BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Persistence made a Brewer Cup rendezvous between Chip Lutz and Robin McCool possible Tuesday. The longtime friends and reigning finalists both overcame deficits en route to quarterfinal victories at Saucon Valley Country Club’s Weyhill Course (par 72, 6,388 yards). Now the two will square off in the semifinals tomorrow at 8 a.m.
Chester Valley Golf Club’s Ed Chylinski and The Ridge Back Brook’s Bert Kosup also advanced Tuesday. Their match will follow at 8:07 a.m.
Lutz and McCool share a special history in the Brewer Cup, which is presented by Callaway Golf this year. Lutz defeated McCool in the semifinals en route to the 2011 title. McCool returned the favor in 2013, ousting Lutz in the Round of 16. Last year, Lutz bested McCool, 4&3, in the Final.
“I seem to run into him a lot in this tournament. It’s another repeat,” Lutz, 60, of Reading, Pa., said. “I’m happy to play Robin because it’ll be a fun match. We’ll enjoy each other’s company. It’s his home course, so he’ll definitely have an advantage.”
“I’ll have my hands full. I can’t make any mistakes,” McCool, 64, of Bethlehem, Pa., added. “There’s a very small amount [of home course advantage] because the greens have been rolled and double-cut. They are particularly fast this week. The hole locations are different. There are a few spots where I never putted from before.”
In the quarterfinals, Lutz trailed Sandy Run Country Club’s Duke Delcher by a three-hole margin with seven on the table. Back-to-back birdies quickly changed things.
Lutz converted a right-to-left bender from eight feet on No. 12 (par 5, 520 yards). Seeing a friendly sidehill lie and an ideal distance on the par 4, 360-yard 13th hole, he lifted a gap wedge 107 yards to five feet. The match moved to All-Square following a Delcher bogey on No. 15 (par 4, 375 yards).
An improbable Lutz birdie on No. 17 (par 4, 365 yards) ultimately decided the outcome. Lutz’s pitching wedge from 120 yards settled atop a ridge on the sprawling complex, some 40 feet from the hole location. He then sunk a sweeper with three feet of right-to-left break.
“I felt good standing over it,” Lutz, the Association’s five-time reigning Senior Player of the Year, said. “It was a perfect line with perfect speed. It caught a thimble.”
Like Lutz, McCool, who holds 11 club championships and four Senior championships at Saucon Valley, trailed Thomas Hyland of Little Mill Country Club by as many as three holes Tuesday. He squared the contest with a downhill birdie on the picturesque par 3, 161-yard 14th hole, where he stopped a 6-iron at 25 feet. A three-putt bogey on No. 15 (par 4, 375 yards) put Hyland back in front, but the resilient McCool, in Lutz-like fashion, responded with a wild 3 on No. 17 (par 4, 365 yards). He knocked a wedge 114 yards to 30 feet right of the flagstick. Hyland and McCool corresponded tee position on No. 18 (par 5, 525 yards). Six inches of sand separated their golf balls in the right fairway bunker. Hyland caught his heavy and faced a yardage of 180 for his third shot. After executing a cleaner extrication, McCool knocked a 9-iron 120 yards to 15 feet and two-putted for par. Hyland missed a 20-footer to match that score.
“I’m very fortunate to advance,” McCool, 64, of Bethlehem, Pa., said. “Because of what the tournament stands for, I look forward to it. When you really look forward to something, you prepare for it and try to compete. I’m a persistent person, so match play suits me well. That’s probably why I’ve done well in match play.”
Persistence is a trait Kosup is noticing a lot during his Brewer Cup debut. He defeated Manufacturers Golf & Country Club’s James Muller, a semifinalist a year ago, 1-up Tuesday.
“I’m very excited to be where I am. Guys don’t quit here,” Kosup, 60, of Flemington, N.J., said. “I had Jim down three on the front and gave him Nos. 9 and 10 right back. Then he made a birdie on me, which I knew was coming at some point. All of a sudden, you have four holes to play and you’re even.”
Kosup altered the even status on No. 17 thanks to a conceded 3 following a safe 7-iron from 153 yards onto the green. Muller deposited his tee shot into an environmentally sensitive area.
Although it isn’t Chylinski’s first Brewer Cup venture, it is the first time he’s reached the semifinal stage. Chylinski did so by defeating 2012 titleholder Thomas Bartolacci, Jr. of Saucon Valley, 2-up, in the quarterfinals.
“Playing against a good player like Tom, that makes it special,” Chylinski, 65, of West Chester, Pa., said. “I’ve been playing very consistent this year and putting decently. Hopefully that’ll last one more day. I’m just really happy to be in it and we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Chylinski points to the par 4, 375-yard 15th hole as the contest’s turning point. He reviewed a 10-footer for birdie before being called off the course due to dangerous weather in the area. Following a 30-minute delay, he returned to examine the putt, only to hear the siren sound once more. Chylinski, after an hour’s worth of evaluation, converted the birdie to move to 2-up.
The Brewer Cup, launched in 2008, is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer Jr., a veteran of 42 USGA Championships and two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion (1994, 1996). He also won Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur titles in 1967 and 1976 as well as the 1997 Senior Amateur Championship, which earned Brewer Player of the Year honors that year. He was inducted into the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Brewer Cup is open to Senior players with a handicap index of 7.0 or less and Super Seniors with an index of 12.0 or less.
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