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Amateur Championship quarterfinals set for Thursday

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa.-A total of 32 players started Wednesday at Philmont CC (North, par 70, 6,577 yards) with hopes of earning their name on the J. Wood Platt trophy, awarded to the winner of the Amateur Championship.

Two rounds of match play later, the field has been sliced to eight.

The Amateur Championship quarterfinals and semifinals are set for Thursday. The 36-hole final is scheduled for Saturday beginning at 8 a.m.

Highlights of second-round matches follow:

Defending champion Billy Stewart, the No. 1 seed, advanced by forfeit over Paul Polinsky of Manufacturers G&CC, the 17 th seed. Polinsky injured his wrist on No. 7 and had to withdraw. At the time, Stewart held a two-hole advantage.

“I’m just trying to get into a rhythm,” said Stewart, 19, of Devon. “Yesterday, [in my second round] at Manufacturers G&CC I started to get it back. Today, I got it back.”

Stewart struggled in the Amateur Championship Qualifier on Tuesday, shooting an 85 in the morning at Philmont CC (North) and a 74 at Manufacturers G&CC in the afternoon. (Stewart was playing for Silver Cross scoring only.)

Stewart is seeded No. 1 in the match play draw by vitrtue of being the defending champion.

His opponent in the quarterfinals will be the 2000 Amateur Champion, Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC.

Gillespie, the No. 8 seed, defeated Justin Van Hyning of Olde York CC, the 24th seed, 2&1 to advance.

“I’ve never played a match with Billy [Stewart] so tomorrow should be interesting,” said Gillespie, 28, of Wayne. “Hopefully we’ll both play well and make a good match out of it. He still has the trophy. You have to take it away from him.”

Also in that half of the draw, John Robinson of Commonwealth National GC, the 13th seed, defeated Anthony Apostolico of Deerfield G&TC, the No. 4 seed, 1-up.

Robinson held a 5-up lead after No. 10 (par 4, 322 yards) before Apostolico made a spirited comeback to get to 1-down with one hole remaining. However, Apostolico missed his six-foot birdie chance on the final hole and Robinson two putted for par to advance.

“I’m comfortable playing one guy,” said Robinson, 45, or North Wales about his match play skills. “I do better playing people than old man par.”

This is not new territory for Robinson.

Last year, he advanced to the final before falling to Stewart.

One more win by each tomorrow, will result in a rematch.

“I have no special desire to play Billy,” said Robinson when asked if he is eyeing a rematch. “In fact, I want no parts of him if he is playing the way he did last year.”

On the other side of the draw: Michael McDermott of Llanerch CC, the No. 2 seed and medalist defeated Frank McFadden of Overbrook GC, the 15th seed, 3&1.

McDermott bridied the first hole of his second-round match registered all pars and four bogies afterward before finishing on No. 17.

“Sometimes you play good,” said McDermott, 28, of Havertown, “and lose and sometimes you play bad and win.”

He’ll face GAP veteran P. Chet Walsh in the quarterfinals.

Walsh, the No. 7 seed, upended the 23rd seed Will Weihenmayer, Jr. of Huntingdon Valley CC, 2&1.

With the match All Square at the difficult 14th hole (par 4, 450 yards), Walsh, 38, of Norristown, Pa., knocked driver, 4-iron to six feet behind the hole. He made the putt and would hold that advantage until the end. That brilliant iron shot on No. 14 came after he shanked two strokes on No. 13.

Michael Tash of Tavistock CC stopped At Kania, Jr., of Overbrook Gc, 4&3.

Tash, the reigning Player of the Year, turned in a consistent round with two birdies, four bogies and the rest pars to move in the quarterfinals.

“I thought I was playing good enough to get here,” said Tash, 41, of Glassboro, N.J. “If I hit it solid tomorrow, I know I’ll be in the game.”

In the day’s final match, Steve Owens of Wildwood G&CC, the 30th seed, edged Dan Walters, the 14th seed, from Meadia Heights GC, in 19 holes.

Owens parred the first extra hole to advance.

In first-round highlights:

  • McFadden needed 19 holes to stop fellow Overbrook GC mate Oscar Mestre, Jr., the 18th seed.
  • Owens chipped in form between the two bunkers on the right side of No. 17 (par 3, 188 yards) to close out his match with Clint Deibert, the No. 3 seed.
  • Kania, Jr. got up-and-down from the left greenside bunker on No. 17 and parred No. 18 (par 4, 343 yards) to edge Robin McCool, 1-up.

Second Round

  1. Billy Stewart, Llanerch CC, d. 17. Paul Polinsky, Manufacturers G&CC, forfeit 8. Brian Gillespie, St. Davids GC, d. 24. Justin Van Hyning, Olde York CC, 2&1 13. John Robinson, Commonwealth National GC, d. 4. Anthony Apostolico, Deerfield G&TC, 1-up 5. James White, Philadelphia Cricket Club, d. 21. Ken Matt, Lu Lu CC, 3&2 2. Michael McDermott, Llanerch CC, d. 15. Frank McFadden, Overbrook GC, 3&1 7. P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC, d. 23. Will Weihenmayer, Jr., Huntingdon Valley CC, 2&1 30. Steve Owens, Wildwood G&CC, d. 14. Dan Walters, Meadia Heights GC, 19 holes 6. Michael Tash, Tavistock CC, d. 22. Art Kania, Jr., Overbrook GC, 4&3

First Round

  1. Billy Stewart, Llanerch CC (DC), d. 32. Kevin Kelly, Philadelphia Cricket Club (151), 5&4 17. Paul Polinsky, Manufacturers G&CC (148), d. 16. James Macallister, Manufacturers G&CC (148), 2&1 8. Brian Gillespie, St. Davids GC (144), d. 15. Scott Ehrlich, Meadowlands CC (150), 2-up 24. Justin Van Hyning, Olde York CC (150) d. 9. Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock CC (144), 2&1 4. Anthony Apostolico, Deerfield G&TC (140), d. 29. Rob Savarese, Jr., Philadelphia Cricket Club (150), 3&2 13. John Robinson, Commonwealth National GC (146), d. 20. Leonard Pearson, Philmont CC (150), 2-up 21. Ken Matt, Lu Lu CC (149), d. 12. Robert Bechtold, Christiana CC (145), 2&1 2. Michael McDermott, Llanerch CC (137), d. 31. Roc Irey, Cedarbrook CC (151), 5&4 15. Frank McFadden, Overbrook GC (147), d. 18. Oscar Mestre Jr., Overbrook GC (148), 19 holes 7. P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia CC (143), d. 26. Marc Mandel, White Manor CC (150), 4&3 23. Will Weihenmayer, Jr., Huntingdon Valley CC (150), d. 10. James Kieserman, Blue Bell CC (145), 3&2 30. Steve Owens, Wildwood G&CC (150), d. 3. Clint Deibert, Doylestown CC (140), 2&1 14. Dan Walters, Meadia Heights GC (147), d. 19. Brian Rothaus, Philmont CC (149), 2&1 6. Michael Tash, Tavistock CC (143), d. 27. Patrick Dougherty, Talamore at Oak Terrace CC (150), 2&1 22. Art Kania, Jr., Overbrook GC (149), d. 11. Robin McCool, Saucon Valley CC (145), 1-up