NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. (June 21, 2013) — Saturday’s Amateur final contestants occupy opposite ends of the Golf Association of Philadelphia spectrum. Alexander Hicks of Wildwood Golf & Country Club is looking to announce his talents to the masses. Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club, on the other hand, hopes to add another chapter to an already brilliant career.
Hicks defeated 2010 Amateur runner-up Michael Kania of Overbrook Golf Club, 4&3, to earn his first final’s berth. McDermott, with revenge on the mind from a prior encounter with foe Conrad Von Borsig, stopped the White Manor Country Club member, 7&6, to punch a third championship match ticket. Von Borsig defeated McDermott in spectacular fashion in a 2009 Amateur semifinal.
The 113th Amateur Championship 36-hole final is Saturday at 8 a.m.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming into the tournament. Last year, I lost in a playoff to make match play. This year, obviously, one of my goals was to make match play,” said Hicks, 20, of Cape May Court House, N.J. “I drove it and hit it well [today]. It just happened to work out great. I can’t wait until tomorrow.”
This is just Hicks’ second time competing in the Amateur Championship.
“Today was a match I was really looking forward to,” said McDermott, the 2008 Amateur Champion. “Conrad is a great player. It was a rematch from 2009 which he got the better of. I played well. I never trailed and managed to put the ball in the fairway when I had the lead. That was a pretty good formula. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
McDermott has not trailed in any of his four 2013 matches.
Both semifinals scripted similar paths. Both were tight early before one player made a burst to forge a lead he would never relinquish.
In the Hicks-Kania showdown, the two were All Square after five holes before The College of William Mary standout took control. On No. 6 (par 4, 390 yards), Hicks hit a lob wedge from 88 yards to 15 feet for birdie to move 1-up and won the next hole with a par after Kania twice found the right trees. On the intimidating No. 8 (par 3, 215 yards), Hicks fueled his flames of victory with a crisp 4-iron to six feet. Kania failed to get up-and-down from the right greenside bunker and conceded a 2 to Hicks.
In the span of three holes, Hicks moved 3-up.
“I hit it right where I wanted to [on No. 8],” said Hicks, a 2011 Middle Township High School graduate. “Yesterday, I hit a 5-iron and came up a little bit short. My mindset [after moving ahead] was to just make a bunch of pars. That’s what you have to do in match play, especially if you are hitting first.”
Hicks posted five consecutive pars after that birdie and moved to 4-up through 13. He closed the match out on No. 15 with another, you guessed it, par. Hicks, runner-up in this year’s Colonial Athletic Association Championship, missed one green in the semis. He was 3 under against par.
“He really didn’t make any mistakes to let up,” said recent Villanova University graduate Kania, 22, of Haverford, Pa. “He kept hitting greens and two putting. He kept making the putts he needed to. He was solid. He made it hard for me.”
McDermott and Von Borsig were even through three. On No. 4 (par 4, 452 yards), McDermott, who opened the match with a couple of loose irons shots, saved par from the left grass bunker to win the hole. A nice sand save on No. 5 (par 3, 172 yards) kept the lead before McDermott really started dialing in beginning on No. 6. He knocked a sand wedge from 80 yards to four feet for birdie; on No. 7 (par 4, 385 yards) lofted a 118-yard wedge to 12 feet and on No. 8 lifted a 6-iron to 20 feet. He was 4-up at the turn.
“I was really up against the wall after that,” said Von Borsig, the 2009 Amateur Champion. “He kept hitting it straight and on the green. It’s kind of what I thought he would do. I really didn’t have much. I didn’t putt as well as I did in the other rounds. I had my C Game and he had his A Game. That adds up to a pretty good beating.”
McDermott extended that lead to 5-up thru 10 (par 4, 434 yards) with a stellar two-putt from 50 feet to a difficult back right hole location after Von Borsig missed the green with his approach and hit a poor chip. Ironically, McDermott closed the match on No. 12 (par 4, 457 yards) with a deft touch, just like Von Borsig, 26, of Swarthmore, Pa., did four years back. He rolled in a 40-footer from the left fringe to seal the victory.
“It’s sort of a hit and hope because you are going through the fringe,” said McDermott, 38, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “That was silly. It was just one of those days you have someone’s number.”
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 143 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.
Semifinals: 9. Alexander Hicks, Wildwood G&CC, d. 4. Michael Kania, Overbrook GC, 4&3. 3. Michael McDermott, Merion GC, d. 2. Conrad Von Borsig, White Manor CC, 7&6.
View results for BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship