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June 22, 2016

Bobby Gage tees off No. 8 (par 5, 578 yards).

Pros Gage, Nielsen top U.S. Senior Open Qualifier at Applebrook

  MALVERN, Pa. — Bobby Gage and Lonnie Nielsen, a pair of former PGA TOUR professionals, carded respective 2-under-par 69s to share medalist honors in a U.S. Senior Open Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at Applebrook Golf Club (par 71, 6,795 yards) Wednesday. By doing so, the duo earned two of three available spots for the Championship proper. Arnold Cutrell, an amateur out of Greensburg Country Club, emerged from a five-for-one playoff at 1-over-par 72 to advance.

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  The U.S. Senior Open will take place Aug. 11-14 at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.

  Gage, 50, of Norwood, Mass., competed on the Web.com Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour) for nine years and the PGA TOUR in 1998. He finished as runner-up to Zach Johnson in the Envirocare Utah Classic, a Nationwide Tour event, in 2003. Nielsen, 62, of Orchard Park, N.Y., spent six years on the PGA TOUR and nine on the Champions Tour, where he won two events (Commerce Bank Championship in 2007, Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in 2009). He retired this year; only local and club pro events currently fill out his schedule.

  “It’s not as much fun as you think,” Nielsen said of his tour experience. “It sounds like a dream job, but I was under the gun to finish in the Top 30 every year. that’s a lot of pressure. I was just in a better place in my life and better equipped to handle the pressure.”

  Both Gage and Nielsen certainly handled feisty winds that enhanced scoring difficulty at Applebrook.

  “I played very well” Gage, who winters in Boynton Beach, Fla., said. “With the wind blowing so hard and the greens being so hard and fast, you do not want to be on the short side downwind. You want to avoid the downhill chips. You’re trying to stay into the wind and uphill. I had good control of my golf ball and drove it really well, which helped. The fairways get small when it gets this windy. They’re generous enough, but they’re about half the size in the wind.”

  Gage also credited Applebrook caddie Lou Topper, whose intellect accounted for conditions.

  “He helped me out there. I relied on him a lot,” Gage said. “He really kept me in the ballgame in terms of how far things were playing.”

  His distance control in check, Gage, who started on the back nine, fired four birdies on the day. He stopped a wedge at six feet on the par 5, 578-yard 16th hole. A powerful drive on the reachable No. 3 (par 4, 309 yards) gave Gage a pitch-and-putt for 3. He inked back-to-back red figures on Nos. 7 (par 4, 365 yards) and 8 (par 5, 578 yards). On the first, Gage drilled a 7-iron 165 yards to six feet. He nearly jarred a 60-yard pitch on the latter, brushing in a gimme 4. A three-putt on No. 4 (par 4, 417 yards) and a mishit 9-iron out of the rough on No. 12 (par 4, 370 yards) marked Gage’s only blunders on the day.

  In 2006, Gage stepped away from the circuit to pursue teaching full-time. He “bounced around” New Jersey before finding a home at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, Mass.

   “I’d like to establish myself there for the year. I made a commitment,” Gage said. “I’m not going to play in as many events in the summer as I have in the past. I think it’ll do well for my future if I stick around and stay visible. I’m very happy there. Life’s easier.”

  Nielsen, too, appears at ease with post-Tour life. He countered four “silly bogeys” with six birdies in the afternoon. Smooth sand wedge set-ups on Nos. 6 (par 4, 396 yards), 8 (par 5, 578 yards) and 10 (par 5, 573 yards) afforded conversions of eight, 12 and four feet, respectively. Identical yardages of 122 on Nos. 13 (par 4, 443 yards) and 18 (par 4, 454 yards) called for a pitching wedge. Nielsen obliged with approaches to a foot and 10 feet on both. He also drained a 10-footer for birdie on the short No. 3.

  Nielsen will now take part in his eighth U.S. Senior Open. He last appeared in 2014 at Oak Tree National.

  “I played Scioto last year and it was really hard,” Nielsen said. “You really need to drive your ball, and I did that unbelievably today. So if I could drive it like I did today, I’ll see what I can do. You have to hit the fairway there. The rough is thick and penal, and this was last year. It’s going to be worse the week of the tournament.”

  Playing in the day’s last group, Cutrell, 51, of Greensburg, Pa., spun a wedge off the No. 18 backstop and dropped a five-footer for birdie to shimmy into the playoff. He two-putted for par on that same hole, the sixth overall in the sudden-death session, to book his ticket to Scioto.

  “It’s kind of unbelievable,” an emotional Cutrell said. “The conditions were so tough on the front nine that I honestly was thinking about packing it in.”

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers

Name, city

Score

Bobby Gage, Boynton Beach, Fla.

69

Lonnie Nielsen, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

69

*Arnold Cutrell(a), Greensburg, Pa.

72

Alternates (in order)

*Kirk Hanefeld, Acton, Mass.

72

*John Allen, Media, Pa.

72

Failed to qualify

R. Scott Mayne(a), Harrisburg, Pa.

72

Raymond Thompson(a), Drexel Hill, Pa.

72

Curt Coulter(a), Oakmont, Pa.

74

David Laudien, Wall, N.J.

74

David Quinn, Marlton, N.J.

74

Drew Forrester(a), Baltimore, Md.

74

Ben Brundred(a), Potomac, Md.

75

Gene Fieger, Naples, Fla.

75

P. Chet Walsh(a), Wayne, Pa.

75

Adam Armagost, National Park, N.J.

76

Billy Downes, Longmeadow, Mass.

76

Brent Studer, Manasquan, N.J.

76

John Dimarco, Cherry Hill, N.J.

76

Lee Flemister(a), Rockville, Md.

76

Mike Reese(a), Charlottesville, Va.

76

Patrick Dougherty(a), North Wales, Pa.

76

Brian Rothaus(a), Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

77

David McNabb, Malvern, Pa.

77

Dirk Schultz, Hagerstown, Md.

77

Glenn Smeraglio(a), Newtown, Pa.

77

James Winner(a), Churchville, Md.

77

Michael Donald, Ft Lauderdale, Fla.

77

Darrell Kestner, Glen Cove, N.Y.

78

Oscar Mestre(a), Berwyn, Pa.

78

Steve Barber, Victor, N.Y.

78

Stu Ingraham, Broomall, Pa.

78

Brian Kelly, Lewisburg, Pa.

79

Michael Locastro(a), Paramus, N.J.

79

Robert Lennon, Wilmington, Del.

79

Tad Kaufman(a), Berlin, Md.

79

Dan Wood, Ithaca, N.Y.

80

Gary Daniels(a), Berwyn, Pa.

80

John Leboeuf(a), Bryn Mawr, Pa.

80

Bob Beck(a), Allentown, Pa.

81

John Alterman, New Hope, Pa.

81

Mike Dagenais, Gatineau, Quebec

81

Ray Underwood(a), Marbledale, Conn.

81

Robert Amen(a), Gap, Pa.

81

Vance Welch(a), Fulton, Md.

81

William Jenner(a), Lexington Park, Md.

81

Alan Specht(a), Setauket, N.Y.

82

Bernie Herceg, Jr., Apalachin, N.Y.

82

David Dorn, Laurel, Md.

82

Edward Kirby, Wakefield, R.I.

82

Joe Viechnicki(a), Bethlehem, Pa.

82

John Morgan(a), Mountainside, N.J.

82

Joseph Russo(a), Sewell, N.J.

82

Buddy Reed(a), Middletown, Del.

83

Gary Hardin, Easton, Pa.

83

Gary Moore, Gambrills, Md.

83

Mark Boedicker(a), Great Falls, Va.

83

Michael Quinn(a), East Fallowfield, Pa.

83

Michael Shevlin, Sr.(a), Broomall, Pa.

83

Mike Mangiaracina, Bayport, N.Y.

83

Bob Koch, Medina, Ohio

84

Christopher Clauson(a), Philadelphia, Pa.

84

David Fazzini(a), Phoenixville, Pa.

84

David West(a), Exton, Pa.

84

Edward Kelly(a), Maple Glen, Pa.

84

George Forster, Villanova, Pa.

84

John Rodney(a), Sewickley, Pa.

84

Mark Chow(a), Manhasset, N.Y.

84

Rand Mendez(a), Wilmington, Del.

84

Robert Worthington(a), Chapel Hill, N.C.

84

Russell Felter, Davidsonville, Md.

84

Bill Civitella(a), North Palm Beach, Fla.

85

Drew Panebianco(a), Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

85

Elias Chua(a), Wilmington, Del.

85

Michael Binney, Lewisburg, Pa.

85

Robert Savarese, Jr.(a), Lafayette Hill, Pa.

85

Ronald Bubes(a), North Bethesda, Md.

85

Tom Dicinti(a), Voorhees, N.J.

85

Bob Kave, Manasquan, N.J.

86

Erik Rodney(a), Carlisle, Pa.

86

Mark Rallas(a), Leesburg, Va.

86

Bill Sautter, Warrington, Pa.

87

Bruce Tripp, Boyertown, Pa.

88

Gary Cicatiello(a), Providence Forge, Va.

88

Tom Piersanti(a), Jersey City, N.J.

88

Frank Corrado(a), Washington Crossing, Pa.

89

John Kelly, Ottawa, Ontario

89

Matthew Matzik, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

90

Mike Schu, Elysburg, Pa.

92

Robert Affelder, Berlin, Md.

92

Mike Dynda, Blue Bell, Pa.

93

Andrew Peet(a), Parkville, Md.

94

Robert Falls(a), West Chester, Pa.

95

Benjamin Stonesifer(a), Chambersburg, Pa.

97

Savy Gallo, Glen Cove, N.Y.

102

Sean Van Sickle, Boonton, N.J.

NC

Terry Burke, Bethesda, Md.

NS

Mike Caporale, Manhasset, N.Y.

NS

James Muller(a), Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

NS

John Francisco, Westminster, Md.

NS

Arthur Kania(a), Haverford, Pa.

WD

Bruce Stewart(a), Morton, Pa.

WD

Christopher Scott(a), Summit, N.J.

WD

David Burton, Bonneau, S.C.

WD

John Kirk Luntey(a), Ardmore, Pa.

WD

John Robinson(a), North Wales, Pa.

WD

Kevin Syring, Demarest, N.J.

WD

Rob Shuey, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

WD

Robert McNamara, Charlottesville, Va.

WD

Robert Wurtz(a), Lafayette Hill, Pa.

WD

* - determined in playoff; (a) - denotes amateur

NC - no card; NS - no show; WD - withdrawal

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