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Pennsylvania Amateur: bricker beats heat and field

FLEETWOOD, PA (August 3, 2006) -– Chad Bricker of Waynesboro CC didn’t let the sweltering heat or an occasional wayward shot alter his frame of mind. Bricker, who entered Wednesday’s final round of the 93rd Amateur Championship at Moselem Springs GC (par 70, 6,824 yards) as the co-leader, kept his cool, per se, hitting mainly irons off tees and making clutch up-and-downs to finish at 2-under par (208) for the 54 holes and earning the title of Pennsylvania State Champion. Bricker, a sophomore to-be at Penn State University, was the only competitor in the 132-player field (the field was cut to the low 40 players and ties after Round 2 with 46 players advancing) to finish the three rounds in red figures. Kyle Davis of Inniscrone GC and Chris Schultz of Fox Chase GC tied for second place at even par (210).

“I talked to a reporter last week and he asked me the same question, ‘What my goal was this week,’ ” said Bricker, 19, of Waynesboro, Pa. “I said I wanted to win just like everyone else. This feels awesome.”

Bricker is the first Waynesboro CC member to earn the Amateur Championship trophy.

The soft-spoken right-hander executed a flawless game plan the entire three days.

Not looking to put himself in trouble, he left his driver in the bag for the vast majority of each round. In fact, in the final 18 holes he hit it only three times. He almost never panicked when a bounce or two didn’t go his way.

En route to the title, Bricker made keys par saves on No. 10 (par 4, 307 yards), No. 12 (par 5, 515 yards) and No. 13 (par 3, 224 yards). His final round scorecard included a pair of birdies and bogeys for an even-par 70.

“I couple of times I lost [my focus] today, but I was able to get it back,” said Bricker. “I kept setting new goals for myself [throughout the round.]”

As the intense heat built-up throughout the day, Bricker and Schultz managed to separate themselves from the pack. Schultz, in the second to last pairing of the day, and in the group ahead of Bricker, moved to 2-under par and into a tie for the lead with a fantastic three on the difficult and treacherous par 4, 442-yard 14th. Schultz hit a 5-iron from 176 yards to 12 feet left of the hole and made the putt.

However, after missing a birdie opportunity on No. 16 (par 4, 412 yards), he stubbed his toe on the final two holes and recorded a pair of bogeys. On the 17th (par 4, 412 yards), he three putted from 50-plus feet after his approach, which looked perfect from the fairway, caught the slope of the green and ran away from the hole. On the scenic, downhill 18th (par 4, 456 yards), his second shot landed long and left and in a slight depression in the ground. He failed to get up and down.

“This was excellent,” said Schultz, 34, of Shillington, Pa. “I had no expectations coming in here.”

Davis, 20, of Kennett Square, Pa., will be a sophomore at the University of Central Florida. He is also the reigning Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Champion and was looking for a second piece of championship crystal.

However, Davis, usually Mr. Reliable with the putter, couldn’t get the ball into the hole today or in any of his other two rounds. He recorded 30 final-round putts and a shocking 93 over the three days.

“I had no birdies today. I couldn’t get anything going,” said Davis. “My hat is off to Chad, he played well all day. I thought I needed a 68 to win.”

Davis, who shared lead with Bricker after two rounds, with finished with a 1-over par 71.

Bricker can thank his cool head on the three aforementioned holes as the key to the tournament.

On the 10th, after a poor drive, he managed to cut his 6-iron approach shot into the wind from 175 yards out and land it 15 feet from the hole. He made par. On the 12th, another bad drive saw him land in the right tree line. But Bricker punched out, landed his 6-iron some 10 feet from the cup and two putted for another par. Then, after his 4-iron landed just over the front bunker on the 13th, he got up-and-down for three and another par.

“After that shot on No. 10 I knew things were going my way,” said Bricker. “I had to stay focused from there.”

It was that focus that earned him the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s state title.

For complete results, click on th tournament link above.

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