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Matt Barto claims 50th EDGA Match Play Title

Posted: June 19th, 2022

For Matt Barto it seemed like a long wait. In his first EDGA Match Play in 2019 he made it to the finals only to lose to Drew Deimel. The next year he was right back in the finals, this time losing to Ryan Peters at Whispering Woods. Last year he lost to Jon Merriott in the quarter finals at Jon’s home course, Lawrence Park. Three tournaments and his only losses were against the eventual champions. If he couldn’t pull off the win today it would have been 4 for 4 but he was determined to make sure that wasn’t the result in today’s final against Alex Weir.

Alex has been dealing with his own near misses. In 2018 and again in 2020 he lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champions, Deimel and Peters and last year lost in the finals to Jon Merriott 2 up. In his only other EDGA Match Play, he lost in the quarter finals to Barto in 2019.

The match was contested at Downing with cool and somewhat windy conditions. The match went back and forth with both players holding 1 up leads. Both players opened with birdies but an errant approach by Weir on 2 led to the first lead of the day. After matching pars on the next two holes it was Barto’s errant shot on the par 3 5th that led to a bogey and the match was back to even. Both players birdied both 6 and 7 and Barto continued his string, converting a 20 footer for birdie on 8 and another 1 up lead. That was short lived as Weir closed the front nine with a sand save for par while Barto three putted from the fringe and, at the halfway point, the match was even.

Barto found a little trouble with both his tee shot and his second while Weir calmly hit driver and an iron to Downing’s par 5 tenth. With Barto unable to salvage par Weir’s short birdie putt was conceded and he had his first lead of the day. Both players faces testing par saves on 11 but both converted. When Weir’s tee shot on 12 found the right trees it appeared that Barto was in position to re-tie the match. Weir punched out just short of the green and then chipped to about 5 feet. Barto had left his approach on the front fringe and his first putt to the front pin left him short … and still away. When he missed the short putt Weir was in position to take the first 2 up lead of the match. Unfortunately, he too missed and his lead remained at 1 up.

On the short par 5 thirteen it was Barto who would miss right but played a fabulous iron to the green, leaving himself only about 12 feet for eagle. Weir too had iron into the green but missed left. His short-sided pitch left him about 6 feet for birdie but Barto canned his eagle putt and the match was again tied. On 14 both players left themselves with good chances for birdie but both missed. On the long par 3 15 again both players hit quality shots leaving mid-range putts for birdie. Both missed but it was Weir’s miss that left him with a 4 foot tester to keep the match tied, a putt that he was not able to convert so the match headed to Downing’s difficult finishing holes with Barto ahead by 1.

After long drives into the wind both players were in excellent position with about 110 yards to make that needed birdie. Both players hit similar shots, well short of pin high and to the left leaving both of them unable to convert that birdies that they so sorely needed.

Downing’s 17th was playing difficult as a left-to-right wind made the long dogleg left a formidable challenge. Barto was able to keep his tee shot left of the tree line on the right but Weir was not. Barto’s tree troubles were not as severe as he was able to clear the left side of the tree in front of him but his shot missed the green slightly to the left. Weir faced either a long, low punch shot or a dramatic hook to avoid his tree troubles. He opted for the hook but, with his ball fighting the wind, he ended up well right of the green on the short side. He attempted a risky flop shot fearing that it was necessary with the match in the balance but he didn’t pull it off and was still short of the green on the right side.

Barto hit a bit of a substandard chip leaving himself a good 10 feet breathing just a bit of life into Weir’s hopes. However, facing yet another delicate short sided chip he was unable to get his 4th closer than Barto’s 3rd. When he was unable to convert his saving putt Barto was left with 2 putts to win the match. He would need only one, rolling his putt right into the center, ending the match 2&1.

Full scores and tournament results are available here.

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New Champion to be crowned in Match Play

Posted: June 18th, 2022

The 50th edition of the EDGA Match Play will feature a new EDGA major champion. That was a result of the 4-time major and 3-time match play champion, Drew Deimel falling in the semi-finals in sudden death. Deimel had an opportunity to move into solo 5th on the all-time EDGA major championship list as well as gaining a 4th match play title which would have moved him one victory closer to the record of 5 held by Ron Coleman and Dave Ciacchini. But it was not to be for Deimel this year.

Deimel was defeated by Alex Weir on the second hole of sudden death. Weir is no stranger to EDGA sudden death having lost the 2021 EDGA Amateur in sudden death just 10 months ago.  Weir began quickly going 2 up with birdies on the first 2 holes. Deimel got one back on 3 before tieing the next 3 holes. Weir’s birdie on 7 got him back to 2 up and that is how the front nine finished.

Deimel was the hot one at the start of the second nine winning 10 and 11 with a birdie and a par to halve the match. The players then tied the next 4 holes. Weir’s birdie on 16 gave him a short-lived lead, one he would relinquish on the next hole with a bogey. Both parred the 18th sending the match to extra holes. The first was tied with a par and the second was won by Weir with a par sending him to his second consecutive match play final. He lost last year at Lawrence Park on the final hole to Jon Merriott.

The other semi-final match was a battle between two former 2-time EDGA Match Play runners up. Like in the other match Matt Barto birdied the first 2 holes to take a two up lead but, with a birdie on 3, Mike Wolfe took one of those holes right back. They too tied the next 3 holes before Barto, like Weir, added one to his lead with a birdie on 7. Barto would also win the 9th to increase his lead to 3. When Wolfe faltered with a bogey on 10 the lead moved to 4 for Barto. After 3 halved holes Wolfe was finally able to cut into that lead with a birdie on 14 only to give that back on the 16th when the match was dormie. Barto claimed the match 4&2 and is now a finalist for the 3rd time in the last 4 years. He was defeated by Deimel in 2019 at Lake View and by Ryan Peters at Whispering Woods in 2020.

The final match tees off at 10:00 at Downing to determine the EDGA’s newest major champion.

Prizes for the top 16 will be available at the Downing pro shop after the completion of the event tomorrow.

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Semi-finals set for 50th Match Play

Posted: June 17th, 2022

A long, two match day was completed at Downing today with four of Erie’s elite golfers advancing to Saturday’s semi-final matches.

The second round matches were contested on Friday morning with the opening match pitting the defending champion, Jon Merriott against 3-time champion Drew Deimel. Deimel jumped to an early lead with 3 birdies in his first four holes and went on to make 5 more birdies to complete 14 holes in 6-under par to eliminate the defending champ 5&4.

Both Pat Arrigo and Alex Weir used 4&2 scores to eliminate their opponents. Arrigo defeating Mark Majewski and Weir beating T.J. Mitchell. The upper half of the bracket was completed when 3-time champion Ed Podufal slipped by Jesse Yates on the first hole of sudden death.

In the lower bracket qualifying medalist Mike Wolfe fought back from an early deficit against Sal Vella and closed out the match on hole 16. Vella took holes 4, 5, and 6 to take a 2-up lead but Wolfe strung 4 hole wins together on holes 12 through 15  to take control of the match. 2013 Champ Ted Grassi, III also used a late run in defeating his opponent, Phil Pedano. Grassi won holes 15, 16, and 17 to close out the match 3&1.

Two-time runner-up Matt Barto also made a late run to take down long hitting Mike Newcomer 2&1. Newcomer made birdies on 11, 13 and 14 to edge ahead 1 up before Barto won holes 15, 16 and 17 with pars to finish off the match. In the final match of the morning round Dave Spitzer bounced back from a first hole bogey and won 6 of the next 12 holes to go 5 up. Zac Bihler would take the 14th with a birdie but then drop the 15th with a bogey leaving Spitzer the 5&3 victor.

The quarter-finals teed off just after noon with Deimel taking on Arrigo. There were only 4 holes tied in the match with Deimel winning 8 holes, half of them with birdies while Arrigo claimed 4 holes, also with birdies on half of them. Arrigo was only in the lead after the first hole and he was finally closed out by Deimel 4&2.

In the first of two matches between Kahkwa Club members, Alex Weir and Ed Podufal tied most of the holes they played. Weir opened with 2 birdies to grab the early lead, Podufal would cut that lead in half on the sixth and Weir came back to capture 11 and 12 with 3’s to go 3 up. They tied the remaining 4 holes where the match ended on 16, 3&2.

The other Kahkwa only match had Wolfe against Grassi in a match that Wolfe would never trail. Wolfe’s birdies and 2 and 4 were offset by Grassi’s birdie on 3. A winning par on 8 would get Wolfe to 2 up. After matching pars for the next 4 holes Wolfe’s birdie on 12 would up the lead to 3. Grassi trimmed the lead to 2 with a birdie 2 on 15 before Wolfe birdied the 16th to end the match 3&2.

Matt Barto and Dave Spitzer played a back an forth match with lead changes throughout the match. Barto took the first with a birdie and Spitzer claimed three and five with birdies to go 1 up. Barto then won six and seven to turn the lead to 1 up in his favor. Spizter won 9 but Barto birdied 10 to hold the lead. Spitzer then seemed to take control with 3 consecutive birdies, winning 2 holes and then followed up with a winning par on 14 to have the first 2 up lead in the match. They tied 15 with pars but Spitzer was unable to make another par allowing Barto to close with three pars to turn the 2 down deficit into a 1 up victory.

The semi-finals begin on Saturday at 10:00 with Deimel facing Weir and Wolfe against Barto. Deimel is the only remaining champion, with titles in 2012, 2018 and 2019. His last 2 titles came against Wolfe and Barto. Both of them have a second runner up, Wolfe in 2007 and Barto in 2020. Weir was the runner up to Jon Merriott last year.

Deimel is gunning for his 5th EDGA major title which would rank him 5th all-time behind only Ron Coleman (8) and Tom Amendola, Dave Ciacchini, and Brett Keiffer who all have 6. Coleman and Ciacchini both have 5 match play titles, no one else has 4 … unless Deimel picks up the trophy this year.

 

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EDGA Match Play Underway, Favorites Advance

Posted: June 14th, 2022

The 50th EDGA Match Play Championship is now underway at the Downing Golf Club with the Qualifying Round complete as well as the first round of matches completed on Monday.

All results can be viewed at the Tournament Website.

The 2021 Champion, Jon Merriott was exempt from qualifying and so received the #1 spot in the match play bracket. Mike Wolfe claimed the qualifying title and the #2 position with a stellar round of 6-under par 66. He was closely challenged  by Matt Barto and Alex Weir, who both shot rounds of 4-under par 68. Interestingly enough each of these three have been Match Play finalists, including the last 4 tournaments, without having had the opportunity to claim the title.

Ed Podufal, who is a 3-time champion (1984, 1985, 1997) was the only other player to break par with a 3 birdie, 2 bogey round of 71. Dave Spitzer matched par with a round of 72. His round included an eagle, 4 birdies and 6 bogies.

There were 4 players who shot 73, 2013 Champion Ted Grassi, III, Mark Majewski, Mike Capotis, and Dean Rainville. The top 10 was rounded out by a trio of players who shot 74 which included 2006 Champion Rob Nicotra, Dustin Coleman, and T.J. Mitchell.

The cut for match play fell at 82 where a playoff of 2 players was conducted for 1 spot.

The first round of match play was completed in the afternoon with all of this year’s favorites advancing. Defending champion Jon Merriott took out Scott Simonsen 8&7, Mike Wolfe defeated 2011 Champion David Hewett, 7&6, 2021 Runner Up Alex Weir bested Kyle Westfall 6&5 and 2019 and 2020 Runner Up Matt Barto upended Mark Noce 3&2.

Additionally 3-time match play champion Drew Deimel dispatched Mike Slupski 2&1 which now sets him up for a round 2 match against the defending champion, Jon Merriott. Spitzer advanced with a 3&1 victory over Matt Modica and Grassi made short work of Tim Weyand 7&5.

The remaining results include; Pat Arrigo d. Mike Capotis 2 up, Mark Majewski d. Ron Richardson 1 up in 20 holes, T.J. Mitchell d. Brett Folga 2 up, Podufal d. Chris Keim 3&1, Jesse Yates d. Dustin Coleman 2&1, Sal Vella d. Maclain Deitrick 6&5, Phil Pedano d. Dean Rainville 3&1, Mike Newcomer d. Matt Stearns 3&2, and Zac Bihler d. Rob Nicotra 1 up.

The matches continue on Friday with the second round commencing at 9:00am and the quarter-finals scheduled to begin at 1:00pm that afternoon. The semi-finals are slated for Saturday and the finals for Sunday with play beginning at 10:00am both days.

All results will be available on the tournament website here.

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Final 2022 Schedule

Posted: February 9th, 2022

The  2022 schedule is set and listed here.

The online entry site is be up and open. All of the tournaments are available for online entry by visiting the online entry portal here.

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