Lange’s opening round of 1-under-par 69 was one of six scores under par out of the 134 contestants before the cut for the final round.
Lange rode a tournament-leading 10 birdies to share second place alongside first round leader Stephen Dressel of St. Davids Golf Club and Jeff Osberg of Huntingdon Valley Country Club for his best finish in a GAP tournament.
Lange started off the day by birdieing two of his first six holes. His first came on the 538-yard, par-5 fifth and his second came on the 445-yard, par-4 sixth. Lange, Jr. drained two putts outside of 20 feet to get his sixth and seventh birdies of the tournament.
“I played No. 5 safe again and made a long putt,” said Lange. “I probably could have gotten there in two, but decided not to. I hit a 5-iron and then a gap wedge from 120 yards onto the green and made a pretty long putt. On No. 6, I hit what I thought was a good second shot; it spun a little bit off the green and then I made a long putt from just off the green from the fringe. That was good. I had a lot of momentum and then a six happened.”
Lange is referring to a double-bogey six he made on the par-4, 417-yard eighth after his tee shot found a deep, short divot. He had a hard time trying to get the club under the ball.
“Normal divots are fine to try and pick, but this thing was under the ground,” said Lange about his lie in the fairway on the sixth. “If I had to do it over again, I might have hit an 8-iron or something that actually could have gotten into the air and try to get up-and-down from the left side. But, I thought maybe I could muscle a 5-iron. But, it was an uphill lie so I was never going to be able to hit that punch shot. It was probably a stupid decision, it was tough to accept after hitting a perfect drive, but that’s what I had.”
Lange didn’t card a bogey in his final round but made another double on the short 253-yard, drivable par-4 13th. After hitting into the right greenside bunker, Lange said he should have taken his medicine when short-sided.
“It’s a throw-away hole,” said Lange. “Whenever we play that hole, it’s an easy birdie. I just said to myself, the theme for the week, was to stay present and not worry about the future and not dwell on the past. I went with that mantra and was able to make birdie on the next hole, which was good for my mojo, because that was a bad, bad double on No. 13.”?
Lange would birdie his next two holes, the 318-yard, par-4 14th and the 173-yard, par-3 15th to get back to 1 under on the day. He played the remaining three holes in even par to come into the clubhouse at 2-under-par and fall two shots behind champion Ben Feld.
“I wanted to win this week, but I didn’t want to press,” said Lange on the pressures of playing a Major at his home club. “I wanted to it come to me and I know I can shoot in the high 60s here consistently. I didn’t want to make playing at my home course bigger than it was. I felt a little bit of added pressure on the first day but today I didn’t.”
There was a family contingent out there supporting Lange. His uncle Frank McFadden, the winner of the 1997 GAP Middle-Amateur, the only other time Overbrook hosted the event, was following along after just recovering from surgery.
While he fell short of his ultimate goal, the outcome and the support he received left him pleased.
“I am proud and I was so glad to be out here and see all of my friends and family,” said Lange. “We have an extended family here at Overbrook and we are very lucky. The guys play golf and the women go to the pool, then we hang out at night so the McFadden’s and the Lange’s have a tight-knit group.”
Lange, Jr.’s father, Chris Lange, Sr., is the only person in Middle-Amateur history to win back-to-back titles (2005-06).
After the round, Lange, Jr. was reflective of his relationship with his father and what playing in the tournament at their home club together meant to him.
“My dad has done it all,” Lange, Jr. said about his father, who was the best man at his wedding. “He is my best friend and he has had a major influence on my life. It is fun playing in these events with my dad because we don’t know how many years we have left and sharing the moment after the first round where he shot 71 and I shot 69 was very special.”
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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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 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.