Philadelphia Am: 3 past champs advance
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Three former winners headline a group of 16 players who survived the first round of match play on Wednesday in the 113th Amateur Championship at Aronimink Golf Club. Phil Bartholomew of Philadelphia Cricket Club, Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club and Conrad Von Borsig of White Manor Country Club each won their respective opening-round matches in search of a second J. Wood Platt Trophy. Two Mid.-Amateurs and a majority of college age players occupy the remaining positions. The Round of 16 begins at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. The quarterfinals will follow immediately thereafter.

The semifinals are slated for 8 a.m. Friday. The 36-hole final begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

“I think we have an advantage,” said Von Borsig, 26, of Swarthmore, Pa., the 2009 Champion. “You have to take each round totally separate from the next. All the momentum resets once the round is done. Playing before in these tournaments, you know what to expect.”

Added McDermott, 38, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., the 2008 Champion, “I think there is some preparation you have to do before this event. You have to make sure you keep your energy up and make sure you can do this. You know you have this much golf coming. If you don’t do all the stuff to prepare for the week you are not going to play well.”

Bartholomew, the No. 25 seed, drew the fourth past Amateur champion to advance into match play in Round 1. The 25-year-old resident of Philadelphia, Pa., defeated two-time Amateur winner Michael Hyland of Little Mill Country Club, seeded eighth after qualifying, 1-up.

Bartholomew gained the lead for good with a par on No. 11 (par 4, 408 yards). He moved 2-up with two holes to go on the strength of a birdie after reaching the par 5, 16th (554 yards) in two. Bartholomew closed out his match on No. 18 ( par 4, 436 yards).

“I just have to keep focusing on my targets and my tempo,” said Bartholomew, the 2007 Amateur Champion.

McDermott, seeded third after qualifying, never trailed in defeating Grant Skyllas (seeded No. 30) of Moselem Springs Golf Club, 3&2. McDermott was even-par for his round.

He closed the match on No. 7 (par 4, 385 yards), the 16th hole of the contest, with a smooth 2-iron, gap wedge and two-putt for the win.

“My game is really solid right now,” said McDermott. “Like always in match play, you have to take it 18 holes at a time. If I shot 10 under today it doesn’t matter tomorrow. I’m excited.”

Von Borsig, seeded No. 2, defeated Glenn Smeraglio of Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 4&2. Smeraglio was one of two players to advance into match play from a morning playoff. Ben Cooley of Huntingdon Valley Country Club was the other.

Von Borsig took the lead at No. 3 (par 4, 455 yards) with a par, built a 3-up cushion after No. 8 (par 3, 146 yards) and closed out Smeraglio on No. 16 (par 4, 385 yards).

The Amateur success has been a pleasant surprise for Von Borsig. He entered the tournament after finishing 40th in the Middle-Amateur and failing to qualify for the Golf Association of Philadelphia Open and Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur.

What changed?

“I think it was Merion and the U.S. Open,” said Von Borsig. “I sat on the range for three hours and figured out the [pros] kept everything simple. I tried to soak it all in. I watched how they carried themselves. I just entered here in a better frame of mind than I’ve been.”

Kyle Sterbinsky of Yardley Country Club, who earlier in the day, at age 16, became the youngest medalist in the 113-year history of the event, fell to Ben Cooley of Huntingdon Valley Country Club on the final hole, 1-up.

Sterbinsky was 2-up with five holes to play. Cooley, the 32nd and final seed, drained a 35-footer for birdie on the final hole (No. 18, par 4, 436 yards) to cap a huge comeback.

“Kyle hit it behind a tree and I hit a safe shot into the middle of the green,” said Cooley, 20, of Rydal, Pa. “It was the only time I led all day.” Cooley is a pending junior at the University of Pennsylvania.

Joe April of Philadelphia Cricket Club and Ben Smith of Huntingdon Valley Country Club are the only other two players over 25 years old.

ABOUT THE Philadelphia Amateur

Format: 36-hole individual gross stroke play qualifying on the first day. 32 players continue to match play competition with two rounds scheduled on the second and third days, and the final at 36 holes on the last day.

Eligibility: Open to all GAP Member Club golfers with handicaps of 7.0 or less. Non-exempt players must prequalify.

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