David Fuhrer, 50th C.R. Miller Memorial Match Play Champion at Fox Chapel Golf Club

Fuhrer name again etched in C.R. Miller Memorial lore
By Mike Dudurich • July 2, 2024

C.R. Miller, the man for whom the C.R. Miller Memorial Match Play Invitational was named 50 years ago, would have loved this year’s edition of the event.

Rock ‘em, sock ‘em matches. Great shots. Some not-so-great shots. Upsets. And one constant: drama.

That was never more evident than in the final match on the boys’ side, pitting 14-year-old Michael Quallich against a high school graduate, David Fuhrer.

Fuhrer, in a five-hole playoff, edged Quallich with a birdie on the 5th hole of Fox Chapel Golf Club.

“It feels fantastic, great, overwhelming,” the elder of the two said. “I was 2-up going to 13 and I made a putt there to go 3-up. But obviously it wasn’t over.”

That’s because Quallich said it wasn’t over. The young man proceeded to win four of the last five holes in the championship round, topped off by a clutch birdie putt on 18 to force extra holes.

“It was a struggle out there today,” he admitted. “I didn’t hit it as well as I did Monday, but I just kept working.”

Overall, Fuhrer made eight birdies on the sunny, warm afternoon. Quallich made seven.

Fuhrer’s final birdie came on the tricky 335-yard fifth hole. The hole requires a precise iron from the tee and then another accurate short iron into an elevated, sloping green, creating some difficult putting.

But Fuhrer was up to the task.

“First, making that putt was a relief after losing the last two holes (in regulation),” he said. “It was a great feeling and I’m very happy.”

There was a historic aspect to Fuhrer’s victory. When his name is inscribed onto the championship trophy, it will be the third member of the Fuhrer family there.

Fuhrer’s uncle, Steve Fuhrer, won the event in 1980. Another uncle, Frank Fuhrer III, won it in 1974 — the year’s inaugural competition.

“Yeah, that’s really cool that other members of my family are on there,” David Fuhrer said. “But that sort of thing doesn’t over-pressure me. I’m still just trying to play my game.”

When he made the winning putt, it was a big relief for him and a final disappointment for Quallich.

“I don’t know why or exactly what it was, but I wasn’t as sharp today as I was yesterday,” Quallich admitted. “My putter wasn’t very friendly today. I had a couple misreads out there. I know I have things to work on and get better at.”

Quallich, who was the low freshman in the PIAA Golf Championship last year, showed that he has plenty of length to compete at a high level and figures to grow with his short game as well.

“This gives me a lot of confidence to be able to play against high-level competition for future competitions,” he said. “I think the turning point today was the birdie putt I made on 12. It seemed like I hadn’t made one in a while.”

He made two birdies on the front, but the one on 12 kickstarted his sprint to the finish. That started a five-birdie in seven-hole finish for Quallich, putting him in a position to win the biggest tournament of his young career to this point.

The players shared the course with a group of representatives from the USGA, who were checking out the course in anticipation of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open which will be held at Fox Chapel Golf Club Aug. 1-4.

To see the matches and results for the 50th C.R. Miller Memorial Match Play Invitational, click here (GGID: 24WPGAMATCHPLAY).

For media inquiries, please contact WPGA Director of Communications Josh Rowntree.

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.