Jeff Osberg finds himself right in the middle of things at another Golf Association of Philadelphia major championship and this time it’s at his home course, Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
Osberg fired a 2-under 68 over the 6,889-yard, par-70 Huntingdon Valley layout to take a one-shot lead over two players following the opening round of the 114th Joseph H. Patterson Cup, although there are plenty of talented players within shouting distance should Osberg falter.
The 32-year-old Bryn Mawr resident is coming off a playoff victory over Spring Mill Country Club’s Chris Crawford in the Philadelphia Open at The Ridge at Back Brook. Earlier this summer, Osberg fell to his friend and rival Michael McDermott in a memorable BMW Philadelphia Amateur final at Merion Golf Club’s East Course, McDermott’s home track.
The 41-year-old McDermott is in the hunt again as he is one of eight players tied for fourth, two shots behind Osberg. A year ago, what appeared to be an Osberg-McDermott showdown for the Patterson Cup at Chester Valley Golf Club didn’t materialize and Crawford picked up the pieces to take the title. Crawford bypassed the Patterson Cup to tee it up in the Western Amateur this week.
The Silver Cross will also be decided Friday and Osberg and McDermott are 1-2 going into Friday’s final round of the Patterson Cup. A year ago Osberg edged McDermott for GAP’s William Hyndman III Player of the Year award and the Patterson Cup will probably go a long way toward deciding that winner as well.
Osberg started on the back nine and got to 2-under when he sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-4 14th and then reached the par-5 15th in two and two-putted. He had a birdie on the first hole with a wedge to tap-in range and gave a shot back with a drive that skipped into the woods on the second hole.
LuLu Country Club’s Jack Melville, preparing to start his collegiate career at Delaware, and Stone Harbor Country Club’s Peter Barron III, coming off a victory in the Delaware Open earlier this week, are tied for second, a shot back of Osberg at 1-under 69.
McDermott heads the large group tied for fourth at even-par 70. Among them are: Aronimink Golf Club’s Michael Davis, a junior at Princeton; Connor McNicholas of Talamore Country Club; Dan Rudershausen of Kennett Square Golf & Country Club; David Hicks of Wildwood Golf & Country Club; Jamie Slonis of Tavistock Country Club; Matthew Finger of DuPont Country Club; and LuLu’s P.J. Acierno, a senior at La Salle.
Two more Huntingdon Valley players, Kyle Sterbinsky, a Wake Forest sophomore who is headed for the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. later this month, and Benjamin Cooley, are among three players tied for 12th at 1-over 71. Joining them at that figure is Serge Hogg of RiverWinds Golf & Tennis Club.