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21st Sigel Preview

Karl Frisk Set to Defend His Title at the 21st Sigel Match Play Championship


Karl Frisk will attempt to defend his title. No easy task! When the 21st version of the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s (PAGA) R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship gets underway at Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown, Pa., Monday July 8, Frisk will attempt to become only the third back-to-back champion in the event’s history.

The championship will consist of 36 holes of stroke play on the first day leading to the top 16 players advancing to match play Tuesday and Wednesday, July 9-10, to determine the winner. The competition will be contested over Sunnehanna’s tough 6,880-yard, A.W. Tillinghast design.

Highly-decorated amateur Nathan Smith (Pinecrest Country Club), a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, respectively, to add to his impressive Sigel resume which includes six titles and two runner-up finishes.

Greensburg Country Club’s Arnie Cutrell, another player with vast amateur success, is a three-time Sigel winner including consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006 and won again in 2008. Cutrell posted runner-up showings in 2012 and 2015.

A year ago, Frisk (Outdoor Country Club) advanced through the two rounds of stroke play at West Shore Country Club as one of only 17 players at or under par and then won four-straight matches dispensing of Elmhurst Country Club’s Billy Pabst 1-up in the match play round of 16 and PAGA individual member Colin Smith 2-up in the quarters.

He followed up with wins over the Carlisle Country Club duo of Brady Davidson and the 2021 Pennsylvania Amateur champion, John Peters 5 & 4 and 1-up in the semis and finals, respectively.

From there, the 2024 field is probably better - experienced, successful, talented, younger and deeper providing the ingredients for some tremendous golf. In addition to Frisk, Nathan Smith, Davidson, Colin Smith, and Pabst all return. Along with them, the 2022 Sigel champion, Brian Isztwan (Huntingdon Valley Country Club), Nathan Piatt (Oakmont Country Club), who recently won the 2024 Western Pennsylvania Golf Association championship, will also compete.

Add to that, Rocco Salvitti (Oakmont Country Club), this year’s WPGA runner-up, Sean Knapp (Hannastown Country Club), the 2022 WPGA Amateur winner, Rick Stimmel (Connoquenessing Country Club), PAGA’s reigning Senior Player of the Year, Calen Sanderson (Jericho National Golf Club), the 2023 PAGA Player of the Year, Eric Williams (Glenmaura National Golf Club), the 2014 Sigel champion, Zach Dilcher, the 2023 PAGA Mid-Am titlist….the list goes on! This might be the best field in the 21-year history of the event. The host club, Sunnehanna, established in 1923, is well known for hosting outstanding amateur events and players. Annually, the club welcomes some of the top amateur golfers from throughout the world to the highly acclaimed Sunnehanna Amateur.

The tournament bearing his name honors Sigel, recognized as one of the best all-time amateur players, who was a member of nine-consecutive U.S. Walker Cup teams, served as playing captain of two Walker Cup teams, holds the record for most Walker Cup appearances and points won, 11 Pennsylvania Amateur championships, two U.S. Amateur championships, a British Amateur title among a list of many other accomplishments. He also was the recipient of the USGA’s Bob Jones Award for distinguished sportsmanship. And, appropriately, he won three Sunnehanna Amateur titles.

DICK’s Sporting Goods is the tournament sponsor.