FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.–Boy wonder
Kyle Sterbinsky’s amazing and
unexpected Amateur Championship run
The 14-year-old Yardley, Pa., resident
advanced to the 111th Amateur Championship
quarterfinals at Manufacturers G&CC with
a pair of dominating victories on Wednesday.
Sterbinsky, the 19th seed, stopped Patrick
Ross of Glenmaura National GC, the 14th seed,
4&3, in the first round before cruising to a
7&5 win against 30th seed Bob Bechtold
of Loch Nairn GC in the Round of 16.
Sterbinsky, in his first Amateur, faces
upstart Matthew Burkhart of Meadia Heights
GC in tomorrow’s quarters. Match time
is set for 8:22 a.m.
The semifinals follow tomorrow’s
quarterfinal matches and begin at 12:30 p.m.
The 36-hole Amateur final is set for Saturday
at 8 a.m.
“It’s a little bit easier,
I’m not under as much pressure like I
would be if I was older,” said Sterbinsky
of his youth. “People are not really
expecting much from a 14 year old. It’s
rewarding to reach the quarterfinals.”
Sterbinsky, who stands 5-foot-8 and 125
pounds, said his game revolves around
fairways and greens. Lately, as he’s
grown taller and gained some weight, his ability
to hit the ball farther has increased.
He demonstrated that on Wednesday,
when already 3-up on Bechtold after winning
three of the first five holes, he knocked a 5-
iron from 190 yards away uphill to six feet on
No. 9 (par 5, 465 yards) and made the eagle
try. He won No. 10 (par 4, 422 yards) with a
par and lasered another pin-point 5-iron on No.
11 (par 3, 185 yards) to move 5 up. He closed
Bechtold, 40, of Avondale, Pa., out on the
lengthy par 3, 13th (223 yards). He missed the
green left but showed a deft touch with a 20-
yard chip over the greenside bunker that
stopped eight feet away from the hole.
Bechtold’s par try went wide and he
conceded the hole and match to Sterbinsky.
In the morning against Ross, 19, of
Dunmore, Pa, the recent Greynun Academy
(Yardley, Pa.) grad again quickly built an early
lead, 3 up after nine holes, before closing out
his opponent. He ended the Ross showdown on
No. 6 (par 3, 201 yards), the match’s
15th hole, with a 5-iron to three feet.
A victory by Sterbinsky would be
historical. Both Lincoln Roden, III, in 1949 and
Billy Stewart of Llanerch CC in 2002 were the
youngest at age 18 when they won their
“I would love to win,” said
Sterbinsky, who plays out of Yardley CC,
“but I’ve already exceeded
Sterbinsky, who was the youngest player
to qualify for the Amateur, will either attend
Holy Ghost Prep or the Peddie School next fall.
From youngest to oldest
Lutz is the reigning GolfWeek National Senior
Player of the Year. He also won the
Association’s 2010 Senior Player of the
Chip Lutz, 56, of LedgeRock GC is the lone
remaining senior in the field, having defeated
No. 4 seed Dan Charen of Makefield Highlands
GC in the morning and Marc Mandel of
Philadelphia Cricket Club, the 20th seed, in the
Round of 16, by identical 2&1 scores.
Lutz, who drew the 29th seed after advancing
into match play in this morning’s eight-
man playoff, may be a bit older than his
competition, but don’t mistake age for
Lutz has fond memories of Manufacturers.
He defeated Jack Hubert of Old York Road CC,
2&1, in 1977 at the Fort Washington
venue for his only Amateur Championship title.
“I’m amazed how different
the course looks. It’s so open,”
said Lutz, a Reading, Pa. resident. “I
have great memories of playing here. I knew
the golf course would fit me well because you
don’t need to be a long-ball hitter.
It’s really an honor to get this far in the
tournament. I don’t think too many
senior ams make it this far.”
Lutz closed out Mandel, 29, of
Conshohocken, Pa., on their 17th hole, No. 8
(par 3, 117 yards) by draining a 25-foot birdie.
He defeated Charen, 22, Langhorne, Pa., in the
first round No. 17 (par 4, 370 yards) with a
string of consecutive pars.
“It’s an honor to represent
the seniors,” said Lutz, who said he is
battling a balky right knee. “Hopefully I
can carry the torch but this torch is flaming
out. Maybe everyone is getting tired
CC members Mike Hyland and Mike Meisenzahl,
the qualifying medalist, squared off in the
Round of 16, with Hyland, the 2000 Amateur
Champion, winning 2&1. “It was
very sad to take down my fellow Little Mill
member,” said Hyland, 32, of Marlton,
N.J. “I’ve known Mike since he
was 13. He definitely has a bright future ahead
of him.” Hyland was the 17th seed after
qualifying. Hyland hopes to miss one of his
best friend’s wedding this Saturday in
Detroit, Mich. That would mean he’d be
returning to the Amateur final for a second
time … Burkhart, a 20-year-old junior at
Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., eliminated
five-time William Hyndman, III Player of the
Year and 2008 Amateur Champion Michael
McDermott of Merion GC, 1-up. Both players
birdied No. 18. “I knew who he
was,” said Burkhart of Lancaster, Pa.
“I figured I didn’t have a whole
lot of pressure.” This is
Burkhart’s third Amateur and second
trip to match play. He lost in the second round
to Hyland last year at Saucon Valley CC.
Burkhart is the two-time defending Mid-
Atlantic Conference individual champion
… Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley
CC, the 28th seed, drained a 20-footer for
birdie on the first extra hole, No. 10 (par 4,
422 yards), to defeat newly crowned New
Jersey State Amateur Champion David Sanders
of Laurel Creek CC, the 12 seed, in 19 holes.
Mason, 22, of Huntingdon Valley CC, was a
senior at Temple University in 2010-11 …
Scott McNeil of the Philadelphia Publinks GA
has proven a tour de force as well. The Temple
University alum blitzed Ben Feld of Blue Bell CC,
the No. 9 seed, 5&4, in the morning and
Tucker Koch of RiverCrest GC & Preserve,
seeded 25th, 4&3 in the Round of 16.
McNeil, 25, qualified as the 24th seed with a
147 score. McNeil manages a parking garage
for Penn Rittenhouse Condominiums in
Rittenhouse Square. He is originally from Sayre,
Pa. in the upper most Northwest part of the
state … James Kania, Jr. of Overbrook
GC, the 2009 Amateur runner-up, parred the
sixth playoff hole, No. 18 (par 4, 426 yards) to
earn the 32nd and final seed. There was an
eight-for-seven playoff to advance into match
play at the 148 qualifying score. Kania, Jr. fell
to Meisenzahl, however, 3&2 … With
Kania, Jr. and brother Michael also losing in the
first round, this will be the first time in three
years the final will not include one of the two.
James in 2009 and Michael in 2010.
Round of 16
17. Michael Hyland, Little Mill CC, d. 1. Mike
Meisenzahl, Little Mill CC, 2&1.
24. Scott McNeil, Philadelphia Publinks GA, d.
25 Tucker Koch, RiverCrest GC &
29. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC, d. 20. Marc
Mandel, Philadelphia Cricket Club, 2&1.
28. Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley CC, d.
12. David Sanders, Laurel Creek CC, 19 holes.
18. Paul Kovalcheck, Lu Lu CC, d. 2. Robert
Galbreath, Jr., Huntingdon Valley CC, 4&3.
23. Stephen Hudacek, III, Glenmaura National
GC, d. 26. Jamie Slonis, Tavistock CC, 1-up.
19. Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley CC, d. 30.
Robert Bechtold, Loch Nairn GC, 7&5.
6. Matthew Burkhart, Meadia Heights GC, d.
22. Michael McDermott, Merion GC, 1-up.
Round of 32
1. Meisenzahl d. 32. James Kania, Jr.,
Overbrook GC, 3&2.
17. Hyland d. 16. Gary Daniels, Saucon Valley
25. Koch d. 8. Chris Lange, Overbrook GC, 2-
24. McNeil d. 9. Ben Feld, Blue Bell CC,
29. Lutz d. 4. Daniel Charen, Makefield
Highlands GC, 2&1.
20. Mandel d. 13. Sam Pancoast, Radley Run
28. Mason d. 5. Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks
12. Sanders d. 21. Michael Kania, Overbrook
2. Galbreath, Jr. d. 31. Chris Fuga,
Phoenixville CC, 3&1.
18. Kovalcheck d. 15. Kyle Davis, Fieldstone
26. Slonis d. 7. Doug Zelner, Coatesville CC,
23. Hudacek, III d. 10. Conor McNicholas,
Commonwealth National GC, 2&1.
30. Bechtold d. 3. Matthew Mattare, Saucon
Valley CC, 2&1.
19. Sterbinsky d. 14. Patrick Ross, Glenmaura
National GC, 4&3.
6. Burkhart d. 27. Pete Barron, III, Stone
Harbor GC, 2&1.
22. McDermott d. 11. Thomas Gramigna,
Tavistock CC, 2&1.
View results for BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship