Glenn Smeraglio (R) finished play long before
he could accept the trophy (GAP photo)
ALLENTOWN, PA (September 6, 2017) - It took two days and hours of waiting, but when the 47th Senior Amateur Championship concluded Wednesday at Lehigh Country Club (par 70, 6,548 yards), it was Glenn Smeraglio
who found the high ground.
Smeraglio, who started at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, posted a sparkling 5-under 65 and the tournament benchmark. He finished hours ahead of the storms that soaked the region, postponed Round 1 and reduced the scheduled 36-hole event to 18 holes. Play was suspended at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday. It resumed at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Lu Lu Country Club mate Chris Clauson, playing in the same group as Smeraglio, placed second at 3 under. They were the only two players to break par.
The victory was Smeraglio’s first Senior Amateur title. It capped a sensational summer in which he also hoisted the Pennsylvania State Senior Amateur Championship.
He’s the first player to turn that feat since Ray Thompson of Overbrook Golf Club in 2007. And fourth one ever.
“It means everything to me,” said Smeraglio of winning the state’s two most prestigious Senior titles. “It’s justification for a lot of hard work. I knew I could do it but you can’t just say it, you have to do it. I’m proud to get the job done. I got two fortunate weather breaks. They had rain in the morning of the State [Senior Amateur] and I had an afternoon time. I was lucky to get the good side of the weather.”
Smeraglio may add a third title to his cabinet later. He and the aforementioned Thompson tied at 6-over-par for the Senior Silver Cross. An 18-hole playoff at a to be determined date and site is the required tiebreaker.
Smeraglio is the defending Senior Silver Cross Award winner. He also took three amateur Silver Crosses prior (2000-01, 2008). Thompson is a three-time Senior Silver Cross champion (2007, 2011, 2013).
It is the first playoff in the Senior Silver Cross history. The event started in 2004.
In serene conditions prior to the storm front, Smeraglio, and for that matter Clauson, were dazzling.
Starting on the back nine, Smeraglio opened with three straight birdies. On No. 10 (par 4, 421 yards), he knocked a pitching wedge from 129 yards to 10 feet; on No. 11 (par 5, 500 yards) got up-and-down after just missing the green left in two shots; and on No. 12 (par 4, 375 yards) lofted a gap wedge from 108 yards to eight feet for a third straight red number.
He bogeyed No. 15 (par 4, 393 yards) after pulling his second shot into the greenside bunker. However, he alleviated any angst immediately on the next hole, No. 16 (par 3, 175 yards), when he hit a 7-iron to five feet.
He turned in 3 under, trailing Clauson by a stroke.
Clauson made five birdies in his first six holes to state his intentions. He had a 12-footer on No. 17 (par 4, 414 yards) for another birdie but three putted and turned in 4-under par.
Smeraglio then slowly took charge. On No. 1 (par 4, 424 yards), his 10th hole, he canned a 25-footer from the left side of the green after pulling his pitching wedge from 130 yards. Pars followed until No. 6 (par 5, 532 yards) when he placed his 4-rescue into the left bunker, splashed out to six feet and made another birdie. He concluded his round with three more pars.
“Obviously 5 under is a good score,” said Smeraglio. “I got off to a tremendous start. We were kind of feeding off each other in the group. Chris and I were matching birdie for birdie. It was a couple of Lu Lu guys going at it all day. It was fun.”
Clauson tried to keep pace with Smeraglio. He registered another birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 354 yards) to get back to 5 under, but bogeys on Nos. 5 (par 4, 396 yards) and 9 (par 4, 435 yards) dropped him to a 3-under finish.
“Obviously it’s a great win,” said Smeraglio. “I’ve been close the two times prior.”
Smeraglio was in the Senior final grouping the last two years. In 2016, he closed with an even-par 71 to fall a stroke short of Mitchell. In 2015, Smeraglio carded a second-round 82 citing possible heat exhaustion to finish in a tie for 15th.
“I was very fortunate to be on the right side of the draw this time,” said Smeraglio. “Honestly, it was in the back of my mind but we were just playing. I was thinking about shooting a good score. I had a good little rivalry with Chris and [other groupmate] Randy [Mitchell]. It was like a day on the weekend.”
DAY ONE RECAP
Rain ended day one of the Philadelphia Senior Amateur early but not before Glenn Smeraglio fired a 5-under 65 to take the lead.
Playing at Lehigh Country Club, Smeraglio was part of the morning wave on Tuesday and he got off to a quick start with a birdie on No. 1 before adding a second birdie on the 6th hole to turn in 2-under. On the back side Smeraglio continued his strong play carding birdies on Nos. 10-12 and following his lone bogey of the round on the 15th he rolled in his final birdie of the day on the ensuing hole. All told it was a 3-under 32 second nine for Smeraglio.
Christopher Clauson who completed his round as well is in second place at 3-under, through 13 holes Raymond Thompson is in third at 1-under while four others are even-par and in a tie for fourth.
On Wednesday round one will resume at 9 a.m. EST with the second round to follow.View results for Philadelphia Senior Amateur