Brown and MacWhinnie crowned Senior Amateur Champions
By Mike Dudurich • September 21, 2023
Sure there were several guys within reach of the lead at the 92nd West Penn Golf Association's Senior Amateur at Chartiers Country Club. Four players were within three or four shots but if you were a betting man chances are you might have been focused on Rick Stimmel and David Brown.
Both have been around the golfing block and both have had plenty of success. And after a pleasant afternoon around Chartiers, it was Brown who overcame a two-shot, first-round deficit to win by a pair over Stimmel.
Brown's group played in front of Stimmel's group so the drama didn't get settled until the 18th green.
Brown finished his round with a routine par and settled in behind the 18th green to nervously watch Stimmel finish. The long-hitting Stimmel hit a good drive, just short of a bunker on the left side of the fairway. He chose a hybrid club for his second shot. It had the distance but drifted off into the right greenside bunker.
A tricky shot and lie awaited and it rocketed off the surface into a bunker on the other side of the green. Lying three, Stimmel had to hole the bunker shot to win and, if not, make the putt to finish in a tie.
He did neither, hitting a sand shot that ran away from the hole and missing the par putt.
"It was fairways and greens for me today," Brown said after his fourth win in this event, "And I made a few putts today, too. But I have to say I was fairly defensive on a lot of putts. These greens are difficult, especially if you're above the hole."
Brown made four birdies and two bogeys on the day, The most important of any of that was the birdies on 12 and 13. Stimmel had held a two or three-shot lead early in the round but Brown kept hanging in. Brown had made birdie on 12 and had no idea what was going on behind him.
Stimmel stepped on the tee and, as he usually does, hammered his tee shot. Unfortunately it sailed left and into an area with trees and high grass. He found the ball and attempted to gouge it out. He accomplished that except the ball clipped the last branch before the fairway and kicked the ball almost straight down.
He was well short of the green and after a chip that got away needed two putts to make bogey. And from that point on, it was a struggle for Stimmel.
"I stunk today," was Stimmel's succinct rehash of his round. "I drove it good on the front but got a little loose on the back. My thinking was I was coming out here to win today. So yeah, it's a little disappointing because I've been playing so well this year."
Brown and Sean Knapp were the only scores under par on Wednesday. For Knapp, it was a big turnaround after opening with a 77 and earned him a third-place finish.
In the Super-Senior part of the championship, Bob MacWhinnie of St. Clair Country Club, edged Ron Hinish of Iron Masters by a shot to capture that title. MacWhinnie overcame Hinish's two-shot advantage to start the round and won by a shot.
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 34,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund and Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame.