Sigel completes opening two rounds at StonewallElverson, Pa.– Frigid temperatures, wet and windy conditions and lower seeds prevailing highlighted the opening day of the 2nd R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship on Monday at Stonewall.
The Sigel draw includes the top 31 players from the year prior’s William C. Fownes Player of the Year standings as well as the host club champion. The first two rounds completed play today with the quarterfinals and semifinals set for tomorrow beginning at 7:30 a.m. The final begins at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
One of the most intriguing second-round contests matched Stonewall club champion Jim Simmons, the 32nd and final seed, against Oscar Mestre, Jr., of Overbrook GC, the 16th seed. Simmons made the field take note in the first round with a stunning, 2&1, victory over top-seeded Sean Knapp of Longue Vue Club. Mestre defeated Gregory Adams of Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, 4&3, to advance.
"I figured I had nothing to lose," said Simmons, 45, of Chester Springs, Pa. "It is 31 of the top players in the state and the club champion, me. It was just a pleasure to be paired and play with Sean."
Simmons did more than give a courtesy representation.
He built a 4-up lead on Knapp before closing out the match on No. 17 (par 3, 142 yards) with a birdie. Simmons strong showing continued in round two. He spotted Mestre the first three holes before fighting back with wins on Nos. 4-6 to square the match. After that, the match was either All Square or Mestre, 1-up.
A poor lie on the 19th hole, the par 5, 511-yard first, resulted in a bogey and Simmons’ demise. Mestre recorded a par for the win.
"It was a wonderful experience," said Simmons, the first No. 32 seed to win a match. "Playing on a golf course like this against stellar players."
John Robinson of Commonwealth National GC and Robin McCool supplied their own drama, going 20 holes before a winner was decided.
Robinson made the turn 2-up, but McCool registered two pars on No. 10 (par 4, 395 yards) and No. 11 (par 5, 585 yards) to make the match All Square. Robinson went 1-up on No. 13 (par 4, 455 yards) with a par on a 5-wood from 212 yards that he hit to 15 feet. McCool responded with a par on No. 16 (par 4, 463 yards) to draw the match even. It stayed that way in the howling winds and drenching conditions until a par by Robinson on the second playoff hole. Robinson punched an 8-iron to the back of the green and two putted.
"I’m real happy, I got a new driver and 3-wood on Friday and fixed a couple of bad swing mistakes," said Robinson, 47, North Wales, Pa., who also needed an extra hole to win his first-round match with Dave Brown of St. Clair CC. "It was so windy, rainy and freezing cold, it became a war of wills."
In other news defending champion Kyle Davis of Inniscrone GC fell in the second round to Brian Corbett of Huntsville GC, 6&5.
In all, the lowest seed in 13 of the 24 matches played advanced. Only two of the top 10 seeds remain.
Joe Corsi of Totteridge GC, Davis of Inniscrone GC and Glenn Smeraglio of Yardley CC all scored decisive opening-round victories.
Corsi defeated Jud Gemmill of Lancaster Host Farm Resort, the 2004 Pennsylvania Publinks champion, 6&5, and Davis upended Jeff Frazier of Carlisle CC, 6&5, as well. Davis, a senior at Unionville High School, registered two birdies and two pars to take the first four holes and cruise to victory. Smeraglio, too, was never challenged, defeating Chris Kovaly of Deer Run GC.
Arnold Cutrell of Totteridge GC also needed 19 holes to pull out a victory. Cutrell stopped Mike Danner of Lu Lu CC. In the Cutrell/Danner match, no player had a greater advantage than one hole.
Cutrell pulled All Square on No. 16 (par 4, 463 yards) with a par, left a birdie chance short on No. 17 (par 3, 142 yards) for the lead and then watched Danner make a great up and down from 20 yards to halve No. 18 (par 4, 451 yards). On No. 1 (par 5, 511 yards), the first extra hole, both Cutrell and Danner went for the green in two. Cutrell landed on the right fringe and Danner in the left bunker. Cutrell two putted for birdie and Danner failed to get up and down.
"If you don’t play well from the start, you are in trouble with this field," said Cutrell. "From tee to green this course is straight forward, but the greens are really tough to read."