MALVERN, Pa.–Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley CC added his name to an illustrious list with Friday’s thrilling Joseph H. Patterson Cup victory. A one-time Golf Association of Philadelphia tournament outlier, Mason joined iconic figures James McHale, Jr. (1948) of Whitemarsh Valley CC; William Hyndman, III (1968 and 1969) of Huntingdon Valley CC and R. Jay Sigel (1980 and 1986) of Aronimink GC as the only individuals to record victories in both the Association’s Open Championship and Patterson Cup in the same year. The Open is 107 years old. This was the 109th Patterson Cup.
Mason finished at 2-under par for the two days and two rounds of the Patterson Cup at White Manor CC (par 71, 6,985 yards), a shot clear of 2009 winner and fast-closing James Kania, Jr. of Overbrook GC. Chris Fuga of Phoenixville CC placed third at even par. Defending champion Jeff Osberg of Llanerch CC tied for 14th. Stephen Seiden of Llanerch CC, who started the day in second place, finished fourth. “It’s a great honor being on the same list as those great champions of the past,” said Mason, 22, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “I’ve been playing really solid and a lot smarter than usual [this year]. Obviously, to be in the same sentence as some of those other guys before me is really special.”
Mason, who lapped the field for the Open Championship a couple weeks ago, survived his final few holes to eke out the win. A hard reality to comprehend considering that Mason, who carded a competitive course record 66 yesterday, made the outward turn in 1-under par, 6-under overall. He held a comfortable five-shot lead on his nearest foe Seiden. However, with dreams of taking the Silver Cross Award as well dancing in his head, Mason lost focus.
The Silver Cross is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying rounds of the Amateur Championship and the two rounds of the Patterson Cup.
A bogey on No. 10 (par 4, 416 yards) after a poor chip started Mason’s short circuiting before three consecutive bogeys on holes Nos. 13-15 sent sparks everywhere. A couple poor chips and a missed three-foot par try muddled his scorecard.
“I started worrying about the Silver Cross and that kind of got in my way,” said Mason, who also won the Pennsylvania Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur in the past month.
Mason righted his Patterson Cup ship, though, on No. 17 (par 5, 550 yards) with a glorious par save. He found the fairway bunker off the tee, only 195 yards from the green, but instead of trying to be a hero, and while still holding a one-shot lead, he chipped out to 115 yards. His wedge landed on the green and spun to the left just into the collar. Mason then knocked his chip six feet past the hole and made the ensuing par putt. On No. 18 (par 4, 418 yards), the drama was far less. He found the fairway and then stopped his 9-iron from 141 yards 15 feet right of the cup for an easy two-par putt and the win.
The former Temple University standout said the tide turned, “on 17 when I stayed out of my own way. I really wanted to play aggressive out of that bunker. It took everything in me to not go at it from 195 yards. It was a pretty daunting shot but I put the club back and laid up. That’s where I stopped compounding the mistakes.”
Two groups in front of Mason, Kania was surging.
A trio of birdies on Nos. 6-8 rocketed the former Patterson Cup winner up the standings, before a double bogey on No. 9 (par 4, 436 yards) halted his mojo. Kania knocked his 9-iron from 158 yards onto the back tier of the treacherous ninth green and watched his first putt roll off the front and 20 yards down the fairway.
“At that point, that dropped me to 1 under for the day and even for the tournament. There wasn’t any time to sulk,” said Kania, 22, of Haverford, Pa. “I need to go and put a good back nine together if I was going to make any headway.”
A fifth-year senior at Villanova University, Kania birdied No. 11 (par 5, 527 yards) after coming up just short of the green in two shots. A wayward tee ball on No. 15 (par 4, 296 yards), to the right and in the trees, watched Kania drop a shot before a birdie on No. 17 (par 5, 550 yards) made things interesting. Kania’s eagle try from 15 feet just skirted the edge.
A nice par on No. 18 put him in the clubhouse at 1 under.
“Going through the back nine, I saw [Andrew] was coming back a little bit,” said the affable Kania. “I tried to stay in the present. I wasn’t worrying about him. Obviously with him, he could birdie the last five holes.
“I’m ecstatic. If you told me I was going to take second before the tournament I would have taken it. Especially the way Andrew’s playing, you are basically playing in a different flight with him. To come out and shoot 1-under par for 36 holes on a golf course like this, I’ll take that every time.”
Mike Meisenzahl of Little Mill CC, the Amateur Championship qualifying medalist, grinded out an even-par 71 to beat Mason by four strokes for his first Silver Cross.
“It’s my biggest achievement of the summer,” said Meisenzahl, 23, of Medford, N.J. “I made a couple of mistakes the last two days that I thought would come back to haunt me. Thankfully they didn’t.”
Meisenzahl is headed to the first stage of PGA Q-School in mid-September. He’ll go as an amateur and see where the results lead. “This gives me some momentum.”
Meisenzahl is the first Amateur medalist to win the Silver Cross since Michael McDermott of Llanerch CC, did so in 2003
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