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Sept. 4, 2018

Christopher Fieger, Sr. puts on his glove on No. 12 (par 4, 427 yards) tee.

Clauson, Fieger lead sweltering 48th Senior Amateur at Riverton

  CINNAMINSON, N.J. — A pair of Christophers christened their names atop the 48th Senior Amateur Championship Tuesday at a sweltering Riverton Country Club (par 71, 6,386 yards).

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  Lu Lu Country Club’s Christopher Clauson, runner-up in the rain-shortened event a year ago, and Philadelphia Publinks GA’s Christopher Fieger, Sr., a Senior Division rookie, carded respective 3-under-par 68s to share the tournament’s 18-hole lead. Running Deer Golf Club’s Joseph Russo sits a shot back following a 2-under-par 69.

  The trio will tee off tomorrow at 1:50 p.m.

  “It’s the first time I’ve played well all year. It felt like the first time I’ve had control of my golf ball,” Clauson, 62, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “I took a lesson yesterday with Scott Yurgalevich at Lu Lu, the Polish prince, for a half hour, and it was the best lesson I’ve had in a long time. As far as instruction goes, Mike Dynda has helped me with my putting this year. He gave me a putter that he helped design called Neo Sync. Today, I drove the ball as well as I could drive it and made putts.”

  “There’s a lot of competition out here with a lot of great players. It feels good to put up a number, especially after the way I started,” Fieger, 55, of Denver, Pa., said. “I try to teach my boys (Christopher, Jr. and Daniel) that you never give up; you hang in there. If you keep hitting quality shots, you’re going to make some birdies. The greens were a little soft, but they were in great shape. You can make some putts out here.”

  Putts for red aplenty among the co-leaders — 11 birdies and an eagle to be exact.

  The par 5, 476-yard 17th hole served as a launchpad for both. Clauson, who started on the back nine, stood at 2 over before powering a 3-wood greenside left. He then knocked a delicate chip to six feet for birdie — the first of three straight conversions. On No. 18 (par 4, 354 yards), Clauson lifted a wedge 106 yards to 25 feet and buried the uphill putt. A 90-yard wedge to 10 feet translated into a 3 on the next hole (par 4, 358 yards), too.

  Fieger, who started on the front, slammed a 5-iron 190 yards to 12 feet on No. 17. He checked the line from both sides, addressed his golf ball and issued a fist pump once the eagle roll rattled in the bottom of the cup. The moment juxtaposed an aforementioned shaky start (bogey-bogey): ball in a divot on No. 1, three-putt on No. 2 (par 4, 383 yards).

  A three-putt bogey on No. 15 (par 4, 414 yards) rounded out the rare Fieger miscues on this day. He inked four birdies in between. On No. 5 (par 4, 357 yards), Fieger, who won the Philadelphia Publinks GA’s Philadelphia Open Amateur earlier this season, smacked a sand wedge 90 yards to six feet. A driver-rescue combination presented a straightforward chip shot — at least it seemed that way.

  “I hit what I thought was a good chip shot, but all of the chip shots were hitting and just stopping. I was fortunate to make a 30-footer [for birdie] there,” Fieger, who works in sales, said.

  Fieger made it a back-to-back birdie affair by sending an 8-iron 160 yards to eight feet on No. 10 (par 4, 422 yards). He swept in a five-footer on the par 4, 382-yard 13th hole following a crisp pitching wedge from 126 yards.

  A back-to-back birdie sequence also aided Clauson’s quest Tuesday. Standing two shots back of Fieger at the time, he drilled a 9-iron 130 yards to the back of the No. 5 (par 4, 357 yards) green. Clauson barely touched a 15-footer, which subsequently snuck into the hole. “The best 4-iron I’ve ever hit” resulted in a 15-footer for birdie on the par 3, 204-yard No. 6.

  “It was such a surprise to come out here and play well,” Clauson, a contractor, said. “I don’t have any expectations for tomorrow. The course is definitely gettable, depending on where [Golf Association of Philadelphia officials] put the flagsticks.”

  Whereas Clauson unearthed a competitive revelation in an otherwise tepid campaign, Fieger is in the midst of a steady Senior debut. He won the GAP Senior Four-Man Team alongside Buck Jones, Brian Rothaus and Jim Yenser and posted a Top-10 finish in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship presented by LECOM.

  “I’ve been hitting the ball solid. My putting’s been up-and-down this summer,” Fieger said. “I’ll keep doing what I’m doing tomorrow. Fairways and greens are usually what my strength is.”

  Russo is within Senior Amateur striking distance and in the Senior Silver Cross Award lead. He holds a three-stroke lead over two-time reigning winner Glenn Smeraglio of Lu Lu Country Club entering the final leg. The Senior Silver Cross Award is presented to the player with the lowest aggregate score in the Francis B. Warner Cup (Gross), Frank H. Chapman Cup (Gross) and Senior Amateur Championship.

  “Fortunately, I drove the ball phenomenal all day. I drove it long. I drove it straight,” Russo, 60, of Washington Township, N.J., said. “If I could just do the same thing I did today — I only missed two greens, then I’ll be in good shape.”

NOTES — The Springhaven Club’s Rich Thon aced the par 3, 154-yard 16th hole with a choke-down 5-iron. It marked his third career hole-in-one and second in a GAP competition (No. 8 at White Manor Country Club during the 2011 Joseph H. Patterson Cup).

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of 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.

Senior Division results

Name, club

Score

Christopher Fieger, Sr., Philadelphia Publinks GA

68

Christopher Clauson, Lu Lu Country Club

68

Joseph Russo, Running Deer Golf Club

69

Eric Lamm, Schuylkill Country Club

70

Thomas Hyland, Little Mill Country Club

72

Kenneth Phillips, Lancaster Country Club

72

Joseph Roeder, Little Mill Country Club

72

Chris Smedley, Hartefeld National

72

Bob Arthur, Tavistock Country Club

73

Scott Mayne, LedgeRock Golf Club

73

Jeffrey Allen, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club

73

Bob Beck, Lehigh Country Club

73

Gregory Buliga, Yardley Country Club

73

Glenn Smeraglio, Lu Lu Country Club

73

Mark Hutchinson, Lookaway Golf Club

74

Doug Jones, Little Mill Country Club

74

John Alterman, Commonwealth National Golf Club

74

Gary Daniels, Applebrook Golf Club

74

Rand Mendez, Fieldstone Golf Club

74

Brian Rothaus, Philmont Country Club

74

Gary Smith, Pine Valley Golf Club

74

Michael Vassil, Country Club of Scranton

74

Duke Delcher, Sandy Run Country Club

75

Robert Gill, Fox Hill Country Club

75

David Lees, Metedeconk National Golf Club

75

Steve Meyer, Rolling Green Golf Club

75

Patrick O'Brien, North Hills Country Club

75

Carlos Ochoa, Little Mill Country Club

75

David West, Philadelphia Publinks GA

75

Timothy Burns, Country Club of Scranton

76

Michael Fagan, Philadelphia Publinks GA

76

Greg Guyer, Ph.D., Philadelphia Cricket Club

76

Dennis Konczyk, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale

76

William McGuinness, Tavistock Country Club

76

Randy Mitchell, Wilmington Country Club

76

Ray Pyontek, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

76

Michael Quinn, Philadelphia Publinks GA

76

Michael Stanley, Aronimink Golf Club

76

Oscar Mestre, Overbrook Golf Club

76

George Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club

76

Byron Whitman, Berkshire Country Club

76

Bill Boyle, Metedeconk National Golf Club

77

Frank Brigidi, III, Philadelphia Cricket Club

77

J. Kirk Luntey, Merion Golf Club

77

Bryan McClaskey, Merchantville Country Club

77

Tim Sindorf, Laurel Creek Country Club

77

Andy Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club

77

Richard Atcavage, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

77

Marlin Detweiler, Lancaster Country Club

77

Jim Gavaghan, Commonwealth National Golf Club

77

Alan Wagenschnur, Loch Nairn Golf Club

77

Greg Galtere, Reading Country Club

78

Ed Kahn, Little Mill Country Club

78

Bert Kosup, Lu Lu Country Club

78

Brian Corbett, Country Club of Scranton

78

Craig Kliewer, Lebanon Country Club

78

Jeff Poet, Country Club of York

79

John Ward, Greate Bay Country Club

79

Charles Dowds, III, Applebrook Golf Club

79

Rich Thon, The Springhaven Club

79

Scott Carney, Commonwealth National Golf Club

80

Norman Charlesworth, Running Deer Golf Club

80

Doug Fedoryshyn, Concord Country Club

80

Drew Panebianco, Five Ponds Golf Club

80

Michael Anderson, Philadelphia Cricket Club

81

Jon Stein, McCall Golf & Country Club

81

Patrick Cahill, III, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

82

Timothy Dickens, Five Ponds Golf Club

82

John Kernan, Merchantville Country Club

82

Guy McKeone, Reading Country Club

82

Mark Cubberley, Mercer Oaks Golf Course

82

Thomas Krug, Commonwealth National Golf Club

83

Elliot Sheftel, Lehigh Country Club

83

Gregory Day, Old York Road Country Club

83

Robert Dietrich, Loch Nairn Golf Club

83

Steven Lucas, Wilmington Country Club

85

Gerald Henderson, Blue Bell Country Club

86

Andy Lykon, Makefield Highlands Golf Club

86

Paul Berg, The Springhaven Club

86

Andrew Sterge, Applebrook Golf Club

86

Bob Enders, Running Deer Golf Club

88

Rob Cook, DuPont Country Club

91

Timothy McCabe, Bon Air Country Club

91

John Donnelly, Concord Country Club

WD

Arthur Kania, Jr., Merion Golf Club

WD

Steve Levine, Greate Bay Country Club

WD

Joseph Lewis, Aronimink Golf Club

WD

Grant Liu, Merion Golf Club

WD

Peter Mimmo, Philmont Country Club

WD

Buddy Reed, Loch Nairn Golf Club

WD

Frank Corrado, Jr., Lu Lu Country Club

WD

Thomas Finn, Loch Nairn Golf Club

WD

John Robinson, Lu Lu Country Club

WD

Raymond Thompson, Overbrook Golf Club

WD

Steven Walczak, Wilmington Country Club

WD

Trey Watts, Jericho National Golf Club

WD

Ron Weaver, Bent Creek Country Club

WD

Todd Anderson, Wilmington Country Club

WD

 

WD — withdrawal

 

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