Philadelphia Cricket’s Cole Berman hoists Patterson Cup trophy
HADDONFIELD, N.J.–Gusty winds, firm greens and Major title pressures put Thursday’s top Patterson Cup contenders on tilt. All, that is, except Philadelphia Cricket Club youngster Cole Berman.
Berman, 18, of Rosemont, Pa., turned in a steady, methodical round of even-par 72 to finish at a tournament best 4 under for the 36 holes and atop the 112th Joseph H. Patterson Cup at Tavistock Country Club (par 72, 6,772 yards).
He is the first Cricket member to capture the Association’s stroke play championship since H.R. Worthington in 1910 and only third overall. Howard Perrin is the only other Cricket winner, in 1902.
“It was a crazy round,” said Berman. “This tournament always seems to be one of the lowest scoring events of the year so I was thinking coming in I had to shoot 68 again. Today played way harder than yesterday. The wind was up the entire day. I tried to stay steady and see what happened. I was just grinding and making pars. Pars were good today.”
Grant Skyllas of LedgeRock Golf Club finished a shot back after sending the tournament into a tizzy hours before Berman finished. Skyllas equaled the competitive course record of 6-under 66 to skyrocket from a tie for 38th at the beginning of the day into solo second at 3 under overall. He waited two-plus hours for the final outcome.
“I honestly didn’t think anything of [my round]. I figured someone would come in strong. It wasn’t until [Cole] was on the 18th tee box that I thought I had a chance,” said Skyllas, 28, of Reading Pa. “I’m happy for Cole, he is a good player. He obviously has a bright future ahead of him. Matt [Teesdale] is a great player as well.”
First-round leader Teesdale of Commonwealth National Golf Club overcame a catastrophic front-nine score of 7-over 43 to tie former Temple University teammate Matt Crescenzo in third place at 2 under. Teesdale, who established the course record with a 66 yesterday, did, however, clinch his first Silver Cross Award. His four-round total of 280 was two shots clear of Aaron Fricke of Honeybrook Golf Club and Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club.
“I thought I played pretty consistently this summer other than the front nine today. It feels good to win the Silver Cross. I played well enough in the Philadelphia Amateur stroke play and turned it around on the back nine today which felt good,” said Teesdale, 23, of Maple Glen, Pa., a rising Temple senior. “[Cole] is a very steady player. At 18 years old that’s impressive. My hat’s off to him.”
Berman put himself in the fray by opening his round with 13 straight pars as groupmates Teesdale and Braden Shattuck of the Golf Course at Glen Mills stumbled. At the turn, Berman said he noticed Skyllas’ score.
Berman extended his lead on No. 14 (par 4, 439 yards) to two shots, when he lifted a 9-iron from 135 yards to four feet and made birdie.
“I knew I was two [shots] over Grant at the point,” said Berman. “[Then on 15] the wind right about then had been swirling. I should have been into the wind but it switched downwind and I hit it right through everything into the trees.”
He eventually bogeyed No. 15 (par 5, 545 yards), after finding the greenside bunker as well, and did the same on No. 16 (par 3, 193 yards) when his tee ball landed short on the green.
Berman, though, remained steely and delivered a pair of emphatic, decisive statements on the next two holes.
He hit a three-quarter sand wedge on No. 17 (par 5, 490 yards) to 15 feet before draining the birdie try with a mini fist pump in tow.
“I needed that because I very well could have gone to the next hole and bogeyed it and ended up in a playoff,” said Berman. “I knew I had to make it.”
The final hole still produced a bit of drama when Berman’s tee ball landed behind the trees on the left side. He responded with a punch 4-hybrid from 200 yards that bounced onto the green and 20 feet from the cup. Needing a two putt to secure his first Major GAP victory, Berman rolled his first putt to a foot before holing out to a smattering of applause.
“I don’t really know how to explain [the approach shot]. I probably closed my eyes because if it doesn’t go right, it’s hitting the tree and I’m back 200 yards again, “said Berman.
Skyllas announced his intentions immediately to the field with birdies on Nos. 1-2-8-9 to turn in 4 under and 1-under overall. At that point, though playing strong, he still trailed the leaders by five shots.
Skyllas dropped a shot with a bogey hiccup on No. 14 when his tee shot found the left rough, but re-rallied in grand style with three straight birdies on Nos. 15 thru 17. He knocked a lob wedge from 79 yards to two feet on No. 15; rifled a 5-iron to nine feet on No. 16 and then reached the green in two on No. 17 resulting in an eventual short birdie.
Berman is a recent graduate of The Haverford School. He is headed to Georgetown University later this month.
He also secured a third straight Junior Player of the Year with the victory.
“That was in the back of my mind the whole day,” said Berman. “That was the goal for the year.”
NOTES–Brad McFadden of Overbrook Golf Club is the youngest winner of the Patterson Cup at 17 years and three months. He won in 1992. Berman is 18 years and seven months.
Golf Association of Philadelphia