1st/2nd Round Scores
Mason Defends Amateur Crown
Pa – The 99th Amateur Championship is in the books, and it can only
be described with one word, “thrilled.” That’s how Andrew Mason felt after
successfully defending his title. Mason could not stop smiling when talking
about how it felt to go from winning the Golf Association of Philadelphia's Open Championship to the State Amateur Championship in back-to-back weeks.
Mason, of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, became the 1st defending
champion to repeat since 1982-83, when Buddy Marucci, Jr. did so.
championship round did not start off the way he had envisioned. On the first hole (par 4, 419-yards),
Mason hit a great shot that somehow nipped, and came down into a divot. His
chip up to the green would roll back down and he would be forced to chip up
again, and bogey the hole. While Mason would bogey the hole, Brandon Dalinka
would pull within two shots, with a birdie.
another bogey on 2 (par 4, 450-yards), Mason would head into the par 3 third,
with just one thought, “Just get it on the green. Stop [messing] around.” Mason
would par the next three holes to maintain at least a share of the lead.
like Mason’s ups and downs, the leaderboard would have plenty of changes during
the final round. Thru three holes, The 99th Championship would have
three leaders at 3–under for the tournament: Anthony DeGol, Nathan Smith,
& Andrew Mason. DeGol, of Scotch Valley Country Club, would birdie the 2nd
to get to 3–under, while Smith, of Pinecrest Country Club, made three
spectacular par saves to keep even with Mason.
(par 4, 394-yards), Smith would gain his first lead of the tournament. Smith’s
approach shot landed just past the flagstick, and gave him a challenging birdie
putt that he would sink, and bring him to 4–under for the tournament.
Smith was going up on the leaderboard, Daniel Charen was moving in the opposite
direction. Charen, of Makefield Highlands Golf Club, had a disappointing bogey
on the 1st, and then again on the 5th (par 4, 426-yards),
to put him 1–over for the tournament.
second round that put Jeff Osberg five shots off the lead, he would begin his
final round slowly. The first four holes Osberg, of Llanerch Country Club, made
even par and made up little ground on Mason. On the fifth hole however, Osberg would begin
to start his string of three straight birdies. His birdie on the 6th
(par 3, 207-yards), put him in a four way tie for the lead with Mason, DeGol,
and Nathan Smith (who would bogey the 6th).
With the seventh hole coming up, a
short par 5 (501-yards and statistically the easiest hole), the lead pack would
all go to 4–under for the tournament. Going into 8 (par 4, 44-yards) both
Smith and Osberg would face tremendous challenges. Osberg’s approach shot found
the greenside bunker and presented him with a pitch out that could easily roll
off the far side of the green. After a spectacular pitch out, the 8th
green was just too quick for Osberg, and he would give a stroke back to fall to
would find his tee-shot sitting just above the creek in the fairway. Electing
to play, and not drop & take a one shot penalty, Smith was left with a
dangerous uphill lie. Taking an awkward stance, Smith successfully got out of
it, and came to rest just below the green. Smith would walk away from a potentially
championship round ending situation, with a bogey and fall to 3–under.
to the turn, the two lead groups would go out with Mason & DeGol at 3–under, while Smith, Osberg, and Brandon Dalinka were one shot back of the
lead, at 2–under.
statistically the second most difficult hole (par 3, 258-yards), Osberg and
DeGol would give yet another stroke back, “I just made a mess of 8, 9, &
10,” said Osberg. Osberg was not alone however, as the 10th only
surrendered four birdies all week.
hole would see one of the leaders fall from championship contention. Dalinka’s
tee shot found the rough on the left side of the fairway, and 80-yards from the
green. What seemed to be a routine up and down, turned into a nightmare. His
approach shot found the front greenside bunker, and his third shot put him
40-feet away with a steep drop just behind the hole location.
par putt ran past the hole and down the backside of the green. After a 15-foot
chip to get him within ten-feet, Dalinka would two-putt and card the second
triple bogey on 12, all week. Dalinka, now 1–over, was seemingly out of the
championship race and couldn't recover. He would end
with a score of 78, and 6–over for the championship.
While Dalinka’s championship hopes faded, Mason’s were becoming a reality. His tee shot on 13 (par 4, 442-yards) put him in the middle of the fairway, and a chance to get on the green for birdie. A disappointing effort left him just off of the green, shortsided, and with a shot, that if he missed, would put him 50 feet down a steep slope. Mason’s 20-foot chip somehow found the hole and gave him a
temporary one shot lead over Smith, who still needed to hole his par putt. Smith’s par
putt missed by inches and left him with a tap in for bogey, and a two shot
Andrew Mason holes this chip on the 13th
like Dalinka, Smith would not be able to recover from his bogey. Smith would go
on to par the next four holes, before ending on 18 with a bogey and put him
tied for fifth with Anthony DeGol at 1–over, 211.
did on his front nine, Osberg began to go on a bit of a run. A bogey on the 14th
(par 3, 235-yards) left him four shots off the lead with 4 to play. Osberg made
a clutch birdie putt on 16 (par 3, 170-yards), and saw an eagle putt lip out on
17. Osberg would end his tournament at 2–under and alone in third place.
Osberg’s eagle putt would not fall, Charen’s successful 10-foot eagle putt, on 17, would take him to 3–under for the tournament and put some pressure on Mason to make quality shots.
Walking to the 17th tee box Mason had no idea that Charen had just
pulled to within one shot, so he elected to go with driver off the tee and try to
clear the fairway bunkers.
didn’t see that Charen had eagled. [I just] hit is hard,” said Mason. “I
almost always hit a fade, and it didn’t fade.”
tee shot found the bunker and an impossible lie on the up-slope. From there
Mason needed to play conservative and let Charen try to make
birdie on 18.
“I hit a
perfect wedge shot right where I wanted to,” remarked Mason. “I wasn’t thinking
bogey, but I didn’t think I was going to birdie either. I was [going for] 20-feet to just give myself a chance and a two-putt.”
two-putt turned into a 20-foot birdie putt, and all but sealed his championship
victory. All Mason had left, was the 18th, par
4, 493-yards & statistically most difficult hole of the week. Mason’s tee
shot found the fairway and left him with a long iron into the undulating green.
His iron shot would land 25-feet from the hole and leave him with a two-putt
for par, and his second Amateur Championship in a row.
Andrew Mason speaks to the crowd
Mason will now compete in the USGA Amateur
Championship, August 13-19 at Cherry Hills Country Club, in Cherry Hills Village
Colorado. In Addition to his victory at Rolling Green Golf Club, Mason has now
put himself in the top three of the State Team Point Standings, which proves to be some of the
strongest three golfers in quite some time.