Paul Schlachter, The Club at Nevillewood, defeated John Rodney, Diamond Run Golf Club, to reach the finals
Phoenixville, Pa. – Day two of the rain delayed 8th
Senior Match Play Championship began in bizarre fashion on Saturday morning at
RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve. Chip
Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club, advanced to the finals via forfeit, as Roc Irey,
Lookaway Golf Club, drove from Furlong, Pa. and pulled into the parking lot only
to realize he had forgotten his clubs at home.
“I was so concerned about getting all of my turkey hunting gear together
that I forgot to grab my golf clubs that I had set out to dry in the garage,”
“This is a first for me, to advance to a final by way of
forfeit. It’s too bad Roc had to
scratch, we would have had a fun match,” said Lutz.
On the other side of the bracket, Paul Schlachter, The Club
at Nevillewood, faced off against John Rodney, Diamond Run Golf Club. Both players made par on the par 4, 325 yard,
No. 1, and then Schlachter poured in a birdie on No. 2 (par 5, 500 yards) to
take an early advantage. Rodney then
made double-bogey on No. 3 (par 3, 165 yards) and Schlachter’s bogey was good
enough for a 2-up lead. The opponents
both made nice birdies on No. 5 (par 3, 151 yards) as Schlachter drilled a
20-footer from behind the hole that was fortunate to catch the center of the
cup. Rodney then stepped up and coolly
brushed in his 12-footer for the halve. A
Schlachter bogey on No. 8 (par 4, 403 yards) opened the door for Rodney to take
advantage of an uncharacteristic mistake.
Rodney then built some momentum with a birdie on the drivable No. 9 (par
4, 315 yards) to pull within one of Schlachter.
That momentum came to a screeching halt with a bit of bad luck on No. 10
(par 4, 396 yards). Rodney’s good drive
just barely clipped an overhanging tree branch and fell straight down into the
hazard and he was forced to punch out of a nasty lie. Schlachter reached the green in regulation,
but was faced with an 80-foot uphill putt to reach the top-level of the putting
surface. He executed the key two-putt to
regain a 2-up lead. Schlachter played
steady golf the rest of the way, as Rodney was unable to produce birdies to get
back into the match. A clinching birdie
by Schlachter on No. 14 (par 4, 411 yards) punched his ticket to face Lutz in
the finals, as he defeated Rodney by a 5&4 margin.
“It was a good match, and I fortunately got off to a good start
and built an early cushion. I think what
it came down to is that I just got up-and-down a couple more times than him. John and I have played a good amount of golf
together. I remember playing with him
when he won the 2011 Pennsylvania State Senior Amateur at Edgewood Country Club
in Pittsburgh, so we’re familiar and we know it’s always going to be a good
match,“ said Schlachter.
Bill Lawler, Fox Hill Country Club, took on Phil Saylor,
Sunnehanna Country Club, in the finals of the Super-Senior Division in the 8th
Senior Match Play at RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve. Lawler used a hot start with three birdies in
the first four holes to take a 3-up lead and never looked back, eventually
closing out the match on the 15th hole, 5&3 to claim another
Senior Championship early in the 2014 season.
Lawler is also the recent champion of the Golf Association of
Philadelphia’s Warner Cup (Super-Senior Division), which was held at Talamore
Country Club in Ambler, Pa.
“It was kind of a shocking start. I birdie No. 1, No. 3, and No. 4 and I’m 3-up. I’m not very experienced in match play, I
prefer stroke play. I know Phil is a
very good player, so I just tried to play medal play out there and do my best
to make pars. There were a couple crazy
shots, like on No. 10 I hit a really
good second shot to the top shelf, then I look up and it’s rolling back down
the hill for an 80ft putt back up the at it.
After No. 10, I just played steady golf and made a bunch of pars,” said
Lawler, as he summarized the match.
On No. 1 (par 4, 316 yards) Lawler knocked a pitching wedge
to eight feet and cleaned up the putt to go 1-up over Saylor, a Johnstown, Pa.
native. On No. 3, both players played
superb shots into the par 3, 143 yard hole.
When they reached the green, Saylor’s ball came to rest about 15 feet
behind the hole, while Lawler’s 7-iron approach was just inches from the
cup. After conceding Lawler’s birdie,
Saylor’s putt caught a lot of hole, but it lipped out and Lawler had a 2-up
advantage. Lawler threw another birdie
at Saylor on No. 4 (par 5, 494 yards) as he stroked in a 15-footer to go 3-up,
and Saylor was unable to battle back. Lawler
used steady play down the stretch to eventually claim the Super-Senior crystal
by a margin of 5&3.
Paul Schlachter, The Club at Nevillewood, knew he had his
hands full in the final match against Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club. In what was a well-played match from start to
finish, Schlachter could not overcome the seven-birdie onslaught that Lutz
produced in just 16 holes. That is not
to say that Schlachter didn’t give Lutz a run for his money.
Schlachter came out of the gates swinging as he knocked a
wedge tight on No. 1 (par 4, 325 yards) and made the putt to take an early 1-up
lead. Lutz quickly answered with a
birdie on No. 2, as his 3-wood second shot came to rest just over the green and
he was able to get up-and-down to go All Square. Lutz then flashed a little short-game magic
by chipping in on No. 3 (par 3, 165 yards) from just short and left of the
green. Schlachter missed his birdie putt
and Lutz held the 1-up edge. After
halving No. 4 with pars, Lutz got back into red figures by hitting a little
8-rion into No. 5 (par 3, 151 yards) to about 18 feet and rolled in the putt to
go 2-up after Schlachter knocked his birdie effort a few feet past the
hole. Lutz found a bit of trouble on No. 6 (par 4,
366 yards) when his drive nestled under the lip of a left-side fairway
bunker. He played a decent shot just
short of the putting surface, but failed to get up-and-down as Schlachter
played the hole perfectly and made a routine par for the win and pull within
one. Schlachter then returned the favor
by making bogey on No. 8 (par 4, 403 yards) after a wayward drive opened the
door for Lutz to make a routine par and regain the 2-up advantage. On No. 9 (par 4, 315 yards), both players
showcased their talents for the growing gallery of RiverCrest members as each
laid up to a comfortable distance and played tidy wedge shots to within 10
feet. Lutz was just barely away, and
proceeded to drain his birdie putt.
Schlachter, on a more difficult angle, stepped up and rolled it in on
top for the halve to stay just 2-down at the turn.
Schlachter knew he needed to make something happen, and he
answered the call by hitting a fantastic approach to about 8 feet below the
hole on the difficult No. 10 (par 4, 396 yards). Lutz missed the green hole-high to the right,
and was unable to get up-and-down and conceded his opponents three as he found
himself just 1-up heading to No. 11 (par 4, 340 yards) with the momentum of the
match shifting. Both players made
routine pars to halve the 11th.
On the downhill No. 12 (par 4, 357 yards), Schlachter laid well back in
the fairway and played his approach to about 15 feet left of the hole. Lutz, with 130 yards in, hit the shot of the
day with a pitching wedge to just inches for the conceded birdie. Schlachter missed his birdie for the
tie. The momentum went back to Lutz with
a 2-up lead.
“I felt that was a big moment in the match, it was the highlight
of the day for me. I was a little in
between clubs there and settled on the pitching wedge and was able to execute
the proper shot and got lucky that it ended up so close,” said Lutz.
Both players found the green in regulation on No. 13 (par 3,
163 yards) and made routine pars to halve the hole. Lutz then took advantage again on No. 14,
(par 4, 411 yards) as Schlachter’s approach shot was all over the flag, but
ended up a foot over the green in a difficult lie. Lutz hit a perfect drive down the middle and
was left with another 8-iron approach that settled just three feet from the
hole. Schlachter played a delicate chip-shot
down the hill, then narrowly missed his par putt and conceded Lutz’s short
birdie. On No. 15, (par 4 395 yards)
both players played fine approaches to birdie-range and narrowly missed, making
pars to halve the hole and put Lutz dormie.
Lutz would provide one more highlight for the gallery on No.
16 (par 5, 542 yards) as he laid up to 70 yards for his third shot. He played a little lob wedge to within three
feet for yet another birdie. Schlachter
was short of the green in three shots and rolled his birdie putt past the hole
and then conceded the match to Lutz.
Chip Lutz, LedgeRock Golf Club, poses with the champion crystal
When asked to sum up his play and the event, Schlachter said, “I can’t say
enough about the golf course, it was an absolute treat to play. The conditions were perfect and it was
impressive of the staff to whip the course back into shape after the heavy rain
on Friday. I got off to a good start
in the final, but you can’t give him anything, he’s too good. It’s always nice to play against Chip, to a
point, as he is no doubt in the top 3 in the world in senior amateur golf.”
Special thanks go out to the membership and staff at
RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve for hosting the 8th Senior Match
Play sponsored by the Allegheny Health Network.