Brown repeats as Senior Amateur champion with impressive showing
By Mike Dudurich • October 11, 2017
Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.
SEWICKLEY – There are many ways to win a golf tournament.
A late-round barrage of birdies, an opponent’s collapse, start-to-finish domination or even a final-hole birdie to back door the title are all possibilities.
And then there’s shooting a 29 on the first nine of a 36-hole event and then trying to keep it in play for the last 27 holes.
Say hello to David Brown, the 2017 West Penn Golf Association Senior Amateur champion.
“I was trying to hold on after that first nine,” Brown, of Ligonier, admitted after following up his opening-round 66 with a 69 on Tuesday at the spectacular Allegheny Country Club. He finished with a 10-shot victory over Bob Paris of Erie, who posted rounds of 73-72.
He was in that position because once he got to the final round with a seven-shot advantage over four other seniors, it was evident nobody in the field was capable of making a serious run at him.
All that stood between Brown and a second Senior Amateur title was Brown.
“I played pretty well today even with trying to be careful,” he said. That strategy was tested early when he found the right greenside bunker on the downhill 208-yard par three.
“When I swung I hit the concrete under the sand,” he said, partially kidding. “The ball flew into the back bunker, I got it out and three putted for six. But I kept it together and made three birdies to finish even on the front.”
The birdies came on the fourth and fifth holes, both of which were from gimme range. He also knocked in a 10-footer on the ninth.
On the back nine, he birdied the 11th, 13th and 15th from 10, 35 and three feet. On the brutish, uphill 408-yard par fourth 16th, Brown opted to go the safe route, accepting a bogey if necessary.
There’s a very steep drop-off on the right side of the fairway and Brown wanted no part of it. He took an iron off the tee, “bunted” it toward the front of the green and hoped to make a hard four.
It turned out to be an easy five, but as he said, “I wanted to take out of bounds out of play,” Brown said. He also made a bogey on 17, but that was, in reality, meaningless.
He now has Senior amateur titles in his first two years as a senior.
It has been a spectacular year for Brown.
He was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame just a couple weeks ago, which is high on any golfer’s list. But he was really good on the golf course this year.
Brown tied for second in the Spring Stroke Play and was sixth in the West Penn Amateur.
On the state level, he won the Senior Match Play, was second to Nathan Smith in the Jay Sigel Match Play, second in the Senior Amateur, losing to an eagle on first playoff hole, and tied for seventh in the Mid-Am.
“Yeah, it was a good year,” the always-humble Brown said. “I played a lot of good golf and I’ve never had a 29 before. Today is my last event of the year, however. It’s time to get back to work.”
In the Super-Senior Amateur, Paul Schlachter of Bridgeville, a five-time winner of the Senior Amateur, posted rounds of 70-68 to win by three shots over Dave DeNezza of Greensburg.
Tuesday’s event was the final competition of the West Penn Golf Association’s season.
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.