Three-Peat for Cutrell in Art Wall
Four-time Champion Arnie Cutrell (right) poses with Senior Champion and Runner-Up David Brown
EXETER, Pa. - It is appropriate that that in the week that saw the loss of the greatest golfer in Pennsylvania history, Arnold Palmer, that another by the same name captured the Pennsylvania Golf Association's final championship of the year, as Greensburg Country Club's Arnold "Arnie" Cutrell won the event at Fox Hill Country Club. This is Cutrell's third consecutive victory in the championship, which was presented by Allegheny Health Network. However, it wasn't easy, as Cutrell held off PAGA Individual Member David Brown in a playoff after both tied for first place after 36 holes with a score of 140 (2-under).
"Yesterday was the first time I saw the course and I shot 3-under par," Cutrell said of the A.W. Tillinghast design. "So I figured if I kept it around even par, that would be good enough."
But Cutrell's score of 72 (+1) in the second round wasn't good enough to win outright, as Brown fired an excellent round of 68 to force a playoff.
"Dave played exceptionally well today," Cutrell said. "We had a scoreboard out on the course and when I saw he birdied No. 17 I knew I needed one more birdie to win it."
So heading to the 18th hole, Cutrell was tied for the lead and knew that a birdie on the 377-yard par-4 would mean a third consecutive Art Wall title. After hitting his approach to the front fringe, Cutrell faced about a 30-foot putt up the hill. The putt looked good but rolled right over the edge, forcing the competitors to go to a sudden death playoff.
The players returned to the par-4 first hole (393 yards) for the start of the playoff. Cutrell's tee shot was safely in the fairway, but Brown's went into the right rough. Brown's approach then landed on the back fringe, about 18 feet from the cup. Cutrell followed that up with an outstanding approach to about six feet from the flag. Knowing Cutrell's proximity to the hole, Brown went for it all, but ran his putt past the cup by about four feet. Cutrell then calmly stepped up and sank the birdie from the hole high location. With the birdie, Cutrell became the first person to win the event three times in a row and captured his record fourth Art Wall championship overall, as he also won in 2015 (Schuylkill Country Club), 2014 (Rolling Green Golf Club) and 2011 (Bedford Springs).
"It's a great feeling, and I was really fortunate to win this in that playoff," Cutrell said.
For Brown, despite coming up short in the playoff, he could take solace in the fact that his outstanding 36-hole performance earned him the Senior Division championship.
"I just wanted to come out and try to make a couple of putts today," Brown said. "And fortunately, a few of them went in."
After an opening round 72, Brown made five birdies against just two bogeys en route to the excellent second round score of 68. The two-round total of 140 was good enough to best Joseph Weiscarger of Wyoming Valley Country Club, who shot a 142 after a second round 74.
The team competition, best 2 of 3 scores for members of the same club in Championship and Senior divisions, was won by the team from Wyoming Valley comprised of Scott Barth, Joe Weiscarger, and Art Brunn.
Donatoni dominates Super-Senior
Don Donatoni poses with the Super-Senior Art Wall trophy
In the Super Senior Division, White Manor Country Club's Don Donatoni entered the day tied with Lookaway Golf Club's Thomas Mallouk for the lead after opening round scores of 72. But by the time they made the turn, Donatoni had a five-shot lead and never looked back, shooting a 73 (+2) to win the championship by five strokes over Punxsutawney Country Club's John Benson with a score of 145 (+3).
"Fortunately, I had a little bit of course knowledge," said Donatoni, whose son is a member at Fox Hill. "I was able to keep the ball on the right side of the hole, and under the hole. Even if I had a 30-footer up the hill, I'd rather deal with that than a 10-footer downhill."
Donatoni praised the Tillinghast layout after the victory.
"The golf course was in really great shape and the greens were perfect," Donatoni said. "If you had the right line, with the right pace, you would make some putts.
The shot of the day came from Rich Valley Golf's Jeffrey Austin, who aced the long par-3 13th hole from 214 yards.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Fox Hill Country Club for their hospitality during the championship.