The 13th R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship presented by the Allegheny Health Center turned into an all-western Pennsylvania battle at St. Davids Golf Club in Tredyffrin Township Thursday.
And Indiana Country Club’s Matt Holuta, a junior at Rutgers, used a solid approach to match play to capture the title with a 2 and 1 victory over Chad Warmbein of Hickory Heights Golf Club.
“My mindset in match play was just to not give any holes away,” Holuta told the Pennsylvania Golf Association website. “I wanted to take advantage when I could and try to make some birdies, but overall I wanted to just not take myself out of a hole early.”
Holuta and Warmbein, a former Ohio University standout, traded blows early in the title match over the Donald Ross-designed St. Davids layout. Holuta won the fourth hole with a birdie, but Warmbein took a 1-up advantage by winning the sixth and seventh holes with pars.
Holuta evened the match with a birdie at the par-5 eighth, but Warmbein answered with a birdie at the 10th.
Holuta then took control of the match by winning the next three holes, the 11th with a birdie, the 12th with a par and the 13th with a birdie. He was able to maintain the advantage the rest of the way.
Tournament namesake Jay Sigel, two-time U.S. Amateur champion, three-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and an eight-time PGA Tour Champions winner, was on hand to send the finalists out for the championship match.
Earlier in the day, Holuta reached the final with a hard-fought, 1-up semifinal victory over Spring Mill Country Club’s Christopher Crawford, coming off a strong final season at Drexel and then earning a trip to the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club.
Holuta ripped off a string of five straight wins to take a 5-up advantage. He won the second and third holes with birdies, the fourth with a par, the fifth with a birdie and the sixth with a par.
Then Crawford started battling back, winning the ninth hole with a par. They halved the next two holes with birdies, Holuta chipping in at the 10th and Crawford chipping in out of the fescue at the 11th.
Crawford won the 13th with a par, the 15th with a birdie and the 17th with a par to cut his deficit to 1-down. But his 12-foot birdie try at the 18th hole didn’t fall and Holuta was in the final.
Warmbein, meanwhile, cooled off Yardley Country Club’s Kyle Sterbinsky, the Peddie School product who is coming off a strong freshman season at Wake Forest, in a 3 and 2 victory in the other semifinal.
Warmbein went from 1-down to 4-up by winning five straight holes. He took the eighth with a birdie, the ninth and the 10th with pars, the 11th with a birdie and the 12th with a par.