ELVERSON, Pa. – The 24th Middle-Amateur Championship, in essence, sifted down to a 36-hole tussle between Chris Gallagher of Penn Oaks GC and Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC. The pair played each of the two days together at Stonewall (par 70, 6,675 yards, North Course), and like all memorable duels, the outcome remained in doubt to the very end.
*Day One results | FINAL RD. VIDEO
The final chapter, written on the closing 18th hole (par 5, 522 yards), witnessed Lutz getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker for birdie to seal his second Middle-Amateur Championship title. Lutz also took the 1998 Mid-Am. when the tournament was still a one-day, 18-hole event. Today, it’s a two-day, 36-hole competition.
When the dust settled, Lutz, 52, of Reading, Pa., earned the crystal trophy with a second straight 70 to finish at even par. Gallagher, the first-round leader after a 1-under 69 yesterday, posted a 2-over-par 72 to finish a shot back. Michael McDermott of Merion GC, Brian Rothaus of Philmont CC and James Sullivan, Jr. of Huntingdon Valley CC tied for third place at 4-over par.
Conditions again were magnificent, sunny with a touch of a breeze on the links style layout.
“This gave me a chance to avenge the loss from last year,” said Lutz, who fell to Chris Lange by a stroke in the 2006 Mid-Am. “Last year I missed a putt on No. 18 to lose. This time I executed a sand shot. I was thrilled with the ability to close it out.”
Lutz made the winning sand save after he knocked his 18-degree rescue wood from 256 yards into the right bunker in two. Gallagher, who saw his attempt to reach the 18th green for an eagle try fall short into the front bunker, played first and made a smooth play to about eight feet. Lutz followed by knocking his wedge to four feet. Gallagher missed. Lutz did not.
“I hit a really good shot, it’s tough to get it back to the hole,” said Gallagher, 25, of West Chester, Pa. “It was a tough right to left putt and I didn’t hit it hard enough. I knew I had to make it because he wasn’t going to miss.”
The two exchanged blows for most of the afternoon, although it didn’t look like that from the start.
Gallagher opened up a four-shot advantage with birdies on Nos. 2 (par 3, 210 yards) and 3 (par 5, 498 yards). In that same span, Lutz carded an almost fatal double-bogey on the second hole when his drive landed near the right cart path and a three-putt ensued.
However, Lutz regained his composure with birdies on No. 5 (par 4, 414 yards) and No. 8 (par 5, 550 yards). On the eighth, he knocked a wedge from 60 yards to five feet. He made the turn at 1-under par (he also birdied the first hole). In that time frame, Gallagher struggled with his tee ball and with a Lob Wedge in hand from 80 yards on No. 8 overshot the green.
Gallagher made an unconscious up-and-down from the left greenside bunker on No. 10 (par 4, 353 yards) to stay one stroke ahead, but blew his drive right on No. 11 (par 4, 414 yards) and was forced to pitch out from behind some imposing fescue. Lutz parred the 11th to tie for the lead.
Lutz finally moved in front on the treacherous par 3, 13th (222 yards) with a par and a Gallagher bogey but Gallagher came right back on No. 15 (par 4, 382 yards) with a nice 15-foot birdie to force a tie.
The two were up and down again with Gallagher bogeying No. 16 (par 4, 478 yards) after going long and Lutz three-putting No. 17 (par 3, 211 yards).
They started the 18th hole at 1-over par on the scoreboard, three shots clear of anyone else.
“I knew he wasn’t going to hand me anything,” said Gallagher. “I knew I had to earn it. I thought I had to shoot 68 to be comfortable.”
Lange of Overbrook GC, the two-time defending champion coming into the event, finished in a tie for 23rd place at 11-over par.
The Middle-Amateur is for players 25 years of age and older.
The GAP Middle-Amateur started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Am as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am, but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.
The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Mid-Am was for players 30 years of age and older. That Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA’s guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. The field begins with 132 players. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower.
|Name||Club||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Total|
|Chip Lutz||LedgeRock Golf Club||70||70||140|
|Chris Gallagher||Penn Oaks Golf Club||69||72||141|
|Michael McDermott||Merion Golf Club||71||73||144|
|Brian Rothaus||Philmont Country Club||71||73||144|
|James Sullivan, Jr.||Huntingdon Valley Country Club||73||71||144|
|Brian Gillespie||St. Davids Golf Club||76||70||146|
|Dan Pinciotti Jr.||Huntingdon Valley Country Club||75||71||146|
|Jamie Slonis||Tavistock Country Club||71||75||146|
|John Brennan||Spring Ford Country Club||73||74||147|
|James Donnelly||Philadelphia Cricket Club||76||72||148|
|Daniel Delaney||Concord Country Club||75||73||148|
|Michael Moffat||Commonwealth National Golf Club||72||76||148|
|William Lawler||Fox Hill Country Club||71||78||149|
|Thomas Gramigna||Tavistock Country Club||72||77||149|
|Robert Bechtold||Fieldstone Golf Club||75||74||149|
|Drew Panebianco||Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club||71||78||149|
|Thomas Bartolacci, Jr.||Saucon Valley Country Club||73||76||149|
|Paul Rogowicz||Yardley Country Club||77||72||149|
|Matthew Finger||Running Deer Golf Club||75||75||150|
|G. Patrick Dougherty||Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club||72||78||150|
|P. Chet Walsh||Philadelphia Country Club||77||73||150|
|Alexander Maguire, Jr.||Philadelphia Cricket Club||71||79||150|
|Mark Peterson||Philadelphia Cricket Club||76||75||151|
|Thomas Hyland||Little Mill Country Club||76||75||151|
|Oscar L. Mestre, Jr.||Overbrook Golf Club||76||75||151|
|Christopher Lange||Overbrook Golf Club||73||78||151|
|Gregg Angelillo||Moselem Springs Golf Club||73||78||151|
|Geoffrey M. Cooper||Laurel Creek Country Club||75||76||151|
|Jeffrey Huntzinger||North Hills Country Club||73||78||151|
|Ryan Gelrod||Commonwealth National Golf Club||73||78||151|
|Thomas Finn||Cavaliers Country Club||74||77||151|
|Bill Murray||Merchantville Country Club||77||75||152|
|Tom Borsello||DuPont Country Club||73||79||152|
|Warren Smith||Cavaliers Country Club||76||76||152|
|James Macallister||Manufacturers Golf & Country Club||78||74||152|
|Robin McCool||Saucon Valley Country Club||75||78||153|
|Kenneth R. Matt||Commonwealth National Golf Club||78||75||153|
|Mike Owsik||Plymouth Country Club||77||76||153|
|Robert de Rojas||RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve||73||80||153|
|Rich Thon||The Springhaven Club||78||76||154|
|David West||Whitford Country Club||77||77||154|
|Sean Leonard||Tavistock Country Club||77||77||154|
|Eric Buck||Lancaster Country Club||76||78||154|
|Rich Pruchnik||West Chester Golf & Country Club||75||79||154|
|Kevin McDermott||Llanerch Country Club||76||79||155|
|David Liotta||Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||76||79||155|
|Scott Klee||Indian Valley Country Club||73||82||155|
|Bill Boyle||Metedeconk National Golf Club||78||77||155|
|Glenn Smeraglio||Yardley Country Club||78||78||156|
|Rand Mendez||Fieldstone Golf Club||75||81||156|
|Robert G Dziak||Spring Ford Country Club||76||80||156|
|Eric Fonner||Huntingdon Valley Country Club||78||78||156|
|Chris Esbenshade||Meadia Heights Golf Club||78||78||156|
|Richard Umani||Golf Course at Glen Mills||76||81||157|
|David Smith||Doylestown Country Club||75||82||157|
|Andy Achenbach||RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve||77||81||158|
|Pat Curiale||Medford Village Country Club||78||80||158|
|Jeff DellaFranco||Concord Country Club||76||82||158|
|John E. Simone||Blue Bell Country Club||77||82||159|
|Matt Jasudowich||Whitemarsh Valley Country Club||76||83||159|
|Jim Kelleher||Links Golf Club||75||84||159|
|Bobby Kershner||Spring Ford Country Club||75||84||159|
|Douglas Zelner||Coatesville Country Club||77||83||160|
|Michael LaGrasso||Burlington Country Club||78||82||160|
|David Shields||Philadelphia Publinks GA||77||83||160|
|Scott Harrington||Moselem Springs Golf Club||77||84||161|
|Robert Billings||Rolling Green Golf Club||78||84||162|
|Chris Anderson||Wilmington Country Club||78||85||163|
|Michael Domenick||Phoenixville Country Club||74||90||164|
|Scott Chesna||Cavaliers Country Club||77||87||164|
|Matt Mangold||Talamore at Oak Terrace Country Club||78||90||168|
|Rick Custer||Spring Ford Country Club||WD||WD||WD|
|John Mullins||Spring Ford Country Club||WD||NC||NC|
|Larry Silk||Greate Bay Country Club||78||NS||NS|
|Douglas D Schroer||St. Davids Golf Club||DQ||DQ||DQ|
|WD-withdrawal; NC-no card; NS-no show; DQ-disqualification|