HVCC’s Osberg defeats Wildwood’s Hicks for 114th Patterson Cup
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.–Another Major. Another playoff. Another Jeff Osberg victory.
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For the second straight championship, Osberg emerged victorious from a four-hole aggregate playoff, this time defeating David Hicks of Wildwood Golf & Country Club, 16 strokes to 18, for the 114th Joseph H. Patterson Cup on Friday at his home course of Huntingdon Valley Country Club (Toomey/Flynn, par 70, 7,027 yards). Just three-plus weeks ago, Osberg edged Chris Crawford of Spring Mill Country Club in the same playoff format for the 112th Open Championship at The Ridge at Back Brook. He’s the first player to win both events in the same season since Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley did so in 2011.
“I would like the playoff to not be necessary, but it’s better than not being in the playoff,” said Osberg, 32, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., with a wry laugh. “Last year, I think I played my best golf that I’ve ever played and walked away not winning a tournament, although I did take the Silver Cross. I kind of walked out of that season thinking, ‘Did I get everything out of my game that I could have?’. This year it was top priority to not go another season without winning. It was unbelievable to get the win at the Open. Coming here at my home course and winning in front of the members and my family was unbelievable.”
Osberg, who became the 12th member of Huntingdon Valley to hoist the Patterson Cup, began the final round with a one-shot lead after an opening 2-under 68 yesterday. Hicks, 19, of Cape May Court House, N.J., carded a first-round 70.
The second-round leaderboard proved to be a volatile location, in particular when the winds picked up in the afternoon, with five players holding the lead or part of it at any one time.
In the end though, it was Hicks and Osberg, who both finished at 3 under, who separated themselves with steady play.
Hicks equaled the day’s low round of 67 – also carded by Roland Massimino of The Ridge at Back Brook – and Osberg finished at 1 under for his final 18 holes. Hicks, who cited a balky putter for some early round disappointment, made four birdies coming in to surge to the top. He highlighted that run in regulation on the treacherous No. 17 (par 3, 211 yards) with a 4-iron that stopped 10 feet from the hole. He drained the putt for a 2.
Osberg, who found out after hitting his tee shot on No. 17 that Hicks was in the clubhouse at 3 under, needed a miraculous up-and-down on No. 18 (par 4, 439 yards) for a playoff. He flew his approach shot 10 yards long of the green, leaving a chip shot to a hole location just a few paces on the putting surface from his angle. Osberg nestled it up to five feet and made the par saver.
“It was a 1-in-a-100 chip,” said Jeff’s father Rick, a decorated former local golf professional who followed his son around the course.
In the playoff – holes No. 10 (par 4, 402 yards); No. 11 (par 4, 371 yards); 17 and 18 – Osberg took control immediately. Both players pushed their approach shots on No. 10 to the right and into a deep swale. Osberg knocked his chip to 10 feet and saved par. Hicks missed a 30-footer and made bogey.
“Off the tee I felt really good,” said Hicks. “It was a long hole, I caught a gust and hit [my approach’] pretty high. That didn’t help. I really didn’t commit to [my second shot]. It was one of the first shots all day that I didn’t. Jeff had a great up-and-down. I was kind of pressing from there on after that.”
On No. 11, Osberg hit a wedge from 141 yards in the right rough to 15 feet. Hicks knocked his 9-iron from 138 yards in the fairway to hole high but spun the ball back off the green. Osberg two putted for par. Hicks missed a 10-footer and recorded another bogey. Osberg had eight strokes to Hicks’ 10.
On No. 17, Osberg played safe and hit a 5-iron into the center of the green, 25 feet from the cup. Hicks tried to force a 4-iron to the back, left hole location and missed the green. Osberg made par, Hicks made bogey.
Osberg held a three-stroke lead and removed any final-hole drama when his tee shot split the fairway. Hicks would go on to register a final par. Osberg sank a short three-footer for the win and a round of applause from the surrounding spectators.
“I will take a lot [from this experience],” said Hicks, a rising sophomore at the College of William & Mary. “I was able to finish down the stretch in regulation. I know it’s not quite the pressure of match play or a playoff but I definitely felt it and I feel like I was able to handle that moment on my own managing my game. There is still some work to be done.”
Hicks, who was also a second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection, led the Tribe in almost every statistical category in 2015-16, becoming the first freshman to accomplish that feat since 2005-06. He averaged 72.59 strokes per round, which shattered the existing freshman record (74.04) and was the second-best average in school history.
In addition to taking this year’s Open, Patterson Cup and Silver Cross (he defeated Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club, 284-286), Osberg has four other Major titles to his credit. He won the 2014 BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship; the 2010 Joseph H. Patterson Cup and Silver Crosses in 2010 and 2015.
He is also the reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year. He is likely to repeat as the POY.
“The history of amateur golf here is probably unlike any other club in Philadelphia,” said Osberg. “A lot of clubs may have history of having some [PGA] Tour events or hosting majors, but I’m not sure any has the history of amateur golf like Huntingdon Valley. It’s unbelievable to be in that mix. It feels really great to win as a member here.”