HORSHAM, PA (May 24, 2006) -- Chris Lange of Overbrook GC seized another piece of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s history today, becoming the first individual to capture consecutive Middle-Amateur Championship titles in the tournament’s 23 years. Lange finished at 7-over-par 148 for the 36 holes after posting a final round 77 at a very difficult Commonwealth National GC (par 71, 6,977 yards).
Lange dueled with Chip Lutz of LedgeRock Golf Club throughout and Mike Danner of Lu Lu CC early before finishing a shot better than the field. The victory adds a second Middle-Amateur Championship trophy to Lange’s GAP title collection, a compilation that already includes three Amateur Championship crowns, three Patterson Cup wins and a 2004 Philadelphia Open Championship.
"Jay Sigel’s the greatest Amateur to ever play, I’m not in his boat, or William Hyndman, III’s or a number of other great Philadelphia amateurs," said Lange, 51, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., of his place in GAP history. "I’m just happy I’ve been able to play as long as I have."
Lutz, the 1998 Mid-Am winner, pulled even with the defending champion after a sensation birdie on No. 12 (par 3, 175 yards), but Lange answered with his own two on the lengthy, over the water three par, to retake the lead for good.
Lange and Lutz both finished the demanding final six holes in 4-over par.
"I knew I would have to have a pretty special round today [to defeat Chris]. At least I figured I did," said Lutz, 51, of Reading, Pa., who played Junior golf with Lange. "I saw him back up a little bit at the turn and then I started missing some putts. I missed three putts down the stretch which was unsettling because I’d been very steady with my putter the last two days."
Lutz missed short par putts on No. 13 (par 4, 463 yards), a four-foot downhill slider; No. 16 (par 3, 193 yards), a three-footer he pulled left; and No. 18 (par 4, 456 yards), a three-footer he pushed right.
"I wasn’t right in my gut," said Lutz. "It was a little more unsettling than I had been in the rest of the round. I knew I had to play well and I was trying but it just wasn’t happening."
Lange had his own troubles in various ways.
He three putted No. 13 after running his lengthy downhill attempt past the hole. On No. 14 (par 4, 433 yards) he blocked his drive into the right tree line that resulted in another bogey and on No. 15 (par 4, 420 yards) his approach just trickled off into the left greenside rough. However, staring at a straight downhill chip on a speedy green, Lange ran it 20 feet past. He then two putted for bogey. Thinking he needed a par for the title on the difficult No. 18 (par 4, 456 yards), Lange made a poor swing on his second shot and bogeyed that hole as well. Not knowing, a round of applause proved it didn’t matter.
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.
This is the first full scoring event toward the William Hyndman, III Player of the Year standings.
For complete results, click on the tournament link above.