Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson looked pretty ticked off
when he failed to make a playoff for match play by a shot on BMW Philadelphia
Amateur qualifying day last week at Merion Golf Club’s famed East Course and
Philadelphia Country Club.
So he probably wasn’t too thrilled to come up just short
Wednesday in a qualifier at Applebrook Golf Club for the U.S. Senior Open,
which will be played Aug. 11 to 14 at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
The 64-year-old Thompson, a Drexel Hill resident and
Overbrook Golf Club member, carded a 1-over 72 over the windswept, 6,795-yard,
par-71 Applebrook layout and ended up in a five-man playoff for the final
ticket to Scioto. He did not survive the playoff.
Thompson remains one of the top senior amateur players in
the country while playing in the shadow of Chip Lutz, the Reading resident who
just might be the best senior amateur player in the world. Lutz is the reigning
six-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year.
In 2013, Thompson, a Marple Newtown and Florida State product,
lost to Lutz in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Amateur at Wade Hampton
Country Club in Cashiers, N.C. A year later, Thompson reached the second round
of the Senior Amateur at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. Last
fall, Thompson again reached the second round of match play before falling in
19 holes at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
Lutz, who plays out of LedgeRock Golf Club, won the U.S.
Senior Amateur title at Hidden Creek, adding that crown to his two British
Senior Amateur and one Canadian Senior Amateur titles. Pretty sure that U.S.
Senior Amateur win gives Lutz a ticket to this year’s Senior Open at Scioto.
A couple of senior pros with lengthy resumes shared medalist
honors Wednesday at Applebrook.
Bobby Gage, who has given up the touring life for a job in
the pro shop at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, Mass., and Lonnie Nielsen,
who has two PGA Tour Champions wins to his credit, each carded a 2-under 69 to
tie for the qualifying medal.
The 50-year-old Gage, a veteran of many years on the Web.com
and PGA tours, credited his Applebrook looper Lou Topper with keeping him on
track on the windy layout.
The 62-year-old Nielsen, who played six years on the PGA Tour,
will be making his eighth trip to the U.S. Senior Open.
Arnold Cutrell, a 51-year-old amateur from Greensburg, was
the survivor of the 5-for-1 playoff. Cutrell rolled in a five-foot birdie putt
on the 18th hole at Applebrook to get into the playoff and won the
sixth hole of the playoff with a two-putt par on that same hole to earn a trip
Also in that group at 1-over 72 was John Allen, a Media
resident and an assistant pro at Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
Dave Quinn, a pro at the Links Golf Club in Marlton, N.J.,
carded a 3-over 74.
Gene Fieger, who dominated the Philadelphia Section PGA as
an assistant pro at Overbrook in the 1990s, came home to give the Senior Open
qualifier at Applebrook a try and carded a 4-over 75. Fieger, who manages the
Hideout Golf Club in Naples, Fla., won the 2013 PGA Senior Professional
National Championship at the PGA Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
He was joined at that figure by Wayne resident and GAP
veteran P. Chet Walsh.
Dave McNabb, the host pro at Applebrook, checked in with a
77. He was joined at that figure by LuLu Country Club amateur Glenn Smerglio,
who made it to match play in the Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek last fall.
Veteran Overbrook amateur Oscar Mestre and Stu Ingraham, the
head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, were among the group