POTTSTOWN, Pa. (July 11, 2011) -- Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC is considered “the hunted” within the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Senior (55 years of age and older) circuit.
He is the reigning Senior Player of the Year and current points leader for 2011. Now, Lutz will play the prey role in the Brewer Cup after qualifying as the No. 1 seed Monday at Bellewood GC (par 71, 6,465 yards). Lutz, of Reading, Pa., carded a 3-under-par 68, the day’s lone sub-par score, to earn medalist honors.
“Today was about getting into match play,” Lutz, 56, said. “It’s nice to play well and be seeded nicely, but it doesn’t matter from here. It’s all match-to-match. Anything can happen.”
Lutz declared his qualifying intentions early by firing back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 (par 4, 370 yards) and 2 (par 5, 505 yards). On the first, he slapped a 60-degree wedge 80 yards to 10 feet. Lutz powered a rescue club 230 yards to the back of the No. 2 green and two-putted. That same club nearly did an about-face on the next par 5 (No.7, 530 yards). Lutz again hammered it 230 yards but it caught the left greenside bunker. A superb sand shot guided Lutz into tap-in territory.
Lutz carded consecutive bogeys to close his outward campaign. A wrong club selection on No. 8 (par 3, 198 yards) and a poor approach on No. 9 (par 4, 424 yards) halted his momentum. But Lutz showed his championship-chops with a birdie on the difficult No. 13 (par 4, 340 yards). His 69-yard approach shot flew to the back of the downhill green.
“It was just a little pitch, and I knew I had to hit it to the front-side of the green,” he said. “It checked nicely but released out the back edge.” Lutz sunk an uphill eight-footer for birdie from the fringe.
With a mere 40 yards to the No. 15 (par 4, 383 yards) flagstick, Lutz flipped it to five feet below the cup. Lutz bogeyed the uphill par 4, 380-yard 16th hole following a wayward tee shot that forced the Senior Division sophomore to take relief from the cart path. Lutz didn’t let it kill the mood, though. He knocked a 6-iron to 15 feet on No. 17 (par 3, 155 yards) and canned a right-to-left breaker for birdie.
“I stayed patient and let the rest of the round come to me,” he said. “I was under par early and kind of drifted in the middle of the round. I didn’t let it get away from me. I made some putts down the stretch.”
Schedule conflicts prevented Lutz from participating in last year’s Brewer Cup at Sandy Run CC. It didn’t prevent him from conquering the Senior Division, though. Lutz won the Chapman Memorial (Gross) at Burlington CC, finished second in the Warner Cup (Gross) at Lu Lu CC and advanced to the semifinals in the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. This year, he was a quarterfinalist in the GAP Amateur Championship and finished tied for third in the Middle-Amateur Championship.
Lutz will face No. 16 seed Archie Struthers of Greate Bay CC, the final survivor of a six-for-four frenzy for the remaining match play spots.
Jay Howson, Jr. of St. Davids GC carded a 1-over-par 72 to earn medalist honors in the Super-Senior Division (for players 65 years of age or older). The Malvern, Pa. resident has been “playing really well over the last 10 days,” and Monday was certainly no exception.
“My swing is just really in a groove,” Howson, the 2009 titleholder and 2010 runner-up, said. “I’m hitting the ball really well. I don’t know how long it will last.”
Three back-nine birdies shaped Howson’s qualifying bid. With a favorable wind to his back, Howson, 73, whacked a wedge 130 yards to 10 feet on No. 11 (par 4, 361 yards). He stuck an 8-iron 130 yards to a foot on No. 16 (par 4, 365 yards). Howson’s wedge game stayed sharp on the par 5, 507-yard 18th hole. He hit it 100 yards to 18 feet and converted the birdie try.
“It feels good to get into match play again,” Howson, the 2009 Super-Senior Player of the Year, said.
This is the fourth annual Brewer Cup.
The tournament is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., the former president of Pine Valley GC, is a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion and veteran of 42 USGA Championships. He’s captured two Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship titles (1967, 1976), a GAP Senior Amateur Championship crown (1997) and a Senior Player of the Year (1997) as well as countless invitational titles. And two years ago he was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.
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