Merion’s Bradbeer earns #PatCup, first Major title
WILMINGTON, DEL.–A plethora of Joseph H. Patterson Cup challengers huffed and puffed in hoping to shatter the championship house of Peter Bradbeer. However, the tournament’s first-round leader and Bucknell University Bison rising sophomore emphatically slammed the door on all foes. He carded a second-round 72 on Wilmington Country Club’s South Course (par 71, 7,160 yards) Thursday to finish at 2 under for the 36 holes and a stroke clear of the field.
The victory was the 19-year-old’s first Major title.
The 140 Patterson Cup total when added to his 146 two-round score from the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship Qualifier also propelled Bradbeer to his first Silver Cross Award. The Silver Cross is awarded to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the qualifying rounds of the Amateur Championship and the Patterson Cup.
“[Winning this tournament] means the world to me. Absolutely. The Patterson [Cup] is one of the few tournaments I look forward to every summer,” said Bradbeer of Merion Golf Club and Rosemont, Pa. “It’s incredible. I called my dad [James] a couple minutes after we finished up. He was like just look at the names [on the trophy]. I took a peek and it’s incredible. Especially the Silver Cross. I’m still in shock.”
Bradbeer is the sixth player from Merion to win the Patterson Cup, the Association’s premier stroke-play championship. He joins legendary clubmate Max Marston, who won four, as well as Merion’s most recent champion Michael McDermott (2007), amongst others.
Bradbeer, in the final group, fended off multiple challenges on the big and brawny Wilmington track. He made his most decisive move on No. 17, a 205-yard par 3 guarded by a threatening pond. At the time, he and Ben Smith of Huntingdon Valley Country Club (in the group ahead of Bradbeer), were tied for the lead at 1 under.
With a hole location on the small, left out cove of the wide green and placed just over the water, Bradbeer ripped a 5-iron directly over the flag. It stopped in the back fringe. His subsequent 23-foot birdie try tracked the whole way and dropped into the bottom of the cup. A thunderous roar and fist-pump ensued. He would record a stress-free par on No. 18 (par 4, 443 yards) to seal the victory.
“That was a rush of emotion right there,” said Bradbeer of No. 17. “I missed a short [birdie putt] on No. 16 (par 5, 610 yards) that I thought I was going to make after hitting a pretty awesome third shot from way back. To get that one to fall was a rush.”
On the 17th, “I took a little more club which probably wasn’t my smartest move. I actually hit it a little fat. I was actually asking for it to go. It just rolled into the back fringe.”
Bradbeer, a hole earlier, found a fairway bunker off the tee and had 251 yards left for his third shot. He hit his 3-wood approach to 12 feet before leaving his birdie putt a cup short.
Even so, he exited the green still tied for the lead.
Smith actually was alone at the top of the scoreboard at 2 under standing on the 16th tee. However, his third shot came up short of the green and his fourth shot, a chip, ran 10 feet by the flag. His par effort missed.
“I really can’t be that upset with my finish,” said Smith, 30, of Philadelphia, Pa. “I haven’t been playing that well coming into this event. Getting second place is a good way to end the year for me.”
It was Smith’s third straight Top 5 Patterson Cup finish. He placed fourth in 2016 at Huntingdon Valley and tied for fifth in 2015 at Chester Valley Golf Club.
Smith and Bradbeer were tied at 3 under after No. 12. But Smith bogeyed No. 13 (par 3, 206 yards) when he missed the green right. Bradbeer followed in the next group and made a double after leaving his flop shot in the collar.
Bradbeer started his round one shot clear of Chris Ault of Yardley Country Club and Chris Crawford of Spring Mill Country Club. He lost that advantage after a bogey on No. 2 (par 4, 416 yards) when he drew an uneven lie in the grass along the left fairway bunker for his second shot, but reclaimed the lead a hole later with a par. He then held a share of the top spot until No. 9 (par 4, 492 yards). Smith, who started with eight straight pars, birdied the ninth to move one-shot clear.
When all players completed No. 12 (par 4, 409 yards), Smith and Bradbeer were tied.
Both Brian Gillespie of St. Davids and Cole Berman of Philadelphia Cricket Club made charges from the early starters. Gillespie went birdie-eagle-birdie on holes Nos. 10-12 to burst up the leaderboard. He stood at 1-under with a hole to play but missed the 18th green to the right and failed to get up-and-down, missing a 20-foot par try. He carded a closing 2-under 69.
Berman finished at level after posting a 1-under 70.
Bradbeer, who credited his father for all his guidance throughout the years, was a little sad he was unable able to attend the event due to a work conflict. His brother J.B., though, was on the bag. Peter mentioned some swing tips from his father, but said the best advice he received from pops came in handy when the outcome was still in doubt and a gaggle of pursers in sight. “Never give up.”
Golf Association of Philadelphia