May 24, 2007

LedgeRock GC’s Lutz birdies final hole for Middle-Amateur title

*Day One results

  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.

  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. 

NameClubRd. 1Rd. 2Total
Chip LutzLedgeRock Golf Club7070140
Chris GallagherPenn Oaks Golf Club6972141
Michael McDermottMerion Golf Club7173144
Brian RothausPhilmont Country Club7173144
James Sullivan, Jr.Huntingdon Valley Country Club7371144
Brian GillespieSt. Davids Golf Club7670146
Dan Pinciotti Jr.Huntingdon Valley Country Club7571146
Jamie SlonisTavistock Country Club7175146
John BrennanSpring Ford Country Club7374147
James DonnellyPhiladelphia Cricket Club7672148
Daniel DelaneyConcord Country Club7573148
Michael MoffatCommonwealth National Golf Club7276148
William LawlerFox Hill Country Club7178149
Thomas GramignaTavistock Country Club7277149
Robert BechtoldFieldstone Golf Club7574149
Drew PanebiancoTalamore at Oak Terrace Country Club7178149
Thomas Bartolacci, Jr.Saucon Valley Country Club7376149
Paul RogowiczYardley Country Club7772149
Matthew FingerRunning Deer Golf Club7575150
G. Patrick DoughertyTalamore at Oak Terrace Country Club7278150
P. Chet WalshPhiladelphia Country Club7773150
Alexander Maguire, Jr.Philadelphia Cricket Club7179150
Mark PetersonPhiladelphia Cricket Club7675151
Thomas HylandLittle Mill Country Club7675151
Oscar L. Mestre, Jr.Overbrook Golf Club7675151
Christopher LangeOverbrook Golf Club7378151
Gregg AngelilloMoselem Springs Golf Club7378151
Geoffrey M. CooperLaurel Creek Country Club7576151
Jeffrey HuntzingerNorth Hills Country Club7378151
Ryan GelrodCommonwealth National Golf Club7378151
Thomas FinnCavaliers Country Club7477151
Bill MurrayMerchantville Country Club7775152
Tom BorselloDuPont Country Club7379152
Warren SmithCavaliers Country Club7676152
James MacallisterManufacturers Golf & Country Club7874152
Robin McCoolSaucon Valley Country Club7578153
Kenneth R. MattCommonwealth National Golf Club7875153
Mike OwsikPlymouth Country Club7776153
Robert de RojasRiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve7380153
Rich ThonThe Springhaven Club7876154
David WestWhitford Country Club7777154
Sean LeonardTavistock Country Club7777154
Eric BuckLancaster Country Club7678154
Rich PruchnikWest Chester Golf & Country Club7579154
Kevin McDermottLlanerch Country Club7679155
David LiottaWhitemarsh Valley Country Club7679155
Scott KleeIndian Valley Country Club7382155
Bill BoyleMetedeconk National Golf Club7877155
Glenn SmeraglioYardley Country Club7878156
Rand MendezFieldstone Golf Club7581156
Robert G DziakSpring Ford Country Club7680156
Eric FonnerHuntingdon Valley Country Club7878156
Chris EsbenshadeMeadia Heights Golf Club7878156
Richard UmaniGolf Course at Glen Mills7681157
David SmithDoylestown Country Club7582157
Andy AchenbachRiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve7781158
Pat CurialeMedford Village Country Club7880158
Jeff DellaFrancoConcord Country Club7682158
John E. SimoneBlue Bell Country Club7782159
Matt JasudowichWhitemarsh Valley Country Club7683159
Jim KelleherLinks Golf Club7584159
Bobby KershnerSpring Ford Country Club7584159
Douglas ZelnerCoatesville Country Club7783160
Michael LaGrassoBurlington Country Club7882160
David ShieldsPhiladelphia Publinks GA7783160
Scott HarringtonMoselem Springs Golf Club7784161
Robert BillingsRolling Green Golf Club7884162
Chris AndersonWilmington Country Club7885163
Michael DomenickPhoenixville Country Club7490164
Scott ChesnaCavaliers Country Club7787164
Matt MangoldTalamore at Oak Terrace Country Club7890168
Rick CusterSpring Ford Country ClubWDWDWD
John MullinsSpring Ford Country ClubWDNCNC
Larry SilkGreate Bay Country Club78NSNS
Douglas D SchroerSt. Davids Golf ClubDQDQDQ
WD-withdrawal; NC-no card; NS-no show; DQ-disqualification

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