Chad Hess wins 2018 Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship on third playoff hole over Steve Kluemper
June 23, 2018
LEHIGH TWP. — Having used up his college athletic eligibility, Chad Hess is embarking on a new stage of his amateur golf career.
The former Parkland golfer sank a 20-foot downhill birdie putt on the third sudden-death playoff hole (559 yard, par-5 third hole) on Saturday at Woodstone Country Club to win the 28th annual Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship.
Hess, a 22 year-old former Parkland (2014) and Old Dominion University golfer, ended 36 holes of regulation play tied for the lead at 3-over-par 74-73–147 with Steve Kluemper of Bethlehem.
Former Nazareth golfer (2017) Kevin Scherr was third at 75-73–148. A rising sophomore at Youngstown State, Scherr won the 2016 PIAA state title.
Carlos Fullerton, a former Emmaus golfer (2014), rallied with a final-round even-par 72 to finish fourth at 149. The Penn State student was 22nd in the 2017 Pennsylvania Open.
After both players parred the first two playoff holes, Kluemper hooked his drive left of the third fairway, played up the adjoining fourth fairway, and eventually chipped his fourth shot from behind the green six feet from the cup. Hess reached the green in three regulation shots, then sank the birdie putt to win the coveted title.
The victory is Hess’s fifth regional amateur title. He previously won the 2016 & 2017 Eastern Pennsylvania Amateur, 2015 Allentown City Amateur, and 2017 Bethlehem Amateur Stroke Play event.
Hess was second behind 2017 winner Jason Wilson in last year’s tournament.
“I exceeded my expectations this week,” Hess said. “I went back to my coach Paul Viola (Bethlehem Golf Club head pro) this week. We had a few lessons to fix some quirks in my swing.”
Hess plans to finish his five-year masters program at Old Dominion next year. He wants to be a middle school math teacher in the Lehigh Valley, and continue to play competitive golf.
“Right now I’m trying to play for fun,” Hess said. “I’m trying to remember what it feels like to be in the drivers seat. We had some good times and bad times in my college career. I had two holes-in-ones this year. It was fun.”
Kluemper, a former golf standout at Freedom (2011) and Centenary College (2015), has been playing fine golf this season. He recently advanced to the sectional qualifying stage of the U.S. Open.
“I scored when I had the opportunity,” said Kluemper, the 2015 Eastern Pennsylvania Amateur champion. “There were no big numbers.”
Like Hess, Kluemper said recent lessons from Viola helped him to prepare for the tournament.
“I have been fighting a hook,” said Kluemper, who recently completed his MBA at Moravian College. “I played well.”
Entering Saturday’s final round, Hess and Kluemper were tied for the lead at 2-over-par 74.
Paced by birdies in the second and eighth holes, Hess shot 1-under-par 35 on the front nine to take a one stroke lead over Kluemper, and a three stroke edge over Scherr.
Hess bogeyed the tenth and eleventh holes to fall one shot behind Kluemper. A bogey by Kluemper on the par-4 12th hole dropped into a tie for the lead with Hess at 3-over-par.
While Hess parred the last seven holes, Kluemper sank a 5-foot birdie putt in the par-4 15th hole to take a one shot lead, and made an excellent scrambling par from left of the par-3 16th green (15 foot putt) to maintain his one shot edge.
However Kluemper three-putt the par-5 17th hole from 25 feet for a bogey to fall back into a tie for the lead with Hess. Both players missed birdie putts on the par-4 18th hole to set up a playoff.
Scherr’s double bogey on the 12th hole dropped him two strokes behind the leaders. He birdied the par-5 14th hole, but parred the remaining four holes to finish one stroke out of the playoff.
28th annual Lehigh Valley Medal Play Championship
Woodstone Country Club (par 72)
Final Amateur Division 36-Hole Scores:
1. Chad Hess 74-73–147 (3-over-par, won title with a birdie on the third sudden-death playoff hole); 2. Steve Kluemper 74-73–147; 3. Kevin Scherr 75-73–148; 4. Carlos Fullerton 77-72–149; 5. Kevin Rossi 78-75–153; 6-T. Tucker Sandercock 77-78–155, Luke Smith 75-80–155; 8. Zachary Juhasz 75-81–156; 9. Nicholas Lukow 77-81–158; 10. William Mirams 75-85–160; 11-T. Nick Vecellio 80-81–161, Michael Casella 80-81–161; 13-T. Aaron Thieme 81-81–162, Jim Maru 81-81–162; 15-T. Chris Stager 85-78–163, Kyle Pritchard 78-85–163; 17. Robert Kehoe 82-83–165; 18. James Mack 85-81–166; 19. John Dimler 88-79–167; 20. Ryan Orcutt 84-85–169; 21. Matt Kalamar 85-85–170; 22. Andrew Lykon 88-84–172.
Final Senior Amateur Division 36-Hole Scores:
1. Tom Egolf 77-77–154; 2-T. Mark Choi 81-78–159, David Strohl 79-80–159; 4. Joseph Barabas 84-87-171; 5. Fred Lening 89-86-175.
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