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2024 Senior Match Play Day 1

Bryan Kast

EASTON, Pa. – The first day of match play in the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s 17th (Men’s) and 4th (Women’s) Annual Senior Match Play Championships concluded after exciting competition in four divisions at Northampton Country Club.

In the Men’s Senior division, last year’s runner-up Rick Stimmel (Connoquenessing CC) picked up a pair of wins on the day – 3 & 2 over LedgeRock GC’s Don Uhrig and 3 & 1 over LuLu CC’s Glenn Smeraglio (who had bested Olde Homestead GC’s David Bilchar in 19 holes in the opening round.)

Stimmel, the No. 1 seed in this year’s bracket, matches up with Butler CC’s Bill Rosemeyer (the No. 13 seed) in the semifinals. Rosemeyer defeated Greensburg CC’s Arnie Cutrell 2 & 1 to open the day, then moved on with a 4 & 3 win over Lehigh CC’s Bob Beck.

In the other half of the bracket, defending match play champion Sean Knapp got by Saucon Valley CC’s Robert Spellman (1 up) to begin his day but was beaten in the quarterfinals by Heidelberg CC’s Chris Fieger Sr., 2 & 1. The No. 7-seeded Fieger Sr., keeping the momentum from his third-place finish a week ago at the PA Golf Senior Open, matches up against Allegheny Country Club’s Bob Crnjarich in the semis. Crnjarich, the No. 3 seed in the bracket, opened with a 5 & 3 win over Rob Kingston (Brookside CC) then added a 19 hole victory over David Olexson (Steel Club) to book his spot in the final four.

The Women’s Senior division began in the quarterfinals and narrowed down to a pair of finalists after the first day of competition. Defending champion and top seed Karen Siegel (Commonwealth National GC) picked up a 5 & 3 win over Northampton CC’s Mary Manzo to start her day but was upset in the semifinals by Lawrence Park GC’s Steph Urban, 5 & 4, to deny Siegel’s hopes of back-to-back titles. The other finalist was also upset-minded on the day—as Gulph Mills GC’s Missy Wietlisbach, the No. 7 seed, eliminated No. 2 seed Noreen Mohler (Northampton CC), 2 & 1. Mohler was the 2023 match play runner-up. Wietlisbach then got past Allison Long (Honeybrook GC), 4 & 2, to advance to tomorrow’s final match against Urban.

The top two seeds in the Men’s Super-Senior Bracket need not worry about any upsets – No. 1 seed and defending champ Brian Rothaus (Five Ponds GC) picked up a pair of wins on the day (5 & 4 over Commonwealth National’s Scott Carney and 4 & 3 over Ligonier CC’s Joe Corsi.) His opponent in the semifinals will be Elmhurst CC’s Tom White, who advanced 4 & 2 over No. 4 seed Gregory Osborne (Overlook GC) then 3 & 2 over Keith Williamson (Deer Run GC).

Super-Senior No. 2 seed Michael Capotis was a 1 up winner over Country Club of Scranton’s Brian Corbett, then added another 1 up win over Moselem Springs GC’s Tom Hyland to book his spot in the semis. Capotis will face another bracket-buster in No. 14 seed Larry Martone (Stonewall), who took down No. 3 seed Michael Vassil (CC of Scranton), 3 & 2, then eliminated former match play champion Don Donatoni (White Manor CC), 4 & 3.

The final division of the day, Women’s Super-Senior, uses a unique Threesomes format in which the competitors play individually against each of the other two players over the two-day competition, with point totals for winning the front and back nines and overall match each day being accumulated to choose the champion.

Reigning Super-Senior player of the year Alexandra Frazier (Gulph Mills GC) currently leads the threesome with 4.5 overall points. Former match play champion Barbara Pagana (Huntsville GC) is just behind with 4.0 points, while Gail Heubel (Lawrence Park GC) tallied .5 points after the first day of competition.

Play continues tomorrow in the PA Golf Association’s 17th (Men’s) and 4th (Women’s) Annual Senior Match Play Championships, sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods, at Northampton Country Club in Easton, Pa.