HUNTINGDON VALLEY, PA (August 10, 2006) -–Stephen Arnold of Yardley CC responded to scoreboard-leader nerves and Major Championship pressure with a clutch birdie on his final hole to seal up a victory in the 104th Joseph H. Patterson Cup on Thursday at Philmont CC (North Course, par 70, 6,676 yards/South Course, par 70, 6,062 yards).
Arnold, a senior-to-be at Villanova University, finished the 36-hole championship at 1-under-par 139, two strokes clear of Kyle Davis of Fieldstone GC and Michael McDermott of Merion GC. Adam Cohan of The ACE Club and Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC rounded out the Top 5 at 2-over par in the 132-player field.
The Joseph H. Patterson Cup is the final Major of the Golf Association of Philadelphia calendar.
“Getting that first win is hard,” said Arnold of his first Major victory. “Once you get in that situation, you have to be able to control yourself and control your emotions. I’m still not where I feel I can really control that situation. I was nervous today. And obviously it showed with some of the shots I hit coming in.”
Arnold, who found himself tied with John Sawin of Merion GC at 4-under par after both posted opening-round 66s, emerged as the likely victor with nine holes remaining.
However, the aforementioned nerves appeared and a late surge by Davis and Cohan clouded the picture with only a few holes to go.
Arnold, playing the North Course in the afternoon, stood on No. 14 (par 4, 488 yards) at 4-under par and two strokes clear of Cohan and the field. However, a grip slip on his second shot on the 14th resulted in a bogey and a “tense,” as Arnold called it, chip on No. 15 (par 4, 400 yards) watched him give another shot back to the field.
In the meantime, Cohan, on the South Course, birdied No. 14 (par 5, 538 yards) to move to 1-under par. But a three-putt from 50 feet on No. 15 (par 5, 196 yards) and a pushed second shot out of bounds on the next hole eliminated Cohan from the fray. Davis, also playing the South Course, thought his chance of winning went away after going 6-over par on his opening seven holes of the second round.
However, Davis played his final 11 holes in 3 under and burnt the edges for birdies on his final two holes that would have got him to Arnold’s final score.
“I thought I shot myself out of it on my first seven holes,” said Davis, 20, of Kennett Square, Pa., “so I figured I could just go out and fire on all cylinders.”
Arnold continue to make it interesting with a double bogey on the treacherous No. 17 (par 3, 173 yards), after his 4-iron skipped over the green and landed on a grassy downslope of the back bunker. Arnold made a solid flop shot, but a double bogey was all he could muster.
"Just making it exciting,” said Arnold’s caddie.
On No. 18 (par 4, 343 yards), however, Arnold displayed his championship mettle.
He drilled a driver to 50 yards out and then lofted a lob wedge to four feet. He drained the putt.
“It had a lot more break than you think,” said Arnold, of Langhorne, Pa. “I didn’t want to putt it.”
Silver Cross Award
Arnold’s Patterson Cup performance also propelled him to the top of the Silver Cross Award scoreboard. Arnold took over the top position from Clint Deibert of Doylestown CC, who held a two-shot lead after the Amateur Championship Qualifier.
Arnold trailed Deibert by six shots in a tie for fourth place heading into the Patterson Cup.
The Patterson Cup serves as the final two rounds of the Silver Cross. The Silver Cross is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying round(s) of the Amateur Championship and the Patterson Cup.
NOTES–Glenn Smeraglio, in 1998, was the last Yardley CC member to win the Patterson Cup. Smeraglio, in 2001-02, was also the last Yardley CC representative to take the Silver Cross.
For complete results, click on the tournament link above.