Rick Stimmel and Brian Rothaus win Senior Titles
Stimmel, Rothaus surge to win Pa Senior and Super Senior Titles
For Immediate Release……………August 10, 2023
Presto, Pa-The final round of the 2023 Pennsylvania Senior amateur featured a dream pairing of arguably the best senior amateurs in the state. Following opening rounds of 4 under par 68, Dave Brown (St. Clair Country Club) and Sean Knapp (Hannastown Country Club) sat atop the leaderboard with Rick Stimmel lurking 2 shots behind. On a windy but otherwise perfect day at the spectacular Jack Nicklaus designed Club at Nevillewood, the three produced some amazing golf and drama. But it was Stimmel’s three birdies over the last four holes that drew him into a tie with Knapp forcing a sudden death playoff won by Connoquenessing country club’s Stimmel.
In the super senior division, (ages 65 and over) Brian Rothaus (Five Ponds Golf Club) made seven birdies in his final round enroot to a 2 under par 70 for 146 to overtake Don Ericson III (Indiana Country Club) who stumbled coming in with a double bogey, bogey, bogey finish in posting 76 and three shots back at 149 and in a tie for third with defending champion Duke Delcher (Sandy Run Country Club) and Tom Hyland (Moselem Springs). Gary Van Sickle (Treesdale Golf and Country Club) finished second at 148. Rothaus had been runner-up in the past two championships.
The final senior division paring started out tough for the competitors as the windy conditions played havoc with club selection. Knapp bogeyed one and two then made three birdies in a row before going out in one over 37. Stimmel’s 37 and Brown’s 38 left Knapp with a one-shot lead over Brown and a two-shot advantage over Stimmel heading to the tenth tee. All three players were even on the back nine through the 14th and Knapp’s one-shot lead over Brown seemed secure when his approach from over 200 yards out on the par five fifteenth caught the green leaving him with about 40 feet for eagle. Browns tee shot found the bunker and was forced to layup but then the long driving Stimmel had just a mid-iron for his second and his high drawing shot towards a back left pin look good until a gust of wind knocked it down into a deep bunker in line with the pin. While it looked like a possible two-putt birdie for Knapp might give him a 3 shot advantage over Stimmel and two shots over Brown who made par with three holes to play, Stimmel’s bunker shot stopped 18 inches from the hole for a tap in birdie. Knapp two putted for his birdie and the threesome headed to the 16th with Knapp clinging to a two-shot lead over both Brown and Stimmel.
One the tricky par 4 sixteenth, Stimmel’s approach shot stopped inches from the cup for another birdie while bot Knapp and Brown missed their longer birdie attempts drawing Stimmel to within one shot of Knapp heading to the par three seventeenth. Both Knapp and Stimmel’s tee shots were hole high with Stimmel on the same line as Knapp but ten feet closer. Brown two putted for par and Knapp’s birdie attempt just missed but Stimmel gained knowledge from his read and knocked in his birdie to tie Knapp with Brown trailing by two shots.
On the par four eighteenth, both Knapp and Stimmel hit the green but were left with about 60 feet for Stimmel and 45 feet for Knapp to a back left hole location. Stimmel’s first putt missed hole high but about 6 feet right. Knapp’s approach putt had a good line but rolled past by about 7 feet. When Knapp missed his par putt Stimmel’s putt to win outright slid left of the hole forcing a playoff. Brown stumbled to a double bogey on the 18th.
The sudden death playoff went back to the picturesque eighteenth. Knapp’s tee shot just trickled into the right rough but with a good angle to the hole location but a tough lie forced his second shot short and left finding the penalty area opening the door for Stimmel whose approach landed just off the back of the green with a difficult downhill chip. Knapp’s fourth shot following a drop from the penalty area went over the pin onto the back fringe leaving him with a 20-foot putt for bogey. Stimmel’s chip rolled past the hole leaving a 15-footer for par. When Knapp’s bogey putt missed Stimmel was left with a tap in for the winning bogey.
It was the 64th playing of the Senior Amateur Championship. The players and the Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank The Club at Nevillewood for their exceptional cooperation and service in conducting this championship on their wonderful and immaculately manicured golf course. Thanks as well to DICK’S Sporting Goods for sponsorship of the event.
Founded in 1909, The Pennsylvania Golf Association (PAGA) is the authoritative body of amateur golf in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In that role, PAGA promotes growth, preserves traditions and protects the integrity of the game, in accordance with the rules adopted by the United States Golf Association. The PAGA conducts 18 State Championships for Men and Women. For more information go to www.pagolf.org