EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Randal Lewis, 58, of Alma, Mich., the stroke-play medalist, captured a pair of matches on Tuesday to earn a berth in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at the par-71, 6,864-yard Hidden Creek Golf Club.
Lewis, the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, took his first lead in the Round-of-16 match with Bill Leonard, of Dallas, by parring the 15th hole, and retained his lead when Leonard missed a 5-foot birdie try on the par-5 17th hole. Lewis’ par on No. 18 sealed his 1-up victory, eliminating Leonard, 66, the championship’s oldest remaining player.
Leonard, who was a semifinalist in the 2006 U.S. Senior Amateur at Victoria National in Newburgh, Ind., lamented his three-putt on No. 15 that squared the match.
“I had the same putt this morning and left it short, so I have no excuses,” said Leonard, a two-time Georgia Senior Player of the Year. “He’s a good player and he deserved to win.”
“Hopefully I’ll continue to play well and see what happens,” said Lewis, who reached the semifinals of this championship last year at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. “Every match is a new beginning.”
Lewis, who prevailed in 20 holes over No. 64 seed Lee Sandlin on Monday in his opening match, defeated Jack Kearney, 3 and 2, in the Round of 32 on Tuesday morning. He will square off against No. 8 seed Chip Lutz, of Reading, Pa., in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.
Lutz, 60, who has reached the semifinals in this championship three times, most recently in 2013, defeated Kenneth Coutant, 3 and 2, on Tuesday morning before eliminating 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur finalist Curtis Skinner, 2 up, in the afternoon. Lutz sealed the victory over Skinner by converting an 18-foot birdie putt on the final green.
“It really came down to the back nine,” said Lutz, who has won two Canadian Senior Amateur Championships and two Seniors Amateur Championships, winning both in 2011 and 2012. “I hit the ball solidly and put myself in position to end the match a lot earlier, but, unfortunately, I missed a lot of 5-footers, which is just disappointing. But it was really great to make that putt on the last hole, so that’s something that will bring me back tomorrow.”
Tim Jackson, a two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, posted a 2-up victory over Earl Ingarfield in the morning before rolling to a 5-and-4 win over David Pulk in the afternoon. The two-time Walker Cup player earned the No. 4 seed in stroke-play qualifying.
Jackson, 56, of Germantown, Tenn., will face Gary Robinson, 56, of Fayetteville, N.C., the No. 5 seed, on Wednesday. Robinson outlasted fellow Carolinas Golf Association player Rick Cloninger, of Fort Mill, S.C., in 20 holes in the Round of 16. Cloninger was a semifinalist in the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur championship at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif.
Tom Brandes, 59, of Bellevue, Wash., eliminated two-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion Paul Simson, 1 up, on Tuesday morning, then rallied from 2 down to win Nos. 15-17 and earn a 1-up victory over Jack Hall, of Savannah, Ga.
“Everyone knows what kind of a player Paul [Simson] is,” said Brandes, the No. 10 seed. “It came down to the last hole and it was a great match. This afternoon, I made a solid par on No. 16, which was playing very difficult today, to even the match.”
Brandes had a two-putt birdie on the par-5 17th hole, then made a short par putt to close out Hall after his opponent had knocked in his own par-saving putt on No. 18.
“I was really running out of gas,” admitted Brandes, a four-time Washington Senior Amateur champion. “I got to the Sweet 16 in this championship last year, so it’s nice to advance one more.”
Brandes will square off against No. 63 seed Patrick Murphy, 57, of Provo, Utah, who earned a pair of 2-and-1 victories, over Randy Reifers in the morning and Peter Wegmann in the afternoon.
The final quarterfinal match features a pair of players who are competing in their first U.S. Senior Amateur. Kevin Cahill, 55, of Waukesha, Wis., the No. 46 seed, birdied the 18th hole to defeat Brian Rothaus, 1 up, in the morning, and outlasted No. 3 seed Don DuBois with a par on the 20th hole in the afternoon. No. 6 seed Steven Liebler, 56, of Irmo, S.C., defeated Bob Kearney, 4 and 2, in the morning, and edged 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur finalist Bryan Norton, 1 up, in the afternoon.
The eight quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying into next year’s U.S. Senior Amateur, which will be conducted Sept. 17-22 at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, Mo.
Both the quarterfinal and semifinal matches are scheduled for Wednesday. The championship, which is open to amateurs who have reached their 55th birthday by Sept. 26, 2015 and have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, will conclude with an 18-hole final on Thursday, starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT.