Christopher Clauson (GAP photo)
CINNAMINSON, N.J. (Sept. 5, 2018) – It was a particularly hot day at Riverton Country Club on Wednesday, but Christopher Clauson didn’t let that stop him from a victory at the Philadelphia Senior Amateur.
Clauson beat both opponents in his group in the final round – Christopher Fieger and Joseph Russo – to come out on top by one shot. He had a final-round even-par 72 for a 4-under 140 total that allowed him to edge both Fieger and Russo by one shot. A year ago, it was the opposite for Clauson. He trailed Glenn Smeraglio by two strokes after the first round, and when rain shortened the event to 18 holes, Clauson had to settle for second.
“It was an incomplete feeling last year,” Clauson, 62, of Philadelphia, Pa., told the Golf Association of Philadelphia. “This is the first Golf Association of Philadelphia tournament that I’ve won. It’s nice. At Lu Lu, I won’t get heckled for being the only one who’s never won anything. I’ll get heckled for other things. I’ll get heckled for being a liberal.”
Clauson and Fieger started the day deadlocked atop the leaderboard at 3 under. Russo rounded out the final pairing, lurking at 2 under. Clauson won on the strength of his consistency considering that he gave up distance to his opponents.
“Chris played great and made the putts he needed to make. I made some mental mistakes and had some three putts that hurt,” Fieger, 55, of Denver, Pa., said.
Fieger had a chance to force sudden death, but three-putted the 18th hole for bogey.
“[For my birdie putt], Chris was on a similar line. I watched him putt it eight feet by,” Fieger said. “I left mine three feet short. I actually thought the second putt was going to break left. It just stayed there.”
Clauson said he watched with relief but was hesitant to celebrate a win on a missed putt.
“This is an alternate reality for my season this year. I didn’t start playing well until the U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier [in July],” Clauson, runner-up in the 2016 Brewer Cup, said. “I figured something out two days ago [during a lesson with Scott Yurgalevich at Lu Lu]. That and the putter Mike Dynda gave me have been huge. This win feels great.”
Information from the Golf Association of Philadelphia used in this report
ABOUT THE Philadelphia Senior Amateur
Format: 36-hole individual stroke play over two
Eligibility: Open to GAP Member Club golfers who
55 years of age and over as of the first day of the
championship. Players must have a handicap index
of 7.0 or lower, super-senior 7.0 or lower handicap
index. A Super Senior (65 years of age and older)
may play in the "Senior tournament," play to be
the Senior tees.
View Complete Tournament Information