Brown Outlasts Phillips for Senior Match Play Crown
David Brown poses with the Champion crystal
LEBANON, Pa. - On a chilly afternoon with a steady rainfall coming down, David Brown and Ken Phillips were locked in a tight duel in the championship match of the Pennsylvania Senior Match Play at Lebanon Country Club. Through 12 holes, the match was all square. But Brown made a birdie on 13, par on the 14th and followed with two great up and downs to pull away and win the 11th running of the championship, which was presented by LECOM and Pinnacle Health.
"This was a great match play course," Brown said."There are some severe greens and if you get on the wrong side, there's nothing you can do except take your bogey and move on. So I'm thrilled to win this championship at a course like this."
Brown moved ahead for good on the 13th hole, knocking his approach on the 364-yard par 4 to just three feet. He converted the birdie to move to 1-up. That was followed with a solid par on 14 that Phillips couldn't match. Then on the par-5 15th hole, Brown summoned a little up and down magic to keep his two hole lead.
"I was over the green and took a full swing with a 60-degree [wedge]," Brown said. "It landed softly and I was able to make par there."
Brown followed that with another up and down on 16, his play impressing his challenger throughout the afternoon.
"He is a great player," Phillips said of Brown. "I actually played well. I hit a couple of wedges out of the wet rough that I didn't negotiate very well. I wish I would have played a little better but Dave played very well."
Brown followed the pair of up and downs and closed out Phillips, a Lancaster Country Club member, on the ensuing hole, the par 4 17th.
"My putter felt a little bit better in the last couple of days," said Brown, who plays out of Champion Lakes Golf Club. "I think that was a key for me this week."
To get to the final match, both Brown and Phillips survived matches against some of the top senior amateur players in the commonwealth. Phillips, who entered the event as the fourth seed, topped Merion Golf Club's Kirk Luntey, 3 and 1, on Tuesday morning before coming back in the afternoon to edge Ed Chylinski of Chester Valley Golf Club, 1 up. Phillips then beat top-seeded Scott Mayne of Deer Run Golf Club, 2 up, to advance to the final.
"They were good matches, every one of them," Phillips said. "Kirk and I played a close match. Then Ed - he hits it so solid. He's an unbelievable player. And against Scott, I got off to a quick start, but we were tied through 13. All of my matches were great."
For the eventual champion Brown, he began by winning, 7 and 5, over Indiana Country Club's Don Erickson III, a PAGA stalwart who lost to Chip Lutz in the final in this event in 2012. He then knocked out defending champ and five-time winner of the event, Paul Schlachter, 4 and 3. To advance to the final, Brown beat Saucon Valley Country Club's Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., 2 and 1.
Lu Lu Country Club's Glenn Smeraglio had success on the final two holes on Wednesday. To survive his first round match against Wyoming Valley Country Club's Joseph Weiscarger, Smeraglio birdied both No. 17 and No. 18 to win the match. In the next round, he forced extra holes against Mayne by making birdie on No. 17 and par on No. 18. However, Mayne sank a 40-putt on the 19th hole of the match to advance.
Brown played each of his first two rounds the equivalent of 2-under par at the time each match was finished against Erickson and Schlachter.
Bartolacci and Lehigh Country Club's Bob Beck had a marathon match in the Round of 16 that went 20 holes before Bartolacci made birdie to survive and advance.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Lebanon Country Club for their support and hospitality during the event.