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51st Senior Amateur: CC of Scranton

Lutz returns with record-breaking Senior Amateur win at CC of Scranton

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CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. – Chip Lutz didn’t just return. He returned only like Chip Lutz, a GAP Senior Champion unlike any others of his time, could.

The LedgeRock Golf Club member marveled at Country Club of Scranton (par 72, 6,652 yards), taking the 51st Senior Amateur Championship. It was his second Senior Amateur win. Lutz, who fired a 1-under 71 Tuesday paired with an opening 4-under 68 in the opening round, finished at 5-under 139 for the week.

At six strokes better than the rest of the 99-player field, he set the margin-of-victory record.

Entering Tuesday, Lutz possessed a two-stroke lead over the home club’s Michael Vassil, a 14-time Scranton Club Champion and 10-time Senior Club Champion.  With a 1:45 p.m. beginning time, the leaders were greeted on the first tee with erratic, gusting winds. That one-stroke Lutz lead split in half after No. 1 (par 4, 402 yards), where his three putt meant bogey 5 to begin. Lutz steadied the ship with a string of six pars after that. His birdie on No. 8 (par 4, 296 yards) was another sigh of relief to get back to level par. On the other hand, Vassil found three bogey blemishes (Nos. 3, 5, 7) at a time when he couldn’t afford to while chasing the LedgeRock legend.

“After making those pars, plus the birdie, I was feeling relatively okay at the turn. Mike and Mark [Bartkowski] weren’t making a huge push on the front. I didn’t really know what anyone else out there was doing at the time,” said Lutz, 66, of Reading, Pa.

The 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur Champion flexed his muscles with a statement-making hot streak on Scranton’s back side. After bogeying Nos. 10 (par 4, 400 yards) and 11 (par 3, 151 yards) on Monday, he really wanted to attack those today. A par on 10 was an improvement, but a 9-iron to 12 feet on the 11th was even better with birdie 2. Next, Lutz decided to take advantage of the upcoming par 5s. On No. 12 (par 5, 483 yards), Lutz found the green complex in two, but still sat 60 feet away. His eagle putt came to rest above the hole, and with confidence, he jarred a challenging six-foot slider for the 4. On the par-5, 535-yard 14th, a 3-wood draw from 300 yards out ran out to 30 feet from the hole. Lutz two putted there to get to 7 under for the championship.

“After that stretch, I didn’t think anybody was really going to be close to me. I was just trying to finish after that,” said Lutz.

With room for error coming down Scranton’s final test holes, Lutz played it conservatively. Short par putts on both Nos. 17 (par 3, 218 yards) and 18 (par 5, 503 yards) didn’t fall. And it didn’t matter.

“I putted really well all week. Unfortunately, I did stumble coming in there, but I don’t want to dwell on that too much,” said Lutz. “This really is an amazing venue. [Vassil] was gracious enough to show me the course on Friday before the event here so that was a big help to get some insight and take some notes. It’s really a shot maker’s club. You really have to navigate yourself around the course.”

The nine-time GAP Senior Player of the Year Award winner (2010-18) last grasped the GAP Senior Amateur trophy in 2014. It’s a title he’s more than welcome to invite back into his crowded and decorated trophy case – one that includes three British Senior Amateur Championships, two Canadian Men’s Senior Championships and the aforementioned U.S. Senior Amateur title. All of that — plus countless other achievements — resulted in a 2015 National Senior Amateur Hall of Fame induction.

But all the national success and thousands of miles traveled around the globe caught up to Lutz two seasons ago. That’s the reason you haven’t seen his famed name among many tee sheets lately.

“I guess you never know whether you still have it or not, and there’s always that doubt. I took some time off from the game. It was just one of those things, ‘Do I want to give it up? Do I want to continue?,’ so I had to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going,” said Lutz. “I still really haven’t solved that question completely, but it sure is good to be back.”

Some answers to that solution surfaced two weeks ago in the U.S. Senior Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.) where Lutz reached the Quarterfinals as the No. 2 overall seed.

“I did work on my game leading up to the U.S. Senior Amateur because it’s always something I want to do well in. That was important to me, and although I didn’t go the distance, there’s no doubt that was helpful in preparation for this week’s event,” said Lutz, who is exempt into the #USSeniorAm via his 2015 victory.

“GAP is my home.”

Chip Lutz

Joining him in Detroit was Chris Fieger, Sr. of Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association, who finished as runner-up this week at CC of Scranton. Fieger, the two-time reigning Senior Amateur Champion, entered the day five back of the eventual winner.

 “If you try to get a little aggressive with this golf course, you’re going to hit it over some greens and then you’re going to be dead. And then I had two three putts today, but I had four yesterday. So if you’re going to catch a player like Chip, you can’t have that many three putts,” said Fieger, 58, of Denver, Pa., who finished at 1-over this week. “But Chip’s record speaks for itself. He’s such a great player and also humble. I’ve never played with him so one of these days we’re going to end up getting paired together.”

Although Lutz may have some questions that still remain regarding how much competitive golf he wants to entertain, there remain no questions about his GAP legacy, especially with his record-setting performance in this week’s storybook return.

 “This is my first individual victory in a few years. It’s just great to be back in the winner’s circle, especially here in GAP, where I haven’t participated for a couple years, so I’m thrilled,” said Lutz. “GAP is my home.”

NOTE: The Senior Silver Cross Award was Tuesday’s second trophy awarded. Entering the day with a three-stroke lead over the field, Jeff Hudson of Olde Homestead Golf Club carded a 4-over 76 Tuesday to secure the season-long award. He finished at 7-over 291 for that title, which is given to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross), Frank H. Chapman Cup (Gross) and Senior Amateur Championship.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name, clubR1-R2–Total
Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club68-71–139
Chris Fieger, Sr., Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association73-72–145
Art Brunn, Wyoming Valley Country Club75-72–147
Michael Anderson, Philadelphia Cricket Club74-74–148
Jeff Hudson, Olde Homestead Golf Club74-76–150
Kevin Kelly, Philadelphia Cricket Club74-76–150
Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club76-75–151
Mark Bartkowski, Pocono Farms Country Club72-79–151
Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton70-81–151
Norman Lewis, Pine Valley Golf Club77-75–152
Joe Roeder, Merion Golf Club77-75–152
Joseph Weiscarger, Wyoming Valley Country Club74-78–152
Perry Landis, Moselem Springs Golf Club75-78–153
Rich Pruchnik, Downingtown Country Club75-78–153
Bob Ruby, Bon Air Country Club75-78–153
Michael Tash, Stone Harbor Golf Club77-76–153
Jeff Frazier, Carlisle Country Club74-79–153
Don Dimoff, Bon Air Country Club79-76–155
Bob Beck, Lehigh Country Club78-78–156
John Lupica, Lookaway Golf Club76-80–156
John Barry, Lancaster Country Club78-79–157
Paul Rogowicz, Yardley Country Club75-83–158
David Blichar, Olde Homestead Golf Club82-76–158
Craig Kliewer, Lebanon Country Club79-79–158
P. Chet Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club80-78–158
Bill Charpek, Merion Golf Club75-83–158
Matt Cuddy, Huntsville Golf Club78-80–158
Tim Hinton, Elmhurst Country Club82-77–159
Adam Armagost, Little Mill Country Club76-83–159
Tim Burns, Country Club of Scranton74-85–159
Denis Darragh, Olde Homestead Golf Club74-85–159
Bob Gill, Fox Hill Country Club79-81–160
Tom Soares, Lehigh Country Club83-77–160
Joe Coulson, Wedgewood Golf Club82-78–160
Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club78-82–160
Ed Kahn, Little Mill Country Club77-83–160
Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf Club78-82–160
Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton85-76–161
Paul Swanson, Mountain View Country Club82-79–161
Joseph Russo, Running Deer Golf Club78-83–161
Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club78-83–161
Barry Cahill, Radley Run Country Club79-82–161
Mark Choi, Saucon Valley Country Club78-83–161
Mark Hutchinson, Lookaway Golf Club81-81–162
Bob Andrejko, StoneHedge Golf Assn.80-82–162
Kenneth Bolcavage, Elkview Country Club79-83–162
Michael Brown, Country Club of Scranton80-83–163
Brad Jankowski, Little Mill Country Club81-82–163
Russ Ball, Gulph Mills Golf Club82-81–163
James Bell, III, Makefield Highlands Golf Club82-81–163
Rick Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club80-83–163
Brian Trymbiski, Doylestown Country Club80-83–163
Jeff Wiedecke , Shawnee Country Club82-82–164
Paul Hess, Hartefeld National85-79–164
Bob Loftus, Overbrook Golf Club82-83–165
J.R. Cattoni, Huntsville Golf Club83-82–165
George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club81-84–165
Andrew Speaker, Jericho National Golf Club84-81–165
Jeffrey Allen, Loch Nairn Golf Club84-82–166
Bruce Hooper, Jack Frost National Golf Club80-86–166
David Folkes, Metedeconk National Golf Club86-81–167
William Brown, Country Club of Scranton81-86–167
Kenneth Nestor, Sr., Country Club of Scranton85-82–167
Andrew Sterge, Applebrook Golf Club82-85–167
Scott McIntosh, LuLu Country Club82-85–167
Kevin Sartell, Loch Nairn Golf Club85-83–168
Carlos Ochoa, Little Mill Country Club82-86–168
Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club81-87–168
Paul Leddy, Seaview Country Club88-81–169
Barry Westington, Scranton Canoe Club83-86–169
Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club82-88–170
Don Uhrig, LedgeRock Golf Club84-87–171
David Strohl, Olde Homestead Golf Club80-91–171
John Gosselin, Aronimink Golf Club86-86–172
Jerry Dougherty, Scranton Canoe Club85-87–172
Mark Occhipinti, Country Club of Scranton87-86–173
Dominic Carr, Olde Homestead Golf Club84-89–173
Richard Holstein, Rolling Green Golf Club85-89–174
Fran Hamm, Country Club of Scranton86-88–174
Stephen O’Sullivan, Philadelphia Cricket Club87-88–175
Jerry Shanahan, Radley Run Country Club84-91–175
Kevin Treese, Mountain View Country Club85-90–175
James Gross, Glenmaura National Golf Club83-93–176
Kevin Wall, Old York Road Country Club85-91–176
Mike Cavanaugh, Jericho National Golf Club92-87–179
Andy Dietz, Laurel Creek Country Club88-91–179
Jim Lanzalotto, Llanerch Country Club88-93–181
Andy McCormick, Rolling Green Golf Club92-91–183
Michael Decker, Old York CC at Chesterfield87-97–184
Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf ClubWD
Michael Quinn, Philadelphia Publinks Golf AssociationWD
John Luca, Philadelphia Publinks Golf AssociationWD
Patrick O’Brien, North Hills Country ClubWD
John Robinson, LuLu Country ClubWD
Andy Lykon, Wedgewood Golf ClubWD
John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf ClubWD
Glenn Smeraglio, LuLu Country ClubWD
Joe Jasinski, Steel ClubWD
Mark Cubberley, Mercer Oaks Golf CourseWD
WD-withdrawal

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.