Cutrell & Paris hold on for victory in Senior Amateur Championships
By Mike Dudurich • October 13, 2021
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.
His name was one that hadn’t been spoken much over the last couple years around the local golf scene.
That, in itself, is a bit unusual considering the man was inducted into the West Penn Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2017.
Fear not, however. Arnie Cutrell is alive and well and the 2021 champion of the West Penn Golf Association’s Senior Amateur at the Country Club of Meadville Tuesday.
“I hadn’t played much at all in any West Penn events the last couple years,” Cutrell said. “And that’s nothing against West Penn events. I enjoy competing in them and have won a few.” Being a little older now, my game isn’t quite as strong as it was and it’s hard to play when you feel like that.”
It was strong enough this week.
Cutrell followed up his opening-round round of 70 with a 74 in the second, which gave him a one-shot win over Sean Knapp, one of his long-time friends through the years in Western Pennsylvania golf. Dave Martin of Lake View Country Club and Edward Podufal finished at 146.
The one-shot victory was a thriller, but like many other rounds there were plenty of ups and downs.
“The start was good,” Cutrell said. “I was two-under after four holes by making birdies on three and four. I had a little bit of a feeling of confidence starting and I bogeyed and then I bogeyed another. But I was playing pretty well. I flew the green in two on 7 and hit it short of the green. So, I’m trying to get up and down for bogey, which I got, and Sean made par.”
Those two finished the front nine with 37s. Cutrell shot another 37 on the back, making a pair of bogeys. Knapp had a little more excitement in his final holes. Five pars, one birdie, and three bogeys totaled 74 and Cutrell’s first WPGA win since, well….
“I really don’t remember my last win, I really can’t remember,” Cutrell said.
There was plenty for Cutrell to feel good about concerning his couple days in Meadville.
He chose something of an unusual strategy for the trip, opting not to stay up north, instead driving home and back.
“It was about two hours and 10 minutes each way,” Cutrell said. “It wasn’t too bad because I had a late tee time both days. Honestly, I had no expectations about winning. I had never seen the course, but I played solid.”
One thing Cutrell wanted to emphasize was this.
“I’ve played a lot with Sean over the years and when I think about him, it’s always about how much he loves to win. And he wants to beat you when you’re playing at your best. It almost as if he was rooting for me but still wanted to win,” Cutrell said. “It means a lot more when he’s in the event.”
There is a definite mutual admiration between Cutrell and Knapp, one that has grown over the year as they competed against each other.
“Arnie is such a great guy, one who is very tough to beat, and he was in this one too,” Knapp, who was trying to win his fourth straight West Penn Senior Amateur. “We were in the same cart and that made for an enjoyable day. While trying to beat Arnie was important, I really was trying to get that fourth. Bottom line is we’re good friends with a long history. He was steady all day and didn’t allow his position in the event to getting to him.”
In the Super-Senior competition, Bob Paris of Lawrence Park Golf Club put together a pair of 71s for a four-shot victory over Casey Courneen of Sewickley Heights Golf Club.
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.