Manasquan’s wonder Wall finds #BMWPhillyAm oasis
LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa. –Jeremy Wall has spoken. He is the 118th BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion.
Wall outlasted a dogged Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley CC in 37 holes at a sun-soaked Whitemarsh Valley CC Saturday to become the first Manasquan River GC member to hoist the J. Wood Platt Trophy.
Wall, 22, of Brielle, N.J., won with a conceded par on No. 1 (par 4, 349 yards) after Mason, 29, of Conshohocken, Pa., missed a four-footer to extend the playoff.
It was the first Amateur Final for both players.
“It’s awesome,” said Wall of joining the list of past Amateur Champions. “I’m not too familiar with the Philadelphia Section yet but it has great champions. To be able to come out on top with a field like this, it means a lot.”
The Title Match was as back-and-forth as any in recent memory. Of the 37 holes played, only 12 were halved. And though the match went extra time, Mason led at no point in the contest.
Wall built a 4-up lead after 18 holes. Mason climbed back to All Square after the first six holes of the afternoon round before Wall reclaimed a 3-up advantage with eight holes to play.
A determined Mason, a multiple time Golf Association of Philadelphia Major victor, displayed the guts and guile of a champion. He won three straight holes – Nos. 29 thru 31 – to square the match when hope looked lost for a second time.
“I started the day saying, ‘Let’s go get it, attack, go win holes with birdies,’” said Wall. “In the afternoon, I got complacent. I was thinking, ‘This is yours, just go out and hit the ball and you’ll win.’ Andrew is too good a player to do that. I wasn’t mentally focused.”
On No. 33 (No. 15, par 4, 423 yards), Wall rekindled his swings of the morning past, with a wonderful 9-iron from 147 yards to six feet. He knocked his drive down the adjacent third fairway and won the hole with a conceded birdie after Mason made bogey.
“It was a stroke of luck hitting such a bad tee shot on Thursday. I would have never have thought to hit it over there,” said Wall. “Why take on the water [on the left side of the fairway] when you can have a 9-iron from the third fairway?”
The two halved No. 34 (No. 16, par 3, 164 yards) with magnificent up-and-downs after both missed the green – Mason short, Wall in the front right greenside bunker.
On No. 35 (No. 17, par 5, 486 yards), Mason pulled even when he hit the fairway and knocked a 7-iron onto the green from 162 yards to 15 feet. He would make birdie. Wall pulled his drive into a bunker on the adjacent 10th hole (par 4, 384 yards) but managed only a par. On No. 36 (No. 18, par 4, 467 yards), Mason appeared to be in control. His drive found the center of the fairway, stopping 178 yards away from the flag. Wall found the left grass moguls but crushed a 180-yard, 8-iron “from a scruffy lie” to 50 feet, long of the flag but still on the green. Mason fluttered his 6-iron and had 60 feet from the right fringe.
Whitemarsh Valley’s greens were smooth and strong all day. Neither player charged their birdie attempt. Both eventually missed mid-range opportunities for par.
“I hit too conservative of a shot on [No.] 18. I hit a little punch and fluttered it out there” said Mason, who has won two Open Championships and a Patterson Cup. “I should have been more aggressive. I’m still not really that confident with my game yet. Jeremy hit an awesome shot from over there [in the hills].”
Mason held the honors on No. 37 and ripped driver that landed in the right fairway bunker. Wall drew 4-iron and pulled it a smidge into the first cut of the left rough. He then lobbed a 50-degree wedge from 138 yards to 20 feet. Mason knocked his sand shot into the greenside bunker. His blasted out to four-feet but pushed his putt right.
“I was hoping to win today,” said Mason, who turned professional in 2013 before returning to the amateur ranks in June 2017. “Especially after being in good position on [No.] 18. I’m just happy to be back. I had a lot of buddies come and watch today that I haven’t seen in a while. I got a lot of texts from people in the golf community wishing me luck and that meant a lot.”
Wall, a recent Loyola University Maryland graduate, opened the Final with laser focus. He lost those big leads when that focus fleeted.
“To win five matches is quite an accomplishment because all of these players are so good,” said Wall. “A 36-hole match is a marathon, and you have to grind it out. It is so easy to let your mind get in front of you and start thinking about what you are going to say in a speech. It is a big win and I am looking forward to taking it into the rest of the summer. I am happy that my game is rounding into form.”
NOTES–This is the 15th time Whitemarsh Valley has hosted the Amateur Championship, the most of all-time … Whitemarsh Valley is the home of J. Wood Platt, for whom the Amateur Championship Trophy is named. Platt won a record seven Amateur titles from 1920-42 … Mason was attempting to become the 16th Amateur Champion to call Huntingdon Valley home. Total, those 16 won 24 titles ... Stonewall is the site of the 2019 BMW Philadelphia Amateur.
Golf Association of Philadelphia