Erickson Rallies for Art Wall Super-Senior Title
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Don Erickson stepped to the 17th tee at Chartiers Country Club and knew that his score of 7-over par likely wouldn't hold up at the 13th Art Wall, Jr. Memorial Championship. And when his approach shot on the 348-yard par 4 ended up on the fringe over 30 feet away, the task at hand looked even more difficult. But Erickson was able to sink the birdie putt, and also birdied No. 18, to finish with a second round score of 71 and a 36-hole total of 5-over par 145 to win the Super-Senior portion of the championship, which was presented by LECOM.
"I got a good break on 17 by making that putt," said Erickson, who plays out of DuBois Country Club. "And then on 18 I was just trying to lay it up with a 6-iron and it got up almost to the fringe of the green."
Erickson, who won the Senior division of the event in 2013, rallied in Wednesday's second round. He entered the day two strokes behind leader and past champion Dave DeNezza. Heading into No. 9, Erickson's scorecard had seven pars and a single bogey. All things considered, Erickson was happy with that considering the conditions.
"It was very firm, very fast and difficult to score out there today," Erickson said.
After another pair of bogeys on No. 10 and No. 12, Erickson was at 6-over par for the championship. He made birdie on the 337-yard par 4 13th hole, but then took a step back with bogeys on the next two holes.
"That was kind of my day today," Erickson said. "I made some bogeys but then came back with some good holes to bring it back."
After a par on the 16th, Erickson came to those previously mentioned good holes. After making those back-to-back birdies to close out his round, he had to wait to see if his score of 5-over par would hold up. DeNezza, playing in the final group of Super Senior competitors, began his day at 2-over par. After a 37 (+2) on the front nine, he was at 4-over for the event. Five straight pars to start the back nine kept him at that number. But Hannastown Golf Club's DeNezza made bogey on No. 15 and then again on No. 17, pushing him to 6-over par for the championship and a second place finish.
For Erickson, he cited one factor as a key in his second round 71, the low for the championship among the Super Seniors.
"One thing about this course, and I noticed a lot of players didn't do it - I used my 3-wood quite a bit just to keep it in play and in the right zones here," Erickson said. "I seemed to do that pretty well and of course, I putted pretty well, which is key here."
With the conditions as tough as they were, Erickson said that there was one definite focus for him.
"You have to concentrate on every single shot with conditions like this on a course this tough," Erickson said. "Whether it was a gimme putt or something else, it was all hard!"
Rounding out the top five at the event for the Super Seniors were Paul Schlachter of the Club at Nevillewood (+7), Vincent Zachetti of Hannastown Golf Club (+8) and Ray Seemiller of Diamond Run Golf Club (+10).
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Chartiers Country Club for their support and hospitality during the event.