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Cutrell, Smeraglio set to meet for Sigel title

  Elverson, Pa.–East meets West for the 2005 R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship title.

  Arnold Cutrell of Totteridge GC stopped Oscar Mestre, Jr. of Overbrook GC, 2&1, and Glenn Smeraglio of Yardley CC defeated Paul Schlachter of the Club at Nevillewood, 6&4, on Tuesday to advance to Wednesday’s final at Stonewall.

  Both players are in search of their first Pennsylvania State Championship.

  Smeraglio, 44, is a resident of Newtown, Pa. Cutrell, 39, resides in Greensburg, Pa.

  "It’s been a grind, but I’m happy," said Smeraglio. "I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’ve played four really good matches and I got one more to go."

  Added Cutrell, who has placed in the top 10 in a dozen or so state championships but has failed to record a victory, "I want to win a state event. I’ve been playing in these events since I was 11 years old and have never won one."

  The Mestre-Cutrell match took its decisive turn on the devilish and difficult eighth (par 4, 439 yards). Mestre lied 195 yards to the flag for his second shot with Cutrell having to chip out from the left fescue following a poor drive. However, Mestre’s position of power turned in a hurry. He drilled a 19-degree rescue unexpectedly into the right fescue behind the green.

  ‘I thought I hit it perfectly," said Mestre, 45, of Berwyn, Pa. "I thought I was going to be pin high in the middle of the green and the official tells me to hit a provisional. I asked why. It rattled me a little bit."

  Mestre found his ball but it was lodged in the fescue six inches in the air. His club passed under the ball on his first attempt and his second effort saw the ball drift all the way off the green. Cutrell made a five and suddenly Mestre found himself All Square.

  A poor drive on the lengthy ninth hole (par 3, 219 yards) by Mestre watched Cutrell go 1-up. A solid two putt from 45 feet by Cutrell on No. 10 (par 4, 395 yards) coupled with a Mestre three putt pushed his bulge to 2-up. Mestre never recovered.

  "He played very well. He was very much in control," said Mestre. "He never really gave me another opening."

  Smeraglio and his consistency eventually wore out a worn out Schlachter, 56, of Pittsburgh.

  Smeraglio registered a birdie on No. 3 (par 5, 564 yards), a 20-footer up the hill, and a solid par on the treacherous downhill par 3, 5th hole (178 yards) to go 2-up. Schlachter earned one back on No. 6 (par 4, 442 yards), one of the most demanding driving holes on the course, but Smeraglio regained a 2-up advantage when he made a solid two putt stretching 35 feet from the top level to the hole on the bottom tier, to regain a 2-up advantage. He extended that lead to three holes when his 20-foot uphill birdie on the challenging ninth (par 3, 219 yards) and then to four on No. 10 (par 4, 395 yards) with a par after Schlachter failed to get up and down.

  On the 13th (par 4, 455 yards), Smeraglio made a magnificent up and down from the left rough and Schlachter missed a 10-footer for a halve. Smeraglio closed it out on No. 14 (par 4, 392 yards) with a conceded par.

  "Glenn played wonderfully," said Schlachter, the 2004 Pennsylvania State Senior Amateur Championship winner. "But maybe it was too much in too short of time. I lost everything. I couldn’t hit it. Give Glenn credit. He played steady. He didn’t give me any openings. He got me 4 down after 10 and that was it."

In the quarterfinals:

    • Mestre closed out Christian Davis, 21, of Glenmaura National GC, 2&1. Mestre trailed 2-down after three holes, but capitalized on early Davis driving miscues to grab a 1-up lead after six holes. He never trailed in the match again.
    • Cutrell stopped John Robinson, 47, of Commonwealth National GC, 2-up. Cutrell trailed 2-down after 11 holes, but parred No. 12 (par 4, 346 yards) and birdied the difficult 13th (par 4, 455 yards) after dropping his approach shot to 10 feet. A three on No. 15 (par 3, 187 yards) gave Cutrell the lead for good. Robinson had a six-footer birdie chance on No. 17 (par 3, 110 yards) to square the match, but watched his opportunity slide right.
    • Schlachter defeated Brian Corbett, 45, of Huntsville GC, 4&2. Schlachter registered a par on the first hole (par 5, 511 yards) for the early lead, an advantage he never relinquished.
    • Smeraglio birdied the first extra hole – he dropped a 56-degree wedge to five feet – to upend Joe Corsi, 49, of Totteridge GC, 1-up, in the most tumultuous match of the morning. Both players were erratic with their tee balls at times.
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