Reading’s Chip Lutz continued his bid for a second straight U.S. Senior Amateur championship with a 2 and 1 victory over Jeff Burda of Modesto, Calif. in the opening round of match play Monday at the Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.
The 61-year-old Lutz, the reigning six-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year, got 3-up with a front-nine burst and held on for the victory. He won the second with a birdie, took the sixth with an eagle and the seventh with a birdie to put Burda in the hole.
Burda cut the deficit to 1-down by winning the 10th with a par and the 12th with a birdie, but Lutz closed out the match when he won the 17th with a par.
It will be a battle of past champions in the second round Tuesday as defending champion Lutz takes on Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C. Simson rallied from 2-down with two holes to play to pull out a victory over Mitch Wilson of Portage, Mich. in 19 holes. Simson won the Senior Amateur title in 2010 and 2012.
Lutz, who won The Seniors Amateur Championship in England for the third time earlier this summer, was the only member of the local contingent to survive the opening round of match play at the 7,061-yard, par-71 Old Warson layout.
One of the marquee matchups of the opening round pitted Merion Golf Club’s Buddy Marucci, the 2008 Senior Amateur champion, against Patrick Tallent of Vienna, Va., the 2014 champion.
Tallent took control of the match when he won the 10th, 14th and 15th holes with pars to go 3-up. Marucci, the winning captain of the U.S. Walker team in 2007 and 2009 – the latter at Merion’s historic East Course – got a hole back when he won the 16th with a par, but Tallent closed out the match with a halve at the 17th.
Laurel Creek Country Club’s Joe Russo, who finished tied for second in qualifying, suffered a 4 and 3 loss to Vance Antoniou of North Barrington, Ill.
Wilmington Country Club’s Randy Mitchell, who was the medalist in Senior Amateur local qualifier at Cedarbrook Country Club last month, fell, 4 and 2, to Matthew Sughrue of Arlington, Va.
Scott Mayne, out of Colonial Country Club and Harrisburg, was ousted with a 3 and 2 loss to Brady Exber of Las Vegas, Nev.