HAVERTOWN, Pa.–Jeff Osberg opened his title defense with a record-tying score in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Qualifier on Tuesday. Osberg carded a pair of 68s, first at Llanerch Country Club and then Rolling Green Golf Club, to finish 6 under, equaling the lowest Amateur qualifying score in relation to par.
By virtue of his medalist performance, Osberg, of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, is seeded No. 1 for the 115th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship. Match play begins tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. at Llanerch. Osberg faces clubmate Ben Cooley, who survived a playoff, in the opening round. Spectators are welcome.
The cut line fell at 150. The playoff was 13 players for nine qualifying spots.
Cole Berman, 19, of Philadelphia Cricket Club, who was the only other player to finish in red figures at 3 under, is seeded second. He’ll face Evan Galbreath of Philmont Country Club.
Osberg, 30, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., is the first medalist from Huntingdon Valley since David Brookreson earned the distinction in 1995.
He began his day at Llanerch in the morning on No. 10 and carded nine straight pars before finally finding his putting touch after the turn. He bogeyed No. 1 (par 4, 400 yards) after finding the right greenside bunker to fall to 1 over before birdying his next four holes. On No. 2 (par 4, 410 yards), he knocked a sand wedge from 98 yards to the back edge and drained a 15 footer; on No. 3 (par 4, 437 yards) knocked a 9-iron to eight feet; almost holed a 9-iron on No. 4 (par 3, 178 yards) when his tee shot stopped four inches shy of the hole and on the par 5, 5th (550 yards) made a nice sand save from the back bunker with a 10 footer for par. He bogeyed No. 8 (par 3, 204 yards) after missing the green with his drive but reached No. 9 (par 5, 487 yards) in two shots, actually just over in the rough, and chipped up to a foot.
After the morning wave at both clubs, Osberg and Rodney James of Golden Oaks Golf Club shared the top spot on the leaderboard.
“I was really looking to go and play two solid rounds of golf and get a spot for tomorrow and kind of take it the way I did last year which is get into match play and see how far I can take it,” said Osberg. “It’s exciting. I have never been medalist before [in this event]. Obviously it’s quite an honor. There are a lot of great names [who have been medalist].”
At Rolling Green in the afternoon, Osberg made eight pars and a birdie on his front nine. He sandwiched a birdie on No. 12 (par 4, 360 yards) between two early bogeys early on the back side before finishing with red numbers on three of his final four holes. He birdied No. 15 (par 4, 380 yards) when he hit an 8-iron from 147 yards to 15 feet and made two short up-and-down birdie putts on the closing par 5s (No. 17, 500 yards and No. 18, 526 yards) after just about reaching both in two shots.
The last player to successfully defend the Amateur title was Chris Lange of Overbrook Golf Club in 1993-94.
“That’s the history I’ll be looking for, to join Chris Lange as a repeat champion,” said Osberg. “It’s off to a good start. It’s an honor to be medalist but I’m one of 32 players tomorrow. Hopefully, the week is far from over for me.”
Michael McDermott was the last defending champion to earn medalist honors the following year. He won the Amateur in 2013 and was medalist last year at White Manor.
Osberg equaled the qualifying scoring record of Christian Bartolacci of Jericho National Golf Club and Clint Deibert of Doylestown Country Club. In 2002, Bartolacci posted a 135 at Riverton Country Club (par 71) and Torresdale-Frankford Country Club (par 70). In 2006, Deibert posted a 6 under at Huntingdon Valley Country Club (par 70) and, again, Torresdale-Frankford (par 70).
NOTES–Past Amateur Champions Brian Gillespie (2001) of St. Davids Golf Club and Conrad Von Borsig (2009) of Philadelphia Cricket Club advanced from the playoff into the match play field. Past champions Michael Hyland (2000, 2011) of Little Mill Country Club and Michael McDermott (2008, 2013) of Merion Golf Club also made it to Day 2 … a total of 133 players started the day … this is the fourth time Llanerch Country Club will serve as the main site for the BMW Philadelphia Amateur. The last time the Alexander Findlay design hosted the Association’s oldest event was 1998, when Andy Thompson of Overbrook Golf Club earned the J. Wood Platt Trophy. Prior, the Amateur visited Llanerch twice in the 1930s, in 1931 (Robert H. Albertus, CC of Lansdowne) and in 1934 (William H. Goeckler, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club).
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