Brown Stymies Scranton for Art Wall Crown
SCRANTON, Pa. – Lu Lu Country Club’s Michael Brown, Jr. played outstanding golf over 36 holes, finishing as the only player under par and winning the 15th Art Wall, Jr. Memorial Championship at the historic Country Club of Scranton. Brown fired rounds of 71-72 to finish at 1-under par 143 and claim the trophy in the event, which was presented by LECOM. Brown had a two-shot lead after Monday’s opening round and played smart, sound golf on Tuesday to seal the win.
“I guess my game plan today was to play conservatively on the par 4s and par 3s and try to attack the par 5s, unless I had a short club in my hand,” said Brown. “The greens are so extreme here and the wind was up enough today to where I did end up playing conservative on those holes.”
The plan worked out well, as Brown exploited the par 5s during the 36 holes, finishing those at 4-under par in the event.
“I knew that I had to make my hay on the par 5s here because I seemed to giving shots back on the other holes.”
Brown had a three-shot lead as he made the turn in the second round, and he promptly birdied both No. 11 and No. 12 to practically put the championship out of reach.
“After I birdied No. 12, I started to feel pretty comfortable and just tried to hit the middle of the green and two-putt,” Brown said.
Helping Brown out along the way were some clutch up and downs, including on the par-4 15th hole. There, he hit his tee shot into the left bunker and pitched out, leaving himself 54 yards to the flag for his third shot. He took advantage of a shot he’s familiar with and pitched it close, leaving a short putt for par that he converted to remain on top.
“It’s a shot that I practice a lot but I hit that absolutely perfect and at the right time,” Brown stated. “I was happy to see that one get close because that green is so tough to putt.”
Another par save on No. 16 was equally impressive, as Brown was at the front of the green with a back hole location.
“My iron shot into the green stopped a lot quicker than I expected and I ended up with a double breaker from about a mile away but I got the speed right, luckily,” said Brown, whose lag nearly went in and left him another short putt that he converted for par.
On the par-3 17th, Brown blistered a 4-iron that went further than he expected and landed in the rough, but he showed his resolve by chipping on to the green and then draining a 25-footer for the par.
That left just the par-5 18th, where Brown hit a perfect drive to set up the clinching par putt.
“I was trying to figure out earlier in the day how to get to that flag and the only way I could figure was to hit a high fade and that drive was the only way to give myself a chance to do that,” Brown said.
Finishing in second place at 148 (+4) was Pinecrest Country Club’s Mike Marron. Hannastown Golf Club’s Kevin Fajt and Honesdale Golf Club’s Eric Williams tied for third at 6-over par 150. PAGA Individual Member David Blichar, who won the Senior Division, tied for fifth with 2017 event winner Dan Brown of Pine Meadows Golf Complex at 7-over par.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Country Club of Scranton for the hospitality in hosting the event this week. Thanks also to LECOM for sponsorship of the championship.