Cutrell Survives Roller Coaster Ride to Win Art Wall Memorial
SPRINGFIELD, Pa. - Greensburg Country Club's Arnie Cutrell came into the second and final round of the Art Wall, Jr. Memorial Tournament at Rolling Green Golf Club with a two-shot lead over Whitford Country Club's David West. Over the course of 18 holes, Cutrell fell as far as three shots behind West, but rallied to fire a steady 72 for a 36-hole total of 140 (-2) to win the championship, which was presented by Allegheny Health Network.
"I'm thrilled to win this championship," Cutrell said. "It was a crazy day out there today, but I played well and am really glad to come out with the win."
West began the round with a birdie on the first hole to slice the deficit in half. After Cutrell bogeyed the fourth hole, the competitors were tied atop the leaderboard. West dropped a shot at the sixth hole before both players eagled the par-5 seventh hole on the William Flynn classic design. After pars to finish the front nine from both players, Cutrell's lead was one shot. But once again, West struck quickly, with a birdie on No. 10 to square himself with Cutrell. That's when the fun began. Cutrell bogeyed the next two holes, while West parred No. 11 and birdied No. 12. On that hole, West nearly knocked it in for an eagle from 145 yards away in the right rough, but settled for a tap-in birdie from a few inches away. West, now in the lead for the first time, quickly gave that up with a triple-bogey seven on No. 13.
"I paid the price for my mistakes out there today," West said. "I played well enough to win this tournament, but you can't do it by making the mistakes I made today."
After finally leading the event, and by three shots, West just as quickly saw that lead vanish. But he showed great resolve with an excellent birdie putt on the par-3 14th hole, and combined with Cutrell's bogey on the same hole, the lead was two again for West. That's when the unthinkable happened, as West had another triple-bogey on No. 15 that put Cutrell back on top by a stroke. Cutrell added a shot with a birdie on 16. But with two par 5s still remaining, the outcome was in doubt. However, West could not close the deficit, as each player parred the final two holes to set the final margin of victory.
"The up and down on 15 really helped me," Cutrell said, referring to the hole where West made the second triple-bogey. "That par steadied me and put me back on top."
Finishing in third place was the final member of the final pairing group on the day, Punxsutawney Country Club's Frank Fairman, who recovered from an early double-bogey to post a solid 74 to follow his opening round 71 and finish at +3.
Winning the Senior division was Applebrook Golf Club's Gary Daniels, who fired a 72 (+4) for a two-round total of 146 (+4) to capture that title. Daniels had four birdies in his second round, including three on the front nine, en route to the Senior title. Daniels finished in a tie with Sinking Valley Country Club's Artie Fink for fourth overall with that performance. Fink shot an excellent 33 on the front nine to get to -2 overall before a tough back nine took him out of contention. However, Fink teamed with Sinking Valley's Chris Gambacurta and Mitch Johns to win the team portion of the event, where two of the low three scores were counted.
In the Super-Senior division, it was a two-man race, as Whitemarsh Valley Country Club's Frank Polizzi and Talamore Country Club's Michael Rose were in the lead coming into the day and never relinquished the top two spots. Fighting through chilly morning conditions, the two traded the lead a couple of times. But in the end, it came down to the 18th hole. With both competitors tied going into the hole, Polizzi rose to the occasion and hit his best drive of the day. From 223 yards out, Polizzi's three-wood got to the front of the green and he made birdie while Rose made bogey, giving Polizzi the crown.
"It was great playing with Mike Rose today," Polizzi said. He's a great competitor that made this win a little more special."
The golf course was roundly praised by the competitors in the event. Cutrell called it "a challenge, without a doubt", while Polizzi said it "was wonderful to play two days on this difficult golf course".
For Cutrell, the two days at Rolling Green were just another stop on an epic three-week golf journey. Last week, he played in the Pennsylvania Middle-Amateur Championship at Moselem Springs Golf Club in Fleetwood. Then, he traveled to Rochester to play in the John R. Williams Four-Ball Tournament at historic Oak Hill Country Club. From there, he made the trip to Springfield to play (and win) this event, and he's next heading to Pine Valley Golf Club for this weekend's Crump Cup. As if that wasn't enough, Cutrell will complete the odyssey the following week with a trip to French Lick Resort in Indiana, where he'll be one of the three players representing Pennsylvania in the USGA's State Team Championship.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Rolling Green Golf Club for hosting the championship. In addition, thanks goes out to the event's presenting sponsor, the Allegheny Health Network.