Phenomenal Philadelphia Cricket to host 117th #BMWPhillyAm
School’s out for the summer. History’s in for the Golf Association of Philadelphia come June 13-15 & 17.
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That’s when the organization’s premier event — the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship — heads to one of its founding members — Philadelphia Cricket Club. The Delaware Valley’s top players — 143, to be exact — will descend upon the Flourtown, Pa. venue hoping to hoist the coveted J. Wood Platt trophy.
All will first compete in a 36-hole stroke play qualifier at Cricket’s Militia Hill (qualifying site only) and Wissahickon courses for one of 32 match play spots available. Any ties for the final spots will be broken by a sudden-death playoff at the conclusion of play on June 13.
First and second-round matches will take place June 14, with the quarterfinals and semifinals following on June 15. The remaining two players clash in a 36-hole final on Saturday, June 17. BMW USA returns for a third year as a presenting partner of the event.
“It’s great that GAP continues to have the Amateur at such great courses. Naturally, it makes it exciting and brings out the best in Philadelphia golf,” Michael McDermott, the tournament’s defending champion, said.
“Cricket is just an unbelievable course. It’s definitely one of the premier courses in Philadelphia, probably in the country,” Jeff Osberg, the two-time reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year and 2014 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion, said. “We played last year at Merion (Golf Club), which hosted a U.S. Open and is obviously a championship golf course. Philadelphia Cricket is right there with it; I think it’s a U.S. Open or PGA Championship caliber course — one that’s well-suited to bring out the best champion this year.”
Historically speaking, Osberg and McDermott, two of the Association’s most decorated players of the last decade, competed in one of the greatest BMW Philadelphia Amateur finals in event history. In a match that came down to the 36th hole on Merion’s East Course, McDermott, a Merion member, claimed his third title (2008, 2013) with a 1-up victory over Osberg.
The two will tee off together at 8:30 a.m. on the Wissahickon Course. Philadelphia Cricket’s own Cole Berman, a former BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion as well (2015), rounds out the group.
“Even though Jeff and I are quite a bit older than Cole, we have developed a bit of a friendship with Cole and [2015 BMW Philadelphia Amateur runner-up] Michael Davis and some of those younger guys, so that’s going to be great,” McDermott, 42, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., said. “Jeff’s obviously my good buddy and a competitor I admire very much who scares the heck out of me. Last year worked out for me, but the truth be told, it was a great day for Jeff and me. I almost would have the same feelings had it gone the other way. Both of us played about our best golf that day.”
“Cole and Michael are both very good friends of mine. It’s a great pairing to have the last three champions together,” Osberg, the 2014 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion, added. “Cole obviously has that home course advantage. It will be nice playing with him. Maybe I can learn something from him during that round to use in match play hopefully.”
Berman, too, speaks highly of his groupmates. In 2016, he played against McDermott in the Round of 16. The rising senior at Georgetown University lost in 20 holes.
“Unfortunately, the week ended earlier than I had hoped, but I’m very excited for this year. I’ve been looking forward to this event since it was announced that it would be played at Cricket,” Berman, 21, of Rosemont, Pa., said. “I look up to both Jeff and Michael as competitors. I’ve gotten to know them really well over the past couple of years. It’ll be a fun day.”
Although his home course enthusiasm is authentic, Berman isn’t caught up in the Cricket advantage notion.
“Stroke play is really just about having the mindset of shooting two solid rounds and getting through,” Berman, 21, of Rosemont, Pa., said. “There is some advantage to knowing the golf course better than others. But at the end of the day, you still have to hit the shots and beat whoever you’re playing against.”
Along similar lines, the defending champion moniker doesn’t alter McDermott’s mindset.
“To win it, you have to plan on a long week that’s physically and mentally draining,” McDermott said. “I’m not thinking about last year; that’s a long and distant memory. I know there are a lot of guys who enter this week where I was at one time and where Jeff and Cole were at one time, which was good players who haven’t won the tournament. There are whole lot of people chasing to put their name on the trophy. Somebody is going to have an exciting week.”
In addition to the aforementioned triumvirate, former champions in the field include Conrad Von Borsig of Philadelphia Cricket (2009) and Phillip Bartholomew (2007) of Philadelphia Cricket Club; Brian Gillespie of St. Davids Golf Club (2001) and Raymond Thompson of Overbrook Golf Club (1972). Thirteen players will represent Philadelphia Cricket on Day One, which serves as the first two rounds of the Silver Cross Award.
Philadelphia Cricket Club hosted the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship on 10 occasions, most recently in 2004. Scott Ehrlich defeated Michael Tash, 5&4, at Militia Hill that year. GAP Hall of Famers such as O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., Harold S. Cross, Jr., Harold McFarland, Albert H. Smith triumphed at Philadelphia Cricket. In 1963, member John Hendrickson and Robert “Beetle” set the record for longest Final when they dueled for 40 holes.
As always, both the public and media are welcome to attend.
Aside from offering live scoring on its website, the Association will provide BMW Philadelphia Amateur updates via its social media outlets. Follow @GAofPhilly on 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 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.