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Philadelphia Amateur: 14-year old Sterbinsky in quarter-finals

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.–Boy wonder Kyle Sterbinsky’s amazing and unexpected Amateur Championship run continues.

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 respective titles.

“I would love to win,” said Sterbinsky, who plays out of Yardley CC, “but I’ve already exceeded expectations.”

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
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 talent.

Lutz is the reigning GolfWeek National Senior Player of the Year. He also won the Association’s 2010 Senior Player of the Year.

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 too.”

NOTES–Little Mill 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 & Preserve, 4&3.
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 CC, 4&3.
25. Koch d. 8. Chris Lange, Overbrook GC, 2- up.
24. McNeil d. 9. Ben Feld, Blue Bell CC, 5&4.
29. Lutz d. 4. Daniel Charen, Makefield Highlands GC, 2&1.
20. Mandel d. 13. Sam Pancoast, Radley Run CC, 6&4.
28. Mason d. 5. Glenn Smeraglio, Mercer Oaks GC, 1-up.
12. Sanders d. 21. Michael Kania, Overbrook GC, 2&1.
2. Galbreath, Jr. d. 31. Chris Fuga, Phoenixville CC, 3&1.
18. Kovalcheck d. 15. Kyle Davis, Fieldstone GC, 4&3.
26. Slonis d. 7. Doug Zelner, Coatesville CC, 19 holes.
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

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