Chip Lutz (Golf Association of Philadelphia Photo)
Chip Lutz made it clear. When entered in a championship, he’s still the man to beat.
Lutz took the 53rd Senior Amateur Championship in a walk on Wednesday, equaling his own scoring record – in relation to par – en route to a third title (2014, 2021). The nine-time GAP Senior Player of the Year (2010-18) finished at 5 under for the two-day, 36-hole championship at Overbrook Golf Club, including a tournament-best, closing-round 3-under 67. Lutz finished 5-under total.
Jeff Frazier of Carlisle Country Club, the reigning Senior Player of the Year, was runner-up at 2 under. Frazier was the only other player to finish in red figures. Lutz established the scoring record two years ago in his victory at the Country Club of Scranton.
Intense heat, with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s, and a treacherous track (78.29 was the second-round scoring average), provided the most challenging of Senior canvases.
“Amazing,” said a euphoric, and emotional, Lutz. “You know, I mentioned earlier that my aunt and uncle [Jo and John Miller] were lifelong members here at Overbrook. [As are] dear friends Chris Lange, the Thompson boys [Ray and Andy] and [GAP President] Oscar [Mestre]. These are all people I grew up playing golf with. So it was pretty special of a win here, particularly because of my connection with the club. So I’m absolutely thrilled beyond imagination.”
Lutz joins Chris Fieger, Sr. of Heidelberg Country Club in second place on the Senior Amateur victory board with three. Allan Sussel, of Squires Golf Club, holds a record six victories.
In addition to winning at a place fond to the Lutz heart, the 2022 GAP Hall of Famer had a special guest in attendance. Brother Putter made a rare on-site appearance.
“I’ve got a most wonderful picture when I won the Philadelphia Amateur in 1977 at [Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club]. Putter was behind the green,” said Lutz, 68, of Reading, Pa. “He just got his driver’s license at age 16. He drove down to Mannies and found me on the course. He was cheering me on in a pair of blue jeans and a sport shirt. I cherished that moment. It was so nice of him to show up [today].”
Ironically, it was Chip’s material putter that resulted in a championship hug with the brother Putter.
Lutz entered the day as a co-leader, tied with Frazier at 2 under 68. The pair exchanged birdies and bogeys in their first three holes before Lutz’s blade started to percolate.
On No. 6, Lutz stunned his groupmates with a 25-foot uphill, sidehill birdie drop. Frazier made bogey. The scoreboard went from the two-tied to Lutz two strokes ahead.
On No. 7, Lutz put his soft hands on display again. This time with a wedge. He toed a 6-iron into the left greenside bunker. A smooth sand splash out landed softly on the green and all watched as his ball gently rolled into the cup. His lead was now three.
The next two holes sealed the two frontrunner fates in a similar fashion.
On No. 8, Lutz’s second shot came up short right of a back right hole location. A check-stop chip stopped four feet from the hole. He saved par. Frazier had eight feet for birdie to cut into the lead. He watched in disbelief as the effort broke right.
On No. 9, Lutz again came up short right of the hole location, but on the green, some 40 feet below and right of the cup. Frazier stuck an 8-iron from 155 yards to 12 feet above the hole. Lutz cozied his lengthy effort to a couple of feet. A stress-free par. Frazier again stood in horror as his birdie try failed to break to the right as much as he thought.
At the turn, Lutz held a three-shot lead.
Frazier bogeyed No. 10, and when Lutz made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and No. 13 – two good putts – the tournament was over.
So where does Lutz go from here?
“Yeah, well, you never know when it’s going to be your last certainly,” said Lutz of his future and possibilities of winning. “I’m 68 at this point, pushing 69. I’m blessed to be able to have my health and to continue to play my game competitively enough to be able to, you know, match up with some of these great players. And GAP has such an amazing breadth as it continues to grow, it’s particularly thrilling at my age, to be able to, once again, be successful in this event.”
All was not lost for Frazier. The 58-year-old from Mechanicsburg, Pa., did manage to secure his first Senior Silver Cross. Frazier amassed a total score of 283 to edge Chris Storck of LedgeRock Golf Club by two shots.
Frazier shot 74 in the Warner Cup and 71 in the Chapman Cup to go along with Senior Amateur scores of 68 and 70.View results for Philadelphia Senior Amateur
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