Jason Wilson wins 2018 Lehigh Valley Amateur in front of home course fans
September 30, 2018
2018 Lehigh Valley Amateur Champion Jason Wilson (left), and caddy Chris Ortman
BETHLEHEM TWP. — Jason Wilson of Orefield has been striving to win the Lehigh Valley Amateur at his home golf course for over a decade.
Finally, on a sunny fall afternoon at Green Pond Country Club in front of close to 100 supporters, Wilson captured the coveted title.
Long regarded as one of the region’s finest amateur golfers, Wilson defeated Joe Coulson of Upper Saucon Township 4-and-3 in Sunday afternoon’s championship match of the 82nd Lehigh Valley Amateur at Green Pond Country Club.
Wilson, a 44 year-old advertising executive, is an accomplished amateur golfer having won the 2017 Pennsylvania Mid-Amateur title, 2017 Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship, and the 2010 Lehigh Valley Inter-Club Championship.
Now, he will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Golf Hall of Fame on October 31, fresh off winning the Lehigh Valley Amateur.
“It’s so special,” said Wilson, a former Parkland golfer (1992). “It’s the thing that would be the icing on the cake to call myself the Lehigh Valley Amateur champion. It’s amazing. I can’t wait.”
The victory was emotional for Wilson, who felt at times he was carrying the hopes of his fellow Green Pond golfers on his back at the event.
“It’s great to get the support,” Wilson said. “It’s an honor for Green Pond. There is a point you want something so bad, you can lose focus.”
Wilson also gave credit to Bethlehem Golf Club head pro Paul Viola.
“My game has gotten so much better with Paul Viola,” Wilson said. “I have gotten so much better with patience, mindfulness, and staying in the moment.”
In the morning semifinal matches, Wilson defeated defending champion Cody Cox, 23, of Milford, PA by forfeit (illness).
In the other semifinal, Coulson, the manager of Wedgewood Golf Course, defeated former Moravian College golfer (2016) Jim Maru of Allentown 2-and-1.
Coulson, the oldest competitor in the championship flight at the age of 55, was gracious in defeat.
Ironically, Coulson won the 2017 Lehigh Valley Mid-Amateur title over Wilson in a sudden-death playoff.
“I was thrilled to get there,” said Coulson, a former Pottsville (1981) football and track athlete. “To win would have been a cherry on the top. I’m thrilled all the way around. For the afternoon, I just didn’t play well. Jason deserves it. He’s an accomplished player.”
Coulson began to play golf actively when he took the job at Wedgewood in 2001. His progress from a golfer who could barely break 90 fifteen years ago to one of the region’s better amateur golfers is remarkable, and a testament to his dedication to practice and athletic fitness.
Coulson has won the 2014 Lehigh Valley Inter-Club Championship, and 2013 and 2017 Lehigh Valley Mid-Amateur Championship titles.
“I started to practice, I couldn’t break 90,” Coulson said. “Then Zach (his son) started playing, and he was beating me. I said I at least have to compete. I started to figure out to hit the ball. The first time I tried to qualify for the Lehigh Valley Amateur some years ago, I didn’t get into anything. Then the next year I made the Presidential flight.”
The match hinged on two short missed par putts by Coulson on the seventh and tenth holes, an out of bounds over the 12th green, and Wilson’s fine wedge game which led to two tap-in birdies.
All square through six holes, Wilson won the par-4 seventh hole with a two-putt par, while Coulson missed a 7-footer for par.
Wilson went 2-up on the par-4 ninth hole when he struck a 130 yard wedge approach shot one foot from the cup to set up a birdie. He went 3-up on the par-4 tenth hole with a long two-putt par from in front of the green, while Coulson chipped four feet left of the cup but couldn’t make the par putt.
“The chip was the bad shot on seven,” Coulson said. “I hit it a little bit too hard. I just missed the putt on ten.”
Coulson cut the lead to 2-up when he sank a 40-foot uphill birdie putt on the par-4 11th hole.
On the par-4 12th hole, Coulson’s approach shot out of the right rough ran over the green out of bounds, Wilson chipped from in front of the green to five feet, and Coulson eventually conceded Wilson’s par putt to give him a 3-up lead.
Wilson went 4-up on the par-4 13th hole after his wedge approach shot set up a three foot birdie putt. Coulson cut the lead to 3-up after sinking a 10-foot par putt on the par-4 14th hole.
Wilson closed out the match on the par-3 15th hole. He struck his tee shot on the green 40 feet from the cup, while Coulson’s tee shot sailed 20 yards over the green.
Coulson’s chip shot rolled 50 feet past the cup. After Coulson missed his long par putt, Wilson rolled his birdie putt close to the hole. Coulson then graciously conceded the hole and the match.
“I hit some of the best wedges I hit all week,” Wilson said. “I had some kick-in birdies on nine and thirteen.”
Unofficially, Wilson was 1-over-par for 15 holes. He hit 6 out of 13 fairways off the tee, 8 out of 15 greens in regulation, and used 24 putts over 15 holes.
Coulson was unofficially 6-over-par for 15 holes. He hit 8 out of 13 fairways off the tee, 7 out of 15 greens in regulation, and used 26 putts over 15 holes.
Mike Hogan of Saylorsburg defeated Bob Schubach of Upper Saucon Township 7-and-6 to win the 27th Lehigh Valley Senior Amateur Match Play Championship.
In the super-senior competition, Ben Spence of Schnecksville defeated Dylan Spadt of Hanover Township 7-and-6.
Herbert Gates defeated Jim Deemer 4-and-2 to win the Legendary Division.
Parkland junior Trevor Grimm defeated Liberty junior Joey Altemose 5-and-4 to win the High School Division.
Moravian Academy 8th-grader Evan Eichenlaub defeated Lehigh Valley Academy 8th-grader Michael Vital 3-and-2 to win the Junior High Division.
82nd Lehigh Valley Amateur
Green Pond C.C.
Match Play results
Jason Wilson def. Cody Cox (defending champion) — forfeit (illness), Joe Coulson def. Jim Maru 2-and-1.
Jason Wilson def. Joe Coulson 4-and-3.
Mike Hersch def. Erik Stevens 2-and-1, Bill Reduzzi def. Adam Sutovich 4-and-3
Mike Hersch def. Bill Reduzzi 5-and-4
27th Lehigh Valley Senior Amateur
Bob Schubach def. Jeff Wiedecke 2-and-1, Mike Hogan def. Shane Gunning 2-up
Mike Hogan def. Bob Schubach 7-and-6
Mark Firment def. Jim Gleason 1-up, Elliot Sheftel def. Barry Stolzman 4-and-3
Elliot Sheftel def. Mark Firment 8-and-7
Walt Humphries def. Mark Choi 2-and-1, Todd Kurz def. Jim McCall 4-and-3
Walt Humphries def. Todd Kurz 1-up
Robert Fondl def. Mark Harmon 4-and-3, Jeffrey Smith def. Pete Hobson 2-and-1
Robert Fondl def. Jeffrey Smith 2-and-1
LEHIGH VALLEY SUPER-SENIOR AMATEUR
Ben Spence def. Dylan Spadt 7-and-6
Mike Squires def. Mike Tomasic 1-up, Dean Brodt def. Bob Butz 4-and-2
Mike Squires def. Dean Brodt 6-and-5
Tom Woodring def. Mike Cullen 2-up, Vic Lesky def. Frank Szilezy
Vic Lesky def. Tom Woodring 1-up
Ken Margraff def. Gary Fields 5-and-4, Glen Adelsberger def. Gene Howey 4-and-3
Glen Adelsberger def. Ken Margraff 4-and-3
Herbert Gates def. Roy Atherholt 1-up, 22 holes, Jim Deemer def. Tom Stitt 3-and-2
Herbert Gates def. Jim Deemer 3-and-2
Pricha Boonswang def. Joe Milutis 1-up, 20 holes, Ron Frey def. Milt Trexler 2-up
Pricha Boonswang def. Ron Frey 5-and-4
LEHIGH VALLEY AMATEUR JUNIOR DIVISION
HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION
Trever Grimm def. Aiden Leblanc 4-and-3, Joey Altemose def. Jerry Ascolese 6-and-4
Trever Grimm def. Joey Altemose 5-and-4
JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION
Evan Eichenlaub def. Michael Vital 3-and-2
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