LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa.–David Liotta pulled into Whitemarsh Valley Country Club this morning in search of a match play berth. He exited his home venue a quarterfinalist in the 108th Amateur Championship.
Liotta, a six-time Whitemarsh Valley club champion, defeated Stephen Seiden of Concord Country Club in 19 holes in the second round after defeating top-seeded Phil Bartholomew of Yardley Country Club, 7&5, in the morning session.
|Michael McDermott of Merion GC|
makes a swing on No. 1.
Quarterfinal matches begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow with the semifinals to follow. The 36-hole Amateur final is set for 8 a.m. Saturday.
“I was kind of nervous getting here. I was wondering if I should even show up in a sense,” said the 38-year-old Liotta. “Yesterday was so up-and-down. It was a four-for-three playoff and then we go down [hole] No. 1 and two guys make it. They say come back tomorrow and here I am.”
Liotta opened his day at 7:45 a.m. in a playoff with Kevin Genuardi of Cedarbrook Country Club for the final qualifying position. Playing the second hole (par 4, 432 yards), Liotta knocked a wedge from 125 yards to three feet for birdie to earn the 32nd and final seed.
“I had a completely different mental approach today,” said Liotta, a software engineer. “I knew that hole and where to hit it. I knew the green. I felt pretty comfortable sitting down at the range. I figured I could make a three.”
Minutes later Liotta squared off against Bartholomew, the reigning Amateur Champion.
Two pars and a birdie in the first three holes gave the West Chester, Pa., resident a 3-up lead after three. He recorded a pair of two-putt pars on Nos. 1 (par 4, 352 yards) and 2 (par 4, 432 yards) and then hit a wedge from 110 yards out to six feet on No. 3 (par 5, 566 yards). Liotta closed out the front side and moved 5-up when his pitching wedge stopped two feet from the hole on No. 9 (par 3, 121 yards). He would go on to close out Bartholomew on No. 13 (par 4, 370 yards) with a par.
The second-round match with Seiden wasn’t so easy.
Liotta was 1-down after two holes before squaring the match on No. 3 (par 5, 566 yards) with a par. A five on No. 5 (par 5, 491 yards) preceded a birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 371 yards) that gave Liotta a 2-up edge. Of note was his par on the fifth hole, especially considering his first drive landed in the hazard and forced him to re-tee. He launched his next shot over the trees and then hit a 6-iron to three feet for the improbable par. Seiden, however, failed to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker and made bogey.
Seiden, 26, of Chadds Ford, Pa., remained focused, though, and squared the match on No. 10 (par 4, 377 yards) when Liotta drove it out of bounds and then moved 1-up with a par on No. 12 (par 3, 190 yards) after Liotta missed a four-foot par try.
The two exchanged wins on Nos. 14 (par 4, 376 yards) and 15 (par 4, 422 yards) before Liotta hit the shot of the day, a 9-iron on No. 16 (par 3, 142 yards) that clanked off the flagstick. The ball stopped four feet away and the birdie drew Liotta even.
“It was back and forth. It was a lot of pars and a lot of good par saving putts on both sides,” said Seiden. “We both played well. He just came out on top. I thought I had him on 16. I was 1-up and I hit a good shot onto that green but then he goes and hits the flagstick and makes two.”
Both players parred No. 17 (par 5, 481 yards) and bogeyed No. 18 (par 4, 464 yards).
On the 19th hole, No. 1, Liotta drove his ball 10 yards shy of the green into the left greenside bunker. Seiden found the fairway bunker 50 yards short of the green and came up just short again on his next pitch. Liotta knocked his sand shot to four feet. Seiden’s chip went long and his par save skirted the hole. Liotta two putted for the win.
“I think I had a little bit more adrenaline on the first tee,” said Liotta. “I figured if I could just hit that fairway and get it in that bunker I would have an easy sand shot. It worked out.”
In all, six of the Top 8 seeds remain alive.
In that group is qualifying medallist Michael Danner of Lu Lu Country Club and Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club, the reigning Player of the Year.
Danner survived a morning-round scare when he was forced to extra holes by Eric Schmehl of Moorestown Field Club. Danner finally advanced on the 19th hole, No. 10, when he hit a sand wedge from 114 yards to 12 feet and two putted for the win.—
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.
32. David Liotta, Whitemarsh Valley CC, d. 17. Stephen Seiden, Concord CC, 19 holes
8. Zach Smith, Doylestown CC, d. 24. Thomas Gramigna, Tavistock CC, 2&1
4. Cole Willcox, Philadelphia CC, d. 13. Doug Zelner, Spring Ford CC, 2&1
5. Glenn Smeraglio, Yardley CC, d. 21. Russell Hartung, Doylestown CC, 3&1
2. Mike Danner, Lu Lu CC, d. 18. Anthony Martire, Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa, 4&3
7. Michael McDermott, Merion GC, d. 23. Jeffrey Griest, Waynesborough CC, 4&2
14. Alan Borowsky, White Manor CC, d. 3. Robert Savarese, Jr., Sand Barrens GC, 1-up
6. James Donnelly, Merion GC, d. 11. Brian Creghan, Plymouth CC, 2-up
32. Liotta d. 1. Phil Bartholomew, Yardley CC, 7&5
17. Seiden d. 16. Richard Marabella, Whitemarsh Valley CC, 3&2
8. Smith d. 25. Matthew Finger, Running Deer GC, 1-up
24. Gramigna d. 9. Sean Leonard, Tavistock CC, 2&1
4. Willcox d. 29. Robert Galbreath, Jr., Huntingdon Valley CC, 3&2
13. Zelner d. 20. Michael Brown, Philadelphia Publinks GA, 2&1
5. Smeraglio d. 28. Thomas Hyland, Little Mill CC, 1-up
21. Hartung d. 12. Brian Rothaus, Philmont CC, 1-up
2. Danner d. 31. Eric Schmehl, Moorestown Field Club, 19 holes
18. Martire d. 15. Chris Lange, Overbrook GC, 2&1
7. McDermott d. 26. Christopher Reedman, Makefield Highlands GC, 4&2
23. Griest d. 10. Oscar Mestre, Jr., Overbrook GC, 2&1
3. Savarese d. 30. James Kania, Jr., Overbrook GC, 1-up
14. Borowsky d. 19. David West, Whitford CC, 3&2
6. Donnelly d. 27. Christopher Kaspar, Lu Lu CC, 4&2
17. Creghan d. 22. Travis Gahman, Philadelphia Publinks GA, 3&2
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