Jeff Osberg just kept plugging away and finally caught Christopher Crawford on the final hole Monday to force a four-hole aggregate playoff to determine the winner of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Open Championship Tuesday morning.
It has been quite a year for Crawford since he closed out the summer of 2015 by winning the Patterson Cup for his first triumph in a GAP major championship. After an outstanding senior season at Drexel this spring, Crawford qualified for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club and also reached the quarterfinals of the North and South Championship at Pinehurst No. 2.
And it looked like Crawford, who plays out of Spring Mill Country Club, was going to add another GAP major to his resume when he fired an opening round of 4-under 67 at The Ridge at Back Brook in Ringoes, N.J. Osberg, who plays out of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, carded an even-par 71 and trailed Crawford by four.
Osberg is the top mid-amateur in the Philadelphia area and was coming off a runnerup finish to his friend Michael McDermott in a dramatic BMW Philadelphia Amateur final at Merion Golf Club’s East Course.
Osberg and Crawford were playing in the same group and they started on the back nine at The Ridge at Back Brook in the afternoon round. Osberg made birdies at the first and third holes while Crawford made bogeys at the third and sixth holes to allow Osberg to creep within two shots of the former Holy Ghost Prep standout.
And when Crawford made his second double bogey of his afternoon round at the ninth, his last hole of the day, the two were tied. They will battle it out in a four-hole aggregate playoff for the title beginning at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Crawford finished with a 4-over 75 in the afternoon while Osberg added another even-par 71 to his morning 71 as the two finished tied at even-par 142.
The winners of GAP’s first two majors of 2016, Michael Mattare, who captured the Mid-Amateur Championiship, and McDermott, who won the Philadelphia Amateur for a third time on his home course at Merion, finished in a tie for third at 3-over 145.
Mattare, who plays out of Saucon Valley Country Club, opened with a 72 and added a 73 in the afternoon while McDermott also had rounds of 72 and 73. A Philadelphia Open title is one of the few items missing on McDermott’s glittering local amateur golf record.
One thing that was decided Monday was the winner of the $7,000 prize, out of a total purse of $35,000, that goes to the low pro at the Philadelphia Open. Tavistock Country Club pro Greg Mathias earned that check with rounds of 71 and 75 for a 4-over 146 total. That earned him a tie for fifth with Huntingdon Valley’s Benjamin Smith, who had rounds of 71 and 75.
John Lynch, a pro at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club, earned the second-place check among the pros as he had rounds of 72 and 75 for a 5-over 147 total. He finished in a tie for seventh with Peter Barron III of Stone Harbor Golf Club, who had rounds of 75 and 72.
Six players finished in a tie for ninth at 6-over 148 led by three pros, Whitford Country Club assistant pro Andrew Turner, Stonewall head pro Ryan Lagergren and Philadelphia Cricket Club’s William Sautter. Turner had rounds of 76 and 72, Lagergren followed up an opening-round 73 with an afternoon 75 and Sautter had rounds of 72 and 76.
Aronimink Golf Club’s Michael Davis, a former Malvern Prep standout and a junior at Princeton, was also in that group at 148 with rounds of 72 and 76. Rounding out that group at 6-over were amateurs Aaron Fricke (72-76) of Lancaster Country Club and Ben Bershad (72-76) of Hopewell Valley Golf & Country Club.