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Friday, November 18, 2016

Forster makes his move at Senior PGA Professional Championship

   Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster moved up the leaderboard in the second round of the Senior PGA Professional Championship, presented by GolfAdvisor and Mercedes-Benz USA, Friday with a 4-under-par 68 at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
   The 60-year-old Forster, playing in the Senior Club Pro for the 11th straight year, opened with a 1-under 71 at the Ryder Course Thursday and is tied for 14th at 5-under 139 at the midway point.
   That puts Forster well inside the cut to be among the top 35 finishers at the end of 72 holes who will earn a berth in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship next May at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. Forster teed it up in the PGA Tour Champions major when it was held at The Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. in the spring of this year.
   Forster heads a list of five Philadelphia Section PGA members in the Senior Club Pro who made the 36-hole cut, which fell at 1-under 143, and will be alive for the weekend.
   Foster started on the back nine at the Wanamkaer Course and made birdies at 11 and 15 before a bogey at 16 left him at 1-under for his round making the turn.  He then ripped off three straight birdies at two, three and four and added another at seven before finishing up with a bogey at nine to fall back to 5-under for the championship.
   Gene Fieger, the 2013 winner of this event who once dominated the Philadelphia Section as an assistant pro at Overbrook Golf Club in the 1990s, moved into a tie for the lead with a second straight 67, this one at the Ryder Course. 
   Fieger’s 36-hole total of 10-under 134 was matched by Lee Houtteman, the head pro at Manitou Passage Golf Club in Michigan. Houtteman fired a 4-under 69 at the Wanamaker Course after opening with a 66 Thursday at the Ryder Course.
   The 56-year-old Fieger, an assistant pro at The Club Pelican Bay in Naples, Fla., started at the first and had a front-nine salvo that included birdies at two, three, four and eight. His round stalled a little with back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11, but he finished strong with birdies at 13, 15 and 17.
   “There’s still a lot of golf left and birdies to make,” Fieger, a product of the old Nether Providence High School, told the PGA of America website.  “The weather is perfect and the course is perfect. You’re not going to shoot 3-under on the weekend and win this thing. Realistically, you have to shoot 3- or 4-under just to keep pace.”
   Jeff Roth of Sundown Country Club in New Mexico is alone in third at 9-under 135 after adding a 67 at the Wanamaker Course to his opening-round 68.
   Mike Small, head coach of one of the top NCAA Division I programs in the country at the University of Illinois, fired a 4-under 69 at the Ryder Course and is tied for fourth at 8-under 136. He was joined at that figure by Don Berry of Edinburgh USA Golf Club in Minnesota, who had a 5-under 67 at the Wanamaker Course in Friday’s second round.
   Applebrook Golf Club head pro Dave McNabb had his second straight 71, this one at the Wanamaker Course, and is tied for 42nd at 2-under 142.
   Three Philadelphia Section entrants are part of a large group tied for 57th, right on the cut line at 1-under 143. That trio is led by the Philadelphia Section senior champion, Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square. Ingraham, who recently collected the Section’s Robert “Skee” Riegel Senior Player of the Year Award for the seventh straight year, had a 1-over 73 at the Wanamaker Course after opening with a 2-under 70 at the Ryder Course.
   Joining Ingraham at 1-under 143 were Brian Kelly of Bucknell Golf Club, who had a 4-under 68 at the Ryder Course, and Terry Hertzog of The Country Club of York, who, like Ingraham, had a 73 at the Wanamaker Course after opening with a 70 at the Ryder Course.
   McNabb’s assistant at Applebrook, Rick Flesher, was four shots off the cutline at 3-over 147 after posting a 75 at the Wanamaker Course Friday.
   Also missing the 36-hole cut from the Philadelphia Section were: Wildwood Golf & Country Club’s John Appleget, who had a 78 at the Ryder Course, and Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s John Allen, who had a 77 at the Wanamaker Course, both of whom landed at 152; Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Bill Sautter, who had a 75 at the Ryder Course to finish at 154; and Mountain View Country Club’s Jack Brennan, who had an 82 at the Wanamaker Course to finish at 160.
   The weekend rounds will be played only at the Wanamaker Course.

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