Randy Mitchell of Wilmington Country Club fired a 3-under 69 to earn medalist honors over a talented field trying to earn a trip to the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship in a qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia Monday at Cedarbrook Country Club in Blue Bell.
The U.S. Senior Amateur will be held Sept. 17 to 22 at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis. The defending champion is LedgeRock Golf Club’s Chip Lutz, the reigning six-time GAP Senior Player of the Year who won his first U.S. Senior Amateur title last year at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
At 55, Mitchell is in his first year of eligibility for the U.S. Senior Amateur. But he credited a recent victory in the club championship at Wilmington with giving him the confidence boost he needed.
“Winning out club championship means as much as any of this actually,” Mitchell said. “I played well, 54 holes in 4-over, I didn’t back into it. (Over the last month) I took my handicap from a four to a plus-one. I’ve been playing pretty well. I expected to play well today.”
Mitchell stared slowly with a bogey on the first hole at the 6,939-yard, par-72 Cedarbrook layout. But he got it going after that, making birdies at four of the next nine holes. He was particularly tough on the par-5s in that stretch with birdies at the second, sixth and 10th holes.
Five Ponds Golf Club’s Brian Rothaus, one of a group of GAP seniors who made it to match play at last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek, finished a shot behind Mitchell at 2-under 70 to earn a return trip to the USGA event. The 60-year-old Rothaus won the BMW Philadelphia Amateur at Cedarbrook in 1988.
Rothaus’ showing at the U.S. Senior Amateur last year earned him a trip to the Seniors Amateur Championship held recently at Formby Golf Club in England. He made the 36-hole cut in the 54-hole event, which was won by Lutz, the third time he’s won the British Seniors crown. Rothaus finished in a tie for 34th.
Craig Scott of Great Bear Golf Club, Michael Vassil of the Country Club of Scranton and R. Scott Mayne of Colonial Country Club all matched par with 72s to finish in a tie for third. Scott and Mayne, the reigning Pennsylvania Senior Amateur champion, were playing partners and erased a little of the pain from near misses in last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier at White Manor Country Club.
Joe Russo of Laurel Creek Country Club grabbed the sixth and final ticket to Old Warson with a 1-over 73.
Eight players landed at 3-over 75. Roc Irey of Lookaway Golf Club earned the first-alternate berth with Merion Golf Club’s Robert Wagner getting the second-alternate spot.
Among the group at 75 who did not make it are three players who qualified for match play at Hidden Creek a year ago, including LuLu Country Club’s Glenn Smerglio, Lancaster Country Club’s Kenneth Phillips and Overbrook Golf Club’s Ray Thompson, who broke a streak of U.S. Senior Amateur appearances that dates back to at least 2013 when he lost to Lutz in the quarterfinals.
Also in that group at 75 was Concord Country Club’s Doug Fedoryshyn.
GAP also administered a qualifier at Cedarbrook Monday for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and Honeybrook Golf Club’s Allison Long captured medalist honors with an 80. Cedarbrook measured 5,854 for the women.
The U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur will be played Sept. 17 to 22 at Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley, Mass.
Also punching tickets to Wellesley were Angie Whitley of New Castle, Del., who was a shot back of Long with an 81, and Allyson Harrison of Kingston, Ontario, who was another shot back of Whitley in third with an 82.