The day did not begin well for the Wall brothers of Brielle, N.J., especially when their 110-mile trek -- in separate vehicles -- from their home to Stonewall in Elverson was interrupted Thursday by the closure of a portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which put them at risk of not being able to continue in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur.
Jack Wall, the younger of the two brothers, showed up 15 minutes late for his 7:30 a.m. quarterfinal tee time against Jeff Osberg and was disqualified under Rule 5.3a. Jeremy Wall, the defending champion, showed up right at his 7:45 time and was penalized with loss of the first hole for not being ready to play.
Saying he was “tight as a drum” because of the frantic drive and the fact that he didn’t get to warm up, Jeremy Wall then lost the next three holes to go 4-down. But he somehow found a way to come back and finished the day winning two matches to earn a spot in Saturday’s 36-hole championship match.
Wall, of Manasquan River Golf Club, defeated Andrew Cornish of RiverCrest, 3 and 2, then eliminated Conrad Von Borsig of Philadelphia Cricket, 1-up, to make his second straight final. He will face Osberg, the Pine Valley member and 2014 champion who advanced straight to the semifinal after Jack Wall’s disqualification and then beat Danny Harcourt of Mercer Oaks, 2 and 1.
Wall felt badly for his brother, who graduated recently from Christian Brothers Academy and is headed to play college golf at South Carolina, but used his disappointment as motivation.
“We were talking the entire way here,” he said. “I said, ‘Listen, it’s pouring out, it’s not worth it to get in an accident. You’ll win one of these.’ He later sent me a text and said, ‘Just go win this thing.’
“While I was driving, I was thinking, ‘This kid definitely could have won. It [stinks] that with the weather and a dump truck that overturns, he can’t make it.’ I was almost thinking like, ‘Hey, if we can win this for me and maybe for him a little bit, that’d be a cool kind of family win.’ I was thinking about him a little bit while I was out there.”
Wall, who took an alternate route suggested by an app to avoid the turnpike closure, didn’t lose another hole in the morning after going 4-down. He had drawn even by No. 10 and won his final two holes with pars to take the match.
Wall’s afternoon match against Von Borsig, the 2009 champion, was all square after nine holes before the contestants combined to win seven of the next eight holes. Wall went 2-up after a 5-foot par putt at No. 16, but Von Borsig drained a 40-footer for a birdie at 17 to extend the match.
Wall got the victory with a 2-putt on 18, capped by another 5-footer for par.
Osberg, who began his day warming up in a steady rain for a match that didn’t happen, said he felt badly for Jack Wall.
“It was a real shame,” he said. “Unfortunately some things in golf, just like the rules in general, it’s not always the most ideal outcome for everybody. But, yeah, I was really sad to see that. Never do you want to win that way. You don’t want to lose that way.”