BLUE BELL, Pa.–Clint Deibert of Doylestown CC and Tug Maude of Merion GC arguably have registered the best golf in the 105th Amateur Championship this week. On Saturday, the two will square off in the final for the J. Wood Platt championship trophy. The 36-hole final match is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday at Cedarbrook CC.
*Day one results | *Day two results | *Match play bracket
In Thursday’s semifinal contests, Deibert defeated a game and tenacious Brian Gillespie of St. Davids GC, 1-up, and Maude stopped the persistent Patrick Marshalek of Whitford CC, 5&3.
This is the first final for both players.
“It’s great. It’s why I signed up for the event,” said Deibert, who will return to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the fall as an assistant golf coach, on reaching the final. “It’s been draining and I’m physically beat like everyone else is but it’s been a fantastic week.”
Added Maude, who recently graduated from Wake Forest University, “This is unbelievable. This is only the second time I’ve ever played in the Amateur and the first time was when I was a junior in high school [at Haverford School]. To see all those names on the trophy is amazing.”
Deibert, 23, of Doylestown, Pa. qualified as the sixth seed. Gillespie, 30, of Chesterbrook, Pa. and the 2001 Amateur Champion, entered match play as the 15th seed. Both are known in area golfing circles for their consistency.
In their semifinal match, Deibert, who can make a bushel of birdies in a round continued his long driving and crisp iron play. Gillespie deft with the putter, struggled with that forte for a stretch of holes in the middle of the round and, in the end, that proved the difference.
Deibert recorded a three on the par 4, 4th hole (379 yards) when he poured in a 20-footer from behind the hole. A two-putt birdie from 40 feet on the par 5, 6th (569 yards) hole increased his advantage to 2-up. In fact, Deibert has played the par 5s, 16 times in match play this week. He’s recorded 10 birdies and six pars.
“In match play you have to make a lot of birdies to win,” said Deibert. “Those are birdie holes.”
Two pars, on No. 7 (par 4, 376 yards) and No. 8 (par 4, 419 yards), coupled with a pair of Gillespie mistakes pushed Deibert’s edge to 4-up. Gillespie couldn’t get either of his par putts on those two holes to fall.
However, Gillespie would not go quietly.
He carded a par and two birdies on holes 13-15 to close the deficit to one.
Both made pars on Nos. 16 (par 3, 175 yards) and 17 (par 4, 450 yards) before an errant drive on the final hole by Gillespie (par 4, 400 yards) assured Deibert of his first trip to the final.
“I knew he wasn’t going anywhere,” said Deibert of Gillespie. “I wasn’t going to make bogeys. I knew if he was going to beat he would have to make birdies.”
Added Gillespie, “I was too many down too early. Clint’s too good and too experienced a player. He’s going to be tough to beat.”
Deibert’s opponent will be Maude.
Maude, 22, of Rosemont, Pa., qualified as the No. 5 seed. He has been able to dictate the tempo of his matches the first three days and that’s proven lethal. In fact, Maude has trailed for exactly three holes this week. He trailed for two holes in his first-round match against Bill McGuinness of Tavistock CC and for a hole against Marshalek after the 19-year-old resident of Chester Springs, Pa., the 17th seed, rolled in a 25-foot birdie on the uphill par 3, 5th hole (196 yards). Despite the unfamiliar territoy against Marshalek, Maude did not panic. He recorded a two-putt birdie on No. 6 (par 5, 569 yards) to square the match and then won the next three holes with a bogey and two pars. As Maude continued his consistent tee to green play, frustration seemed to get the better of Marshalek, a junior at Penn State University.
Maude kept at least a 2-up lead the rest of the way before closing the match out with pars on Nos. 14 (par 4, 443 yards) and 15 (par 4, 427 yards).
“If you hit a ton of greens and fairways, you can let you opponent make mistakes and then capitalize on them,” said Maude. “Coming into this tournament I just wanted to make match play and see what happened.”
Said Marshalek, “My putts weren’t falling. I’m excited about my finish, though. I reached every goal I set before the tournament.”
In the quarterfinals:
Marshalek d. Doug Zelner, 1-up … Marshalek rolled in a 12-foot par putt on the 16th hole (par 3, 172 yards) to remain 1-down and then record pars on Nos. 17 and 18 to defeat Doug Zelner, the 24th seed, 1-up. This was the furthest Zelner, 43, of Coatesville CC has been in the Amateur since advancing to the Elite Eight at Aronimink GC in 1994.
Maude d. Dan Walters, 3&2 … Maude opened his match with Dan Walters of Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, the fourth seed, with four victories in the first five holes to cruise to a 3&2 victory. Maude carded three birdies and two pars in that five-hole span. Walters, 20, of Lancaster, Pa., is a senior at Rollins University. He was a semifinalist a year ago.
Deibert d. Doug Schroer, 6&5 …Deibert defeated Doug Schroer of St. Davids GC, the 19th seed, 6&5. Deibert was 4-under par when the match came to its conclusion after the 13th hole. Schroer, 39, of Malvern, Pa., was making only his second appearance in the match play portion of the Amateur Championship. He fell in the first round in 2000.
Gillespie d. Conrad Von Borsig, 1-up … In a grinding match, Gillespie parred the final hole to edge Conrad Von Borsig of Concord CC, 1-up. The match was All Square for the final five holes before Gillespie made a testy four at the 18th hole (par 4, 400 yards) for the victory. Von Borsig, 18, is a recent graduate of Strath Haven High School. The Swarthmore resident is headed to the University of Virginia in the fall.