BETHLEHEM, Pa. — If you didn’t take notice of Bert Kosup after he won a Golf Association of Philadelphia title a year ago, you will now.
The Ridge at Back Brook member sent shockwaves throughout the Senior circuit when he upended Chip Lutz, 2&1, in the Brewer Cup Final Wednesday at Saucon Valley Country Club’s Weyhill Course (par 72, 6,496 yards). Kosup’s GAP résumé prior included a breakout victory in the 2014 Chapman (Gross). Conversely, Lutz is the Senior Division’s gold standard. He is a two-time Brewer Cup champion and five-time reigning GAP Senior Player of the Year.
“To win this event, with Mr. Brewer’s résumé behind it and his great tradition of playing, means a lot. It’s an honor to beat Chip,” an emotional Kosup, 60, of Flemington, N.J., said. “He was a gentleman all day. I kept waiting for a charge. I hung in there and didn’t think about matching shot-for-shot. It worked out well.”
“Bert played nicely. He made a couple birdies on the back nine that kept him going,” Lutz, 60, of Reading, Pa., said. “I was kind of running out of gas. I got tired coming through the back nine. It wasn’t my best golf today. But nonetheless, no excuses. I’m happy for him.”
The Final, with conditions soft due to spurts of heavy rain, contained the makings of a Lutz runaway after the LedgeRock Golf Club member won two of the first three holes. But the burly Kosup, reassured by a few pep talks, quickly showed he wasn’t laying down on the tracks. He won the par 5, 516-yard No. 6 by hitting a three-quarter wedge to 13 feet for birdie. An uncharacteristic Lutz three-putt on No. 10 (par 4, 402 yards) squared the contest. Lutz, more to character on the par 4, 386-yard 11th hole, knocked a gap wedge 107 yards to 22 feet and snuck in a birdie on the right edge to move 1-up.
Kosup, admittedly awaiting a Lutz charge, made one of his own.
He outdrove Lutz, arguably the longest hitter on the Senior circuit, on the par 5, 515-yard 12th hole. With lift, clean and place permitted on Saucon’s soggy surface, Kosup examined his golf ball and elected to equip a 3-wood for his second shot. It landed 20 yards short of the green. Kosup bumped a wedge to six feet for birdie. On the next hole (par 4, 362 yards), he skied a wedge from 90 yards, only to watch it fall a foot short of carrying a ridge in front of the hole location. Kosup, who experienced a similar putt earlier in the week, drained a 25-footer for birdie to seize a 1-up advantage.
“It was a more difficult putt, but I remember that putt breaking at least a foot more than you think when you take a look at it,” Kosup said. “I just played it out to the right and it grabbed the left edge and fell in. At that point, I felt pretty good. Now I’m thinking, ‘don’t make a mistake and you should be OK.’”
He did make a mistake — on a hole that fooled Kosup all week. He flew the 15th (par 4, 368 yards) green with an 8-iron from 141 yards, but knew the ensuing chip shot and eked out a crucial halve.
Lutz faced opportunities to draw even on a pair of par 3s (Nos. 14 and 16, 170 yards and 145 yards), but couldn’t capitalize.
“I seemed to be missing the mark a little bit. The tempo was off,” Lutz, who won the Brewer in 2011 and 2014, said. “I kind of attribute it to being a little tired. I was struggling for good birdie looks, and then you get longer putts with speed and line. I hung in there and tried to make the best of it, but in the end, he was better.”
Lutz solidified a stunning result by sending a 3-wood into an environmentally sensitive area on No. 17 (par 4, 367 yards).
“I just went over it a little bit,” Lutz said. “I get tired real quick and get over top of it. I was hooking the ball a little more than I was used to. That tends to be my bailout. It’s hard to stop it.”
“I was surprised he didn’t play it out farther, but he typically plays a little bit of a draw,” Kosup added. “As far as he hits it, I’m surprised it didn’t carry.”
Kosup, under the encouragement of good friend and Saucon Valley’s own Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., decided to taste GAP competition a year ago. He is now a two-time Senior Major titleholder.
“It’s a great feeling. To win this event with all of these great players is just special,” Kosup said.
Severe storms caused a two hour and 15 minute delay in the semifinals. Even though the weather cleared enough to allow play, a cloudy haze remained thanks to a pair of scuffles.
Lutz squeaked past Robin McCool of the host club, 2&1, in a rematch between 2014 finalists. The decisive shoe dropped on the par 3, 145-yard 16th hole, where McCool failed to get up-and-down from long left.
Kosup outlasted Chester Valley Golf Club’s Ed Chylinski in 20 holes. A balky putter down the stretch doomed Chylinski, 65, of West Chester, Pa. He missed an eight-footer for birdie on No. 18 (par 5, 534 yards) and three-putted from 40 feet on No. 1 (par 4, 383 yards), the match’s 19th hole, after Kosup blocked a drive into the water hazard. Another three-putt on No. 2 (par 3, 159 yards), this time from 35 feet, sealed Chylinski’s fate.
The Brewer Cup, launched in 2008, is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer Jr., a veteran of 42 USGA Championships and two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion (1994, 1996). He also won Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur titles in 1967 and 1976 as well as the 1997 Senior Amateur Championship, which earned Brewer Player of the Year honors that year. He was inducted into the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Brewer Cup is open to Senior players with a handicap index of 7.0 or less and Super Seniors with an index of 12.0 or less.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
10. Bert Kosup, The Ridge at Back Brook, d. 12. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC, 2&1.
12. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC, d. 16. Robin McCool, Saucon Valley CC, 2&1.
10. Bert Kosup, The Ridge at Back Brook, d. 11. Ed Chylinski, Chester Valley GC, 20 holes.
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