VILLANOVA, Pa.-Craig Kliewer of Honeybrook Golf Club said he’s struggled to belong when it comes to competitive golf and his place in it.| History |
Match play bracket |
Photo gallery |
Seniors: Day Two Recap |
WVCC’s Polizzi ends Donatoni’s Super-Senior reign | Day One results |
He likely erased those doubts for good in the ninth Brewer Cup presented by Callaway Golf at Overbrook Golf Club by defeating a pair of future GAP Hall of Famers on back-to-back days. In the Senior Division, Kliewer first survived a 6-for-1 playoff on Monday to advance to match play, eliminating six-time reigning Senior Player of the Year Chip Lutz of LedgeRock Golf Club with a par on the fourth playoff hole. He earned the last seed (No. 16).
Less than 24 hours later, Kliewer faced No. 1 seed, co-medalist and six-time Overbrook club champion Chris Lange in a Round of 16 match. No player held more than a 1-up advantage the entire contest with Kliewer grabbing the lead for good on No. 16 (par 4, 393 yards) thanks to a birdie after hitting a 9-iron, downwind, from 150 yards to five feet. Kliewer would make a clutch four-footer on No. 18 (par 4, 389 yards) to secure the victory over the 10-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Major winner.
“I’ve always strived my whole life to belong,” said Kliewer, 56, of Ephrata, Pa. “I really didn’t learn to play good golf until I was 45 years old. The last 11 years I’ve played wonderful golf because mentally [I’ve had] the confidence [to say] ‘I belong here.’ It’s a great thing to have [confidence]. You are playing some of the best guys in the Philadelphia area. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Kliewer’s dream ride ended in another tense decision in the quarterfinals. He fell to Michael Vassil of the Country Club of Scranton, 1-up, three putting the final hole from 75 feet. The match, like the previous one, was never more than a one-hole difference. Vassil got up-and-down from the left greenside bunker, approximately a 20-yard third shot and four-foot par putt, for the win.
“Mike made the shots when he had to. That bunker shot on 18 was just fantastic,” said Kliewer. “He earned it. It was just fun to be out there.”
Since finding the belief from within, Kliewer’s been on a bit of a roll. He’s won nine total club championships at Meadia Heights Golf Club, five Amateur and four Senior, between 2006 and 2014, the year he left the club. He’s currently the reigning Lebanon Country Club Senior Champion. And has a chance at the Amateur title this weekend. He’s still looking for a GAP breakout victory.
“I come out here to play to win. I’m a competitor,” said Kliewer. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. I would love to play well enough to be selected to the end of the year [Senior Challenge Matches] team.”
Even if that selection doesn’t come in 2016, Kliewer seems fast-tracked to be a Senior staple for the forseeable future.
“Every little success keeps bringing me up that mountain a little.”
Though, this week, they were big leaps.
Joseph Lewis of Aronimink Golf Club was one of the freshest faces to make match play in the Senior Division. The rookie turned of age, 55, last September.
A four-year varsity player and two-time captain at St. Joseph’s University back in the day, Lewis has been preparing for this season since last summer.
“This is my first year as a senior, so I’m a little bit reinvigorated,” said Lewis of Newtown Square, Pa. “I was hoping to be competitive here. I’ve been trying to hone my game the last year and get it into tournament shape.”
Lewis qualified for match play as the 11th seed after posting a 5-over 75 on Monday.
He drew fellow Senior newcomer John LeBoeuf of Philadelphia Country Club in the Round of 16.
Three down with four holes to go, Lewis forced the match to No. 18 (par 4, 389 yards) before LeBoeuf drained a par putt to seal a 2-up victory.
With family and work obligations – he’s a cardiologist at Chester County Hospital – in order, Lewis is looking to tee it up competitively a few more times this season. He cited both the Pennsylvania Golf Association and Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Amateurs as future opportunities.
“I have a little more time now,” said Lewis. “I know there are a lot of good players out here but I feel I have the game to compete.”
Lewis’ track record tells you he can play.
He finished as runner-up in the 1977 PIAA Championships.
The winner that year: former Overbrook Golf Club pro and current MGOLF Driving Range and Learning Center teacher, Stu Ingraham.
As previously mentioned, Lange’s Brewer Cup fairytale ended rather abruptly on Tuesday at the place he’s called home for 55 years. The Overbrook legend returned to the Senior ranks for the first time in more than 12 months, and fresh off a December knee surgery, by sharing co-medalist honors in Monday’s qualifier. He and Roc Irey of Lookaway Golf Club both carded even-par 70s. Lange birdied four of his final six holes to shoot up the leaderboard.
A new day brought new challenges and as golf goes, Lange’s dream scenario ended when Kliewer defeated the 10-time Association Major Champion, 1-up.
Lange three-putted from 60 feet when his approach stopped in the neck of the green. A two-putt would have forced an extra hole. He missed the green after his drive found the rough. A theme he cited.
“You have to play the ball from the fairway here. I was in the rough too much,” said Lange, 61, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “You play golf [and] you are going to lose sometimes.”
Lange, though disappointed, was glad to be back in the fray.
“Yeah, it was fun. It was nice being here at Overbrook,” said Lange. “Yesterday gave me a little bit of confidence that I can play a little bit.”
Lange’s abilities have never been questioned. He’s a future Golf Association of Philadelphia Hall of Famer with 10 Major tournament victories: Three Amateurs (1984, 1993-94); three Patterson Cups (1989, 1994, 1999); two Middle-Amateurs (1995-96); one Open (2004) and one Senior Amateur (2010). He also won the 1994 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year.
What’s next for Lange is a bit uncertain. He’s focused on being a grandfather of three with a fourth (his son Chris, Jr.) coming in the next month.
However, Lange mentioned he would compete in the Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Amateur Championship at White Manor Country Club in September and the upcoming U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier.
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.
August 25, 2023
March 29, 2023
December 5, 2023
December 4, 2023
December 1, 2023
November 30, 2023
November 27, 2023
November 22, 2023
November 21, 2023
November 21, 2023
November 17, 2023
November 17, 2023
November 15, 2023
November 14, 2023
November 9, 2023
November 9, 2023
November 7, 2023
October 30, 2023
October 30, 2023
October 26, 2023
October 25, 2023