Brewer Cup: LedgeRock’s Lutz lights up Qualifier at Lookaway
BUCKINGHAM, Pa. — Although he hasn’t toured Lookaway Golf Club (par 72, 6,611 yards) in a few years, Chip Lutz still knew what to expect aesthetically when he arrived at the venue Monday to compete in the qualifying round of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 6th Brewer Cup. Lookaway and LedgeRock Golf Club, Lutz’s home course, were both designed by renowned architect Reese Jones.
Similarities in appearance partially helped in easing Lutz onto the medalist platform; he carded a 3-under-par 69 to earn the tournament’s No. 1 seed. He will oppose Saucon Valley Country Club’s Robin McCool, the lone survivor in an eight player bout for the last qualifying spot. The cut line fell to 77 by day’s end. Match play begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
“There’s some degree of comfort there,” Lutz, 58, of Reading, Pa., said. “Today gave me a better feel for the green complexes and what to expect in terms of the golf course. It was generally a good ball-striking day for me. All in all, I was pleased with the way I hit the ball. I putted reasonably well. I’m pleased to have played nicely through the round. It’s given me hope for the next few days.”
Lutz’s score, in relation to par, mirrors his medalist performance in the Brewer Cup two years ago at Bellewood Golf Club; he went on to win the title that year.
Lutz, the three-time reigning GAP Senior Player of the Year, opened his effort at Lookaway with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 374 yards), drilling a 9-iron 145 yards to six feet. He relinquished that stroke on the next hole (par 3, 173 yards) after sending a 7-iron into the back left bunker. A birdie on No. 5 (par 4, 402 yards) put Lutz back into red figures; he moved to 2 under on the par 5, 527-yard No. 8 after hammering an upwind 3-wood 245 yards and two-putting from 35 feet. Lutz stopped a 9-iron 10 feet above the No. 11 (par 3, 157 yards) flagstick and converted the downhill slider for a 2.
The final four holes featured an alternating circle (birdie) and square (bogey) sequence on Lutz’s scorecard. He drained a 15-footer for birdie on the par 3, 150-yard 15th hole following a solid 8-iron. A crooked drive on No. 16 (par 4, 408 yards) found the fairway bunker. Lutz extricated himself accordingly and pitched onto the green, only to miss a six-footer for par. He crushed a 5-iron 205 yards to 20 feet and two-putted for birdie on No. 17 (par 5, 520 yards). An 8-iron from 156 yards on the 18th hole (par 4, 410 yards) carried the fescue but careened into the left rough. Lutz lofted a chip to six feet and failed to finish the par save.
“I managed to get a little fast on a few shots, and that cost me a little bit,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been struggling with lately: getting too up-tempo. I’m working on trying to stay a little slower on the backswing and staying on a good swing path. Fortunately I made enough birdies to negate the errors along the way today.”
A schedule conflict prevented Lutz from returning to defend his Brewer Cup crown on his home course a year ago. He looks forward to re-entering the match play fray.
“Hopefully, I can think about playing the golf course, and the rest will take care of itself,” Lutz said.
Saucon Valley’s Thomas Bartolacci, Jr., the tournament’s defending champion, carded an even-par 72 to advance into match play. He and Edgmont Country Club's Michael Quinn finished three shots back of Lutz.
Five of the eight match play qualifiers in the Super-Senior Division posted 3-over-par 75s to share the medalist stage. They include White Manor Country Club’s Don Donatoni, St. Davids Golf Club’s Jay Howson, Jr., Merion Golf Club’s Fred Jones, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club’s John Rowe and Lookaway’s Frank Shuman. Donatoni is in the midst of an incredible year. He won the Super-Senior titles in the Warner Cup (Gross) and Chapman Cup (Gross) and currently leads the division’s Player of the Year race.
“Today I was pretty good at hitting fairways and greens. I think that’s what I need to do tomorrow,” Donatoni, 65, of Malvern, Pa., said. “I look to play steady, which is what I’ve been able to do so far this year.”
Donatoni had a chance to seize medalist honors outright, but registered a double bogey on No. 3 (par 5, 498 yards), his last hole, after blocking his drive out-of-bounds.
Seeding was determined by the order in which scorecards were returned. As a result, Jones occupies the No. 1 spot and faces clubmate Carl Everett tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The Brewer Cup is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., the former president of Pine Valley GC, is a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur Champion and veteran of 42 USGA Championships. He’s captured two Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur Championship titles (1967, 1976), a GAP Senior Amateur Championship crown (1997) and a Senior Player of the Year (1997) as well as countless invitational titles. Four years ago he was recognized for his contributions to the game with the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.
The Brewer Cup is open to Senior players with a handicap index of 7.0 or less.
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 143 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. 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.