FORT WASHINGTON, Pa.–Michael Hyland
of Little Mill CC is going to miss his close
friend’s wedding in Detroit, Mich., on
Saturday. He’ll instead be at
Manufacturers G&CC looking for a second
J. Wood Platt Amateur Championship trophy.
Hyland, the 2000 Amateur winner, defeated
Andrew Mason of Huntingdon Valley CC,
5&4, in one semifinal Thursday afternoon
while Stephen Hudacek, III of Glenmaura
National GC stopped Matthew Burkhart of
Meadia Heights GC, 4&2, in the other.
Hudacek and Hyland clash for the 111th
Amateur title in a 36-hole final set for 8 a.m.
Saturday.It will be Hyland’s second
Amateur Final appearance, Hudacek’s
“[My friend will] understand I
hope,” said the affordable Hyland, 32,
of Marlton, N.J. “It’s a dream
come true. It’s been 11 years since I
made it last time. To be an old guy and be in
the final again is pretty fun.”
“My goal was to make match play.
After that anything can happen,” said
Hudacek, 23, of Scranton, Pa. “This
always has one of the strongest local fields.
This is my third year playing in the Amateur.
I’ve never made match play before
Hyland, who qualified as the 16th seed,
moseyed around a challenging Manufacturers
G&CC with a white hot putter and no
regrets. In the 30 holes he played, the 32-
year-old carded nine birdies, two eagles and
three bogeys. He never trailed in either of
Thursday’s contests and totaled just 46
putts in those 30 holes.
Against Mason, the 28th seed, Hyland
parred No. 5 (par 4, 428 yards) to take an
early 1-up advantage before winning holes
Nos. 8-10 with a par, eagle and par.
On the treacherous No. 8 (par 3, 120 yards),
Hyland two-putted from 40 feet as Mason
missed the green left and failed to get up-and-
down from above the cup. On No. 9 (par 5,
475 yards), he scalded a 6-iron from 190 yards
to seven feet for eagle and then made a run-
of-the-mill par on No. 10 (par 4, 425 yards)
when Mason found trouble and a subsequent
bogey. Hyland chipped up to four feet on No.
12 (par 5, 523 yards) for a winning birdie and
then on No. 14 (par 4, 428 yards) poetically
rammed home a 20-footer for 3 to secure a
“I’ve probably played holes 7
thru 12, in something like 6 under,” said
Hyland, who defeated Michael McDermott in 38
holes in the 2000 Final. “They are the
match play holes out here where you have to
make a move.”
Said Mason, 22, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa.,
who made match play in the Amateur for the
first time is his career, “I expected to
make match play and take it one step at a
time after that. I hung in there. I expected him
to make putts but I expected myself to play
The other semifinal was All Square thru No.
7 when Hudacek gained the upper-hand with
victories on three of the next four holes.
He birdied No. 8 for a second straight time
on the exact same 20-foot chance he had in
the morning; reached No. 9 (par 5, 475 yards)
in two from 185 yards with a 5-iron and two
putted from 60 feet for 4 and then parred the
lengthy and difficult 11th (par 3, 190 yards).
“My philosophy with the lead is to
have looks at birdie and force the other player
to make putts,” said Hudacek, who
qualified as the 23rd seed.
Hudacek was 3-up on the 14th green, but
Burkhart was staring at an eight-footer for
birdie to cut the deficit by a hole and get back
in the match. Instead, however, Burkhart said
he had “a mind block” and three
putted from the short distance, losing the hole
to fatally fall 4 down.
“I can’t complain. Stephen
played great and deserves to be where
he’s at,” said Burkhart, 20, of
Lancaster, Pa. “It’s such a
marathon. I played great golf for 2 ½
Hyland defeated a game Scott McNeil of
Philadelphia Publinks GA, the No. 24 seed,
3&2, in a match that featured nine
birdies, two eagles and all seven holes in which
there was a winner done so with an under-par
score. “I’ve never seen a person
hit the ball that far and straight,” said
Hyland of McNeil. “That was the
toughest match I’ve ever
played.” Hyland wore out his red pen.
He recorded six birdies and an eagle in the 16
holes. McNeil did his best to keep pace. He
netted three birdies and an eagle. “We
were both under par and both played
well,” said McNeil, 25, of Philadelphia,
Pa. “There was really nothing more I
could do.” This was McNeil’s
first-ever appearance in the GAP Amateur
Mason delivered a fantastic performance in
defeating reigning Golf Association of
Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year Chip Lutz
of LedgeRock GC, 3&2. Mason was 3-
down early, but found his footing mid round
and overtook Lutz on No. 11 (par 3, 190 yards)
with a clutch 20-foot birdie. He never trailed
again and won two of the next four holes to
clinch a berth in the semifinals. Lutz, 56, of
Reading, Pa., the oldest remaining player in the
field was also looking for his second-ever J.
Wood Platt Trophy, having won the title in
1977 at this very site. Lutz, who qualified as
the 29th seed, said he has been battling a
balky right knee injury the last couple of days.
“I putted well early, but there was a
stretch in the middle of the round where I lost
my direction,” said Lutz. “I just
got out of rhythm. Andrew played very
Hudacek defeated Amateur rookie Paul
Kovalcheck of Lu Lu CC, 3&1, to advance.
Kovalcheck, of Aston, Pa., couldn't participate
in years past because of schedule conflicts
with qualifying events. However, the recent
graduate of McDaniel College earned an
exemption into the field courtesy of a Top 10
finish in last year's Patterson Cup.
"It was definitely cool," Kovalcheck, 21,
said. "I wasn't even expecting to get into
match play. From there, I was kind of playing
with house-money, I thought. I played pretty
good today, but just got beat by a better
golfer. I was happy, though. It was definitely
an honor to play in this tournament."
Kovalcheck, seeded No. 18, started to
climb out of a three-hole deficit on No. 16 (par
4, 428 yards), where he knocked a 58-degree
wedge 100 yards to 10 feet and cleaned up
the birdie putt. However, a wayward drive on
the par 4, 372-yard 17th would seal
The boy wonder's voyage into Amateur
folklore came to an end, but what a thrill it
was for Kyle Sterbinsky of Yardley CC. The 14-
year-old fell to Burkhart, 2-up, in the
"It was an honor to even get into match
play," Sterbinsky, of Yardley, Pa., said. "I made
it a lot farther than I was expecting to. In my
match, I couldn't get a lot of putts to go, but I
hit the ball pretty solid. I was pretty happy
with my game today."
Like Kovalcheck, Sterbinsky showed just
cause for a late charge on No. 16. He stuck a
pitching wedge 113 yards to 15 feet.
Sterbinsky had a chance to even the match on
No. 17 following a superb sand wedge from 89
yards out. He couldn't execute the uphill birdie
"I thought it was dead straight and it dove
left," Sterbinsky, the 19th seed, said. He would
lose the 18th hole.
17. Michael Hyland, Little Mill CC, d. 28.
Andrew Mason, Huntingdon Valley CC,
23. Stephen Hudacek, III, Glenmaura National
GC, d. 6. Matthew Burkhart, Meadia Heights
17. Hyland d. 24. Scott McNeil, Philadelphia
Publinks GA, 3&2.
28. Mason d. 29. Chip Lutz, LedgeRock GC,
23. Hudacek, III d. 18. Paul Kovalcheck, Lu
Lu CC, 3&1.
6. Burkhart d. 19. Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley
View results for BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship