley Country Club’s Matthew Mattare, Merion Golf Club’s John Sawin and Philadelphia Cricket Club’s John Brennan, Andy Latowski and Robert Savarese, Jr. also advanced.

  Saucon Valley hosts the U.S. Mid-Amateur Sept. 6-11.

  “Playing your home course is obviously a lot of pressure. You expect to do well,” Osberg, 30, of West Chester, Pa., said. “It’s always good to play a USGA event each year, so I was kind of really geared up to qualify, especially with it being at Saucon Valley. The expectations were definitely high coming in. I’ve been playing well this year. I hit the ball very well today and putted great.”

  Did he ever.

  Osberg delivered early on those expectations by sticking a wedge from 136 yards to two feet for a birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 446 yards). But a couple of hiccups soon afterward threatened to sway the seismic smasher’s momentum. Osberg’s approach on No. 6 (par 4, 436 yards) clung onto the green’s ridge. He screamed the birdie effort four feet past and missed the comebacker. A drive into the left tree-line on the uphill par 4, 405-yard No. 8 forced a punch-out, and Osberg failed to get up-and-down for par. He made the turn in an uncharacteristic 1 over.

  “It definitely added a little bit of pressure on the back nine,” Osberg said.

  Course familiarity eased that anxiety. Osberg fired three straight birdies to race up the leaderboard. On No. 11 (par 4, 377 yards), he flew the green with a gap wedge from 112 yards. Osberg, facing a delicate shot from above the hole location, nestled a chip that checked accordingly on the slope, drifted downhill, collided with the flagstick and dropped in. He muscled a wedge 140 yards to 10 feet and drained a right-to-left breaker for a 3 on No. 12 (par 4, 419 yards). Osberg stopped an 8-iron at 15 feet below the hole location on No. 13 (par 3, 174 yards). He didn’t cash in on four optimum birdie chances coming in, but the misses proved inconsequential.

  “Knowing how to play into these greens is so important. Knowing which side of the hole to leave it on, where not to miss it, where you can bounce it in helped a lot,” Osberg said.

  Back surgery last May shelved Osberg’s 2013 season and national championship aspirations. Work conflicts forced the 2010 Patterson Cup Champion to withdraw from a U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Stonewall last week.

  Now he will compete in a national event on a course he loves. Osberg reached the GAP Amateur Championship semifinals in 2010 at Saucon Valley.

  “I’m not sure there’s a better facility in the United States than the 54 holes of golf that are there,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a great test for the mid-amateurs. I probably couldn’t be more excited about the venue.”

Matthew Mattare

  Osberg wasn’t the only player who entered Huntingdon Valley with hefty expectations; Mattare, too, shouldered a significant amount. The longtime Saucon Valley member boasts a blossoming U.S. Mid-Amateur history. He advanced to the quarterfinals in 2012 and earned medalist honors in the qualifier a year ago. That stretch, magnified by his home course hosting this year’s affair, made Monday’s venture “far and away the most stressful round of golf I ever played.”

  “I had a lot of people calling, texting and e-mailing,” Mattare, 28, of Jersey City, N.J., said. “It’s great to have all of that support. You want that spotlight, but the spotlight’s more fun when you’re actually at the event.”

  “I really did my best to focus all year on the qualifier and not look ahead to the tournament, but that’s really hard to do. I’ve grown up [at Saucon Valley]. I’ve lived there. It’s my favorite course. More than anything, you just want to get there and be able to compete, and the fact that I should be able to do that now is a huge relief. I couldn’t be more excited.”

  Mattare, who started on No. 10, overcame back-to-back bogeys early with a pair of birdies. He hit a 7-iron 163 yards to eight feet for a 3 on No. 18 (par 4, 435 yards). He added another red figure on No. 4 (par 4, 364 yards), knocking a lob wedge 105 yards to five feet. Pinpoint iron play produced five consecutive pars heading in.

  Monday marked a good start to Mattare’s vacation. He will head north to compete in the Porter Cup at Niagra Falls Country Club. Next is the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Amateur Championship at Oakmont Country Club.

  “Not a very relaxing vacation,” Mattare, who works for Morgan Stanley, said.

  Philadelphia Cricket saw three of its own advance Monday. Brennan, a social studies teacher at Spring Ford High School, is in the midst of strong golf season. He posted a Top 20 finish in the GAP Middle-Amateur Championship, qualified for match play in the Amateur Championship and toppled a plethora of talent to take Philadelphia Cricket’s club championship a month ago.

  “To get something like this to add to it is really nice. I’m ecstatic,” Brennan, 35, of Audubon, Pa., said. “I knew even would be a good score at the end of the day. It was my target. There are some really tough pins out here that you really can’t go at, so you have to hit it in the middle of the green and take your two-putt.”

  Latowski last advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2006. He secured qualifying status by powering a hybrid 270 yards to eight feet for an eagle on the par 5, 564-yard 15th hole.

  “It’s always one of the goals of the summer to make it to a USGA event, so it feels really good,” Latowski, 35, of Plainsboro, N.J., said.

  The Golf Association of Philadelphia will administer a second qualifier July 28 at Bidermann Golf Club.

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 150 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.

Qualifiers

Name, city

Scores

Jeffrey Osberg, West Chester, Pa.

68

Andy Latowski, Plainsboro, N.J.

69

Thomas Brennan, Covington, La.

69

John Brennan, Audubon, Pa.

70

Matthew Mattare, Jersey City, N.J.

70

Josh Isler, West Chester, Pa.

70

*Robert Savarese, Jr., Lafayette Hill, Pa.

71

*David Brown, Pittsburgh, Pa.

71

*John Sawin, San Francisco, Calif.

71

Alternates (in order)

Benjamin Smith, Voorhees, N.J.

71

Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Del.

72

Failed to qualify

Jamie Slonis, Sewell, N.J.

72

Christopher Ault, Yardley, Pa.

72

Craig Smith, Nashville, Tenn.

72

Jim Sullivan, Jr., Glenside, Pa.

72

Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Del.

72

Mark Czerniakowski, Montgomeryville, Pa.

72

Oscar Mestre, Berwyn, Pa.

72

Todd Vonderheid, Lewisburg, Pa.

73

Geoffrey Cooper, Philadelphia, Pa.

73

Dave Liotta, West Chester, Pa.

73

Cole Willcox, Malvern, Pa.

73

Douglas Gregor, Phoenixville, Pa.

73

Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa.

74

John Robinson, North Wales, Pa.

74

Kevin Hart, Hopewell, N.J.

74

Michael McDermott, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

74

Glenn Smeraglio, Newtown, Pa.

74

Michael Gregor, North Wales, Pa.

75

Michael Carr, East Norriton, Pa.

75

Ryan Orcutt, Bethlehem, Pa.

75

Drew O'Neill, Lafayette Hill, Pa.

75

Moritz Schoenheit, Philadelphia, Pa.

75

Sean Seese, Rydal, Pa.

75

James Kania, Haverford, Pa.

75

Troy Miller, Chester, Md.

75

Sean Knapp, Oakmont, Pa.

75

Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.

75

Christopher J. Lange, Jr., Newtown Square, Pa.

76

Matt Walsh, West Chester, Pa.

76

Arthur Brunn, Hanover Twp, Pa.

76

Stephen Seiden, Drexel Hill, Pa.

76

Patrick Dougherty, North Wales, Pa.

76

Kevin Tehan, Lutherville, Md.

76

William McGuinness, Haddonfield, N.J.

76

Daniel Pinciotti, Jr., Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

76

Patrick Murray, Blue Bell, Pa.

76

Michael Brown, Jr., Cheltenham, Pa.

76

Chris Esbenshade, Lititz, Pa.

76

Thomas Timby, Jr., Doylestown, Pa.

76

Matthew O'Brien, Abington, Pa.

77

John Olszewski, Macungie, Pa.

77

Michael Mulieri, Baltimore, Md.

77

Roc Irey, Furlong, Pa.

77

Brad McFadden, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

77

Ryan Chin, New York, NY

77

David Shields, Erdenheim, Pa.

77

Donald Miller, Alphaertta, Ga.

77

Pete Moran, Chester Springs, Pa.

78

Tyler Canfield, Pittsburgh, Pa.

78

Joe Viechnicki, Bethlehem, Pa.

78

Tyler Duke, Rumson, N.J.

78

Gary Daniels, Berwyn, Pa.

78

Jason Wilson, Orefield, Pa.

78

Robert Maguire, Pottstown, Pa.

78

Christopher Lange, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

79

Michael Tash, Thorofare, N.J.

79

Stephen Hudacek, Scranton, Pa.

79

Bob Beck, Allentown, Pa.

79

Michael Rogers, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

79

Sean Torpey, Doylestown, Pa.

79

Jason Loehrs, Drexel Hill, Pa.

79

Chris Meares, Turnersville, N.J.

79

Gerrit Kocks, Miami, Fla.

80

Tom Dicinti, Voorhees, N.J.

80

Brian Gillespie, Wayne, Pa.

80

Steve Minnick, Broomall, Pa.

80

Drew Balshi, Hellertown, Pa.

80

Nick Hermansader, Langhorne, Pa.

80

Kevin Rossi, Scranton, Pa.

80

Robert Gill, Shavertown, Pa.

80

Anthony List, Havertown, Pa.

80

John Samaha, Amber, Pa.

80

Thomas Gramigna, Haddonfield, N.J.

80

William Thornton, Wyomissing, Pa.

80

Greg O'Connor, Collegeville, Pa.

80

Jim Rattigan, Orwigsburg, Pa.

81

John Alterman, New Hope, Pa.

81

Daniel Mahoney, Philadelphia, Pa.

81

Marc Mandel, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

81

Ted Harris, Yardley, Pa.

81

A.J. Donatoni, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

81

Dominic Carr, Alburtis, Pa.

81

Drew Garis, Glenside, Pa.

81

Ted Gilbert, Lahaska, Pa.

81

John Gosselin, Landenberg, Pa.

81

David Sim, Media, Pa.

81

Paul Polinsky, Elkins Park, Pa.

81

Thomas Alan Hampton, Brunswick, Ga.

81

David Olexson, Sr., Easton, Pa.

81

Charles Lynch, Lafayette Hill

81

Greg Buliga, Langhorne, Pa.

82

Derek Schwendinger, Lambertville, N.J.

82

Drew Forrester, Parkville, Md.

82

Sean Davy, Moorestown, N.J.

82

Andrew Kennedy, St  Davids, Pa.

82

Dave Marshall, Pitman, N.J.

83

Matthew Palumbo, Malvern, Pa.

83

Leo Eric Ostrosky, Bethlehem, Pa.

83

Frank Boensch, Upper Saucon, Pa.

83

Douglas Nardella, Moscow, Pa.

83

Steve Owens, Philadelphia, Pa.

83

Thad Coontz, Long Branch, N.J.

83

Royce Yeager, Wyndmoor, Pa.

83

Dave Fardon, Center Valley, Pa.

83

Steven Rockefeller, Jr., Pleasantville, NY

84

Steve Tazza, Yardley, Pa.

84

P Chet Walsh, Wayne, Pa.

84

Joe Kerrigan, Ardmore, Pa.

84

Michael Quinn, East Fallowfield, Pa.

84

Bradley Roberts, Mount Laurel, N.J.

85

Mark Norman, Chesterfield, Mo.

85

Timothy Anderson, Wilkes Barre, Pa.

86

Gregory Day, Fort Washington, Pa.

86

Jason Barkley, Kutztown, Pa.

86

Lincoln Treadwell, Bethlehem, Pa.

87

Lucas Serbun, Abington, Pa.

87

Kenneth Engel, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.

87

Daniel Feeney, Ardmore, Pa.

88

Andy Dietz, Marlton, N.J.

88

Glenn Gamza, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

88

Gwinyai Murahwa, Philadelphia, Pa.

88

Byron Whitman, Reading, Pa.

90

Stephen Labiak, Bethlehem, Pa.

92

James Schmidt, Ambler, Pa.

WD

David Ferreira, Philadelphia, Pa.

WD

Ronald Vannelli, Edison, N.J.

NS

Brian Leftwich, Montclair, N.J.

WD

Brandon Siemion, Furlong, Pa.

WD

Zachary Sacks, New York, NY

WD

Gary Smith, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

WD

Adam Bracy, Edgewater Park, N.J.

WD

Andrew Wickersham, North Wales, Pa.

NS

Patrick O' Brien, Wayne, Pa.

WD

Alexander Maguire, Wayne, Pa.

WD

* - advanced in playoff

NS - no show; WD - withdrawal

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