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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lutz bounces back to earn ticket to match play at U.S. Senior Amateur

   Reading’s Chip Lutz bounced back with a 1-over 72 Sunday after struggling to a 77 in the opening round of qualifying at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis as he reached match play while trying to successfully defend the U.S. Senior Amateur title he won a year ago.
   The 60-year-old Lutz, who plays out of LedgeRock Golf Club, finished in a tie for 41st with a 7-over 149 total over the 7,061-yard, par071 Old Warson layout. 
   Starting on the back nine Sunday, Lutz, the reigning six-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year, made bogeys at 10, 15 and 18 to drop back to 9-over par. But he finally got it going on the front nine with birdies at two and seven and seven pars to finish at 1-over for the round.
   Lutz failed to reach match play at last weekend's U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying at Stonewall, finishing at 11-over 151 over Tom Doak's North Course and Old Course to miss a playoff for the final match-play berth by two shots.
   Lutz led a solid contingent of local golfers into match play at Old Warson.
   Joe Russo, out of Laurel Creek Country Club and Sewell, N.J., was in the running for the qualifying medal after a strong 3-under 68 Saturday. He backed that up with a 1-over 72 Sunday and finished in a tie for second at 2-under 140.
   Starting on the back nine at Old Warson, Russo made bogeys at 11 and 13 then sandwiched birdies at two and five around a bogey at three. In Saturday’s opening round, Russo had an eagle on the par-5 12th and four birdies to offset three bogeys.
   Also earning a ticket to match play was 2008 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Buddy Marucci, who captained the U.S. to Walker Cup victories in 2007 and 2009, the latter at Merion Golf Club’s East Course, his home course.
   Marucci had rounds of 74 and 76 to finish in a tie for 48th at 8-over 150. Starting on the back nine, Marucci had a tough time on the inward nine, registering four bogeys and a double bogey in a 6-over 42. But Marucci turned it around on the front nine with birdies at two and three and a bogey at seven for a 1-under 34.
   Scott Mayne, out of Colonial Country Club and Harrisburg, joined Lutz in the group tied for 41st at 149 with rounds of 75 and 74. Wilmington Country Club’s Randy Mitchell, the medalist in the local qualifier at Cedarbrook Country Club last month, joined Marucci in the group tied for 48th at 150. Mitchell had rounds of 76 and 74.
   Brian Rothaus of Five Ponds Golf Club failed to make match play with rounds of 75 and 78 for a 153 total. Also failing to reach match play were Great Bear Golf Club’s Craig Scott, who had rounds of 79 and 80 for a 159 total, and The Country Club of Scranton’s Michael Vassil, who had rounds of 81 and 82 for a 163 total.
   Medalist honors went to Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn., the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion in 1998 and again in 2001 who had rounds of 71 and 67 for a 4-under 138 total. Jackson fell in the semifinals to Lutz a year ago at Hidden Creek Country Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
   Randal Lewis of Alma, Mich., a semifinalist two years ago, joined Russo in a tie for second at 140 with rounds of 68 and 72.

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