After short pro stint, Temple alum Andrew Mason into first-ever final at Philadelphia Amateur

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Andrew Mason looks on after hitting an approach shot of the 14th hole, during the Philadelphia Amateur Tournament at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, in Lafayette Hill, PA. Thursday, June 13, 2018.

Thursday morning’s quarterfinal matches, for the most part, wrapped up quickly. Two of four were done with at least four holes to play and the first group out finished soon thereafter.

That left just one group on the course as morning gave way to afternoon. And emerging from the marathon — who but Andrew Mason.

Mason outlasted Malvern Prep alum and recent Princeton graduate Michael Davis in 21 holes to advance to the BMW Philadelphia Amateur semifinals for the first time since 2011, at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill. He then eased his way into Saturday’s final with a 3-and-2 semifinal win against Ryan Tall later in the day.

The 29-year-old Mason, who turned pro in 2013, skipped the 2017 edition after regaining amateur status early last year. His game, however, is anything but amateur.

“I just think about golf completely differently,” Mason, a Temple grad,  said after his semifinal victory. “I’m still competitive out there, I still take forever over putts — I’m slow and I want to make the putt, but it’s just not the end of the world if I miss it.”

After Davis grabbed a two-hole lead in as many holes, Mason rebounded to win four straight holes to go up a pair. And with a birdie on the 11th, his third of the day, Mason looked ready to put the match in a stranglehold.

But even with Mason taking the par-4 15th, Davis would win four of the last seven holes to send things into overtime.

Both made par on the 19th hole, and although it looked for a minute like Davis, a member at Aronimink, would have the advantage with his tee shot in the fairway on No. 20, the pair each converted pars to send things to what would ultimately be the decider.

With Mason just in the hazard, he could only advance his third shot about 40 yards. Mason pitched one to just 6 feet, and when Davis couldn’t two-putt from 60 feet out, all it took was a par putt for Mason to move on.

“The course is crazy good right now,” Mason said. “I just kept it in front of me today. It was really, really windy, so I just tried to not get in too bad shape.”

The afternoon was less of a grind. Mason, a Huntingdon Valley member, never trailed and led by as many as three holes before wrapping things up with a par on No. 16, his 37th hole of the day.

“I just haven’t been competing much,” Mason said when asked if he expected to make it this far. “It’s definitely more of a full-time hobby than a job.”

Mason will challenge Manasquan River’s Jeremy Wall Saturday in the 36-hole finale, beginning at 7 a.m.