POTTSTOWN, Pa. (July 12, 2011) — The Brewer Cup’s defending champion will face the No. 1 seed in what’s sure to be a blockbuster semifinal tomorrow.
Robin McCool of Saucon Valley CC and Chip Lutz of LedgeRock GC posted two victories apiece Tuesday at a sweltering Bellewood GC in the tournament’s opening rounds. Also gaining spots in the semifinals were Francis McFadden of Overbrook GC and Craig Scott of Huntingdon Valley CC. Lutz and McCool will tee off at 8 a.m. with McFadden and Scott to follow seven minutes later.
“I know he’s a great player and he’ll give a heck of a match,” Lutz, the current Senior Player of the Year leader, said. “He’s been my partner in a few events as well. I know his game and I know he’s solid.”
“I just have to play my best golf and hopefully I’ve learned a couple of things about the golf course,” McCool said. “If I can incorporate the things I’ve learned, then I have a chance.”
McCool and Lutz each turned in the day’s most dominating performances with 7&6 victories over John Emmel, Jr. of Back Creek GC and Archie Struthers of Greate Bay CC, respectively. Lutz, of Reading, Pa., carded four birdies and an eagle en route to a first round win. He remained steady in his quarterfinals match against Bennett Meyer of Philmont CC. Lutz, the reigning Senior Player of the Year, used a four-hole stretch to take command. Routine pars on Nos. 8 (par 3, 200 yards), 9 (par 4, 427 yards) and 10 (par 5, 556 yards) gave Lutz a 3-up edge. He extended it to four by knocking a wedge 60 yards to 12 feet for birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 397 yards).
"It looked like if I kept the gas pedal down, I could have it early,” Lutz, 56, said.
That pedal didn’t absorb much pressure on Nos. 13 (par 4, 337 yards) and 14 (par 3, 165 yards). Lutz pitched it 40 yards on No. 13 and watched his ball release to the back of the sloping green. He skulled his ensuing chip, pushed his par putt 10 feet past the jar and missed the comebacker to card a 6. Lutz missed the No. 14 green with an 8-iron to give Meyer a brief opening. But the ever-reliable Lutz rebounded by sticking a 9-iron 133 yards to two feet on No. 16 (par 4, 386 yards) for a conceded 3 and a handshake.
McCool, 60, moved a step closer to defending his title. The Bethlehem, Pa. resident overcame a bad back as well as a focused Lee King of Heidelberg CC to register a 2&1 quarterfinal victory.
“I’ll be having [back] surgery Aug. 10, and they [doctors] told me in the meantime, I could push through the pain and play golf if I wanted to,” McCool said. “Quite frankly, I had no expectations coming in. I just wanted to play golf before the surgery.”
McCool did more than play. He won the first four holes against King to pave an early lead. The two then traded jabs throughout the contest, and McCool regained control with wins on Nos.12 (par 3, 171 yards) and 13 (par 4, 337 yards). McCool veered a 4-iron to the left of the No. 12 green, but recovered with a soft chip to three feet. King, meanwhile, three-putted for bogey. McCool stuck a 58-degree wedge 82 yards to four feet for birdie on No. 13. He converted a critical 30-footer for par on No. 14 (par 3, 165 yards) to halve the hole and to ultimately hold off King.
McFadden, 61, defeated Mike Owsik of Philadelphia Publinks GA, 4&2, to earn a semifinals berth. The Newtown Square, Pa. resident grabbed a 1-up lead on the par 4, 418-yard No. 4 and never relinquished it.
“It’s nice. I’m hitting the ball OK and playing OK,” McFadden, the reigning Senior Silver Cross Award Winner, said. “I drove the ball good this afternoon.”
McFadden will face Scott, who knocked off Charles “Buck” Jones of Blue Bell CC, 3&2. This is familiar territory for Scott, who finished as runner-up in the event’s inauguration on his home course.
“It’s great. I made the finals in my first Brewer Cup, so to get back into it is pretty special,” Scott, 62, of Marshalls Creek, Pa. said. “I’m proud to be in an elite field with Frank, Chip and Robin. It’s an honor.”
Like McFadden, Scott established an early advantage through consistency and forced his opponent to play catch-up.
“I didn’t make too many mistakes. I hit a lot of fairways and greens,” he said. “I got him down early, and it was just playing defense the rest of the way in.”
Reigning champion Charles McClaskey of Back Creek GC will clash with Ken Gaskill of Rancocas GC in the Super-Senior Division (65 years of age and older) final.
“I got lucky today, but that’s what it takes sometimes,” McClaskey, 72, of Elkton, Md., said. “I didn’t play my very best. I was definitely tired this afternoon.”
McClaskey, the reigning Super Senior Player of the Year, squeaked by James Robertson of Saucon Valley CC, 2&1, in the quarterfinals and Art Brosius of DuPont CC, 3&2, in the semifinals. He established a 2-up lead with a par on No. 15 (par 4, 379 yards) after smacking his 60-degree wedge 55 yards to 10-feet. Brosius steered two tee shots out-of-bounds on the par 4, 366-yard 16th hole and conceded the match.
Gaskill, of Moorestown, N.J., upended No. 1 seed Jay Howson, Jr. of St. Davids GC, 5&3, in the semifinals Tuesday.
“It feels really special,” Gaskill, 65, said. “It’s just such a class of people you play with. I feel special and lucky to be in this position.”
Gaskill pointed to the par 5, 537-yard 10th hole as a key turning point. He saved par thanks to a two-putt from 40 feet while Howson struggled with the flatstick and three-putted. Gaskill hit a pitching wedge 115 yards to four feet on No. 15 (par 4, 379 yards) to seal victory with a birdie.
“I’m happy to be here. I have no expectations for tomorrow,” he said.
The Super Senior Final begins at 12:15 p.m.
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