MALVERN, Pa. — Chris Crawford’s twitter handle, @hesagoodkid, is quite apropos. Soft spoken and highly-regarded in golf circles, the 21-year-old Crawford always represents himself on the course with class and a big game. Friday, Crawford finally broke through with a long overdue Golf Association of Philadelphia Major victory. He rallied from a six-shot deficit to triumph in a crazy, frenetic 113th Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Chester Valley Golf Club (par 70, 6,414 yards).
Crawford posted a final-round 67 to finish the 36 holes at 3-under 137, a shot clear of the field. Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club, a nine-time Major Champion winner, including the 2007 Patterson Cup, placed second. Justin Hare of Five Ponds Golf Club and first-round leader Jeff Osberg of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, who carded a surprising 75, tied for third at 1 under.
Crawford is the first Spring Mill Country Club member to etch his name on the sterling silver Patterson Cup.
“It was a little unexpected this week. I’ve been playing pretty well but I hadn’t necessary done it in tournaments,” said Crawford, who missed the cut in the Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur Championship last week. “This is one of the best golf associations in the country. It’s a special feeling to win any of the Majors.”
Crawford, a Drexel University rising senior, had the Championship credentials. He qualified for three of the last five U.S. Amateurs. Last year, he finished in the Top 10 in every collegiate event, taking home the Colonial Athletic Association Golfer of the Year honor. In the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship in June, he advanced to the quarterfinals, his best GAP Major showing. Crawford’s low Patterson finish was an 11th-place effort in 2013 at Cedarbrook Country Club.
Crawford entered the Championship fray on Friday with an eagle on No. 2 (par 5, 571 yards) after knocking a 3-iron to 15 feet from 265 yards. He was 2 under at that point and made the turn with the same number. Crawford trailed Osberg, the 2010 Patterson Cup winner, by four shots.
A 30-minute or so stretch on the back nine ensued, and eventually determined the outcome. Crawford jumped to the top of the leaderboard when he knocked a 117-yard gap wedge to six feet on No. 12 (par 4, 401 yards) for birdie and then launched an 8-iron from 160 yards to seven feet for another red figure. He stood at 4 under. A few fairways over, GAP standouts Osberg and McDermott found uncharacteristic travails. Osberg’s putter, an ally on Thursday, betrayed him on Friday. He bogeyed No. 10 (par 3, 217 yards) by missing a three-foot par try and then three-putted for double bogey on No. 11 (par 4, 273 yards), the penultimate stroke a 12-inch putt, that horseshoed the cup.
“As the pressure builds and the putter gets a little balky, it’s a bad combination,” said Osberg, 31, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “That combination really took over on the back nine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to overcome it.”
McDermott’s game has been plagued by untimely inconsistencies this year, and those issues arose again. He birdied Nos. 5 (par 3, 188 yards) and 6 (par 4, 415 yards) and missed a short three-foot effort for two on No. 7 (par 3, 198 yards) to make the turn at 4 under.
A shot back of Osberg standing on the No. 11 tee, and with Crawford just approaching the green on 13, McDermott’s drive found the left hazard. He made bogey. Two more back-nine bogeys and a missed 12-foot birdie on No. 17 (par 4, 394 yards) sent McDermott-Osberg, playing in the final group together with Michael Hyland of Little Mill Country Club, to No. 18 (par 4 324 yards) each needing eagle to force a playoff. Neither threatened.
“That’s been the story of my year,” said McDermott, 40, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “Inside every round I seem to get two or three really bad shots. Unfortunately, when I was playing my best, I didn’t have those in my bag. I just have those right now. There are probably many reasons for it but my swing’s just producing them right now.”
Crawford was an unheralded high school talent out of Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pa. A solid performance in the 2011 District One Championship – a second-place performance – caught Drexel Coach Mike Dydna’s eye.
In his first year at Drexel, the former baseball player became @hesagoodkid matter of factly.
“When he was playing well early on in his freshman year, people would come up to us and ask questions about him,” said Ben Feld, a former Drexel teammate and now a Dragons’ assistant coach, who created the moniker. “The only answer was ‘He’s a good kid.’ It’s the simplest way to describe him. He does everything right.
“He makes the game look simple. You talk to him and he’s the most humble person you'll meet. He’s a great player and better kid.”
View results for Philadelphia Joseph H. Patterson Cup Golf Tournament