Former Freedom golfer Zach Juhasz wins 2017 Lehigh Valley Tournament of Champions

March 26, 2018

Former Freedom golfer Zach Juhasz wins 2017 Lehigh Valley Tournament of Champions


BETHLEHEM TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Zach Juhasz of Bethlehem Township made a big change a month ago in his golf career.

Now, the 2015 Freedom High School graduate has joined the regional “major” amateur champions club.

Juhasz, 20, sank a 3-foot birdie putt on the third sudden-death playoff hole (380-yard third hole) Saturday at Northampton Country Club to win the 28th annual Lehigh Valley Tournament of Champions.

Juhasz rallied with a final-round 2-under-par 35-35–70 to finish 36 holes of regulation play at 5-over-par 149 along with University of Delaware senior Nick Vecellio of Fogelsville (74-75–149), and 37-year-old Wes Samons of Bloomfield, NJ, who shot 79-70–149.

Vecellio, a four-year starter at Northwestern Lehigh, missed a 20-foot birdie putt onĀ  the final hole for the outright victory.

Juhasz and Samons both parred the first two playoff holes, while Vecellio was eliminated after he three-putt for a bogey on the first hole from 20 feet.

On the third playoff hole, Juhasz hit his wedge approach shot three feet past the flagstick, while Samons struck his approach shot 15 feet above the hole. Samons, a former Centre College (Kentucky) golfer, three-putt for a bogey. Juhasz then sank the birdie putt to win the title.

Juhasz credited his victory to his decision a month ago to go to Bethlehem Golf Club head pro Paul Viola for lessons and coaching.

“All of this is not possible without Paul,” said Juhasz, who qualified for the 2014 PIAA Golf Championship. “He has helped me with ball flight and a nice fade. He has made me a better all round player. He’s taking me to the next level.”

Beginning the final round five shots out of the lead, Juhasz eagled the par-5 11th hole, and made birdies on the first and third holes.

“I switched to a blade putter today,” Juhasz said. “It gave me more feel around the greens, because the greens are quick.”

Nick Lukow of Whitehall Township tied for fourth place at 151 along with former Freedom High School golfer (1996) Ryan Hally of Aldie, Virginia. Lukow, a former Allen golfer (2003), missed a 7-foot par putt on the final hole for a chance to enter the sudden-death playoff.

In the Senior Amateur Division, Dave Blichar of Upper Macungie Township won his third Lehigh Valley Senior Tournament of Champions title in the past five years (2013, 2015, 2017) with a 5-over-par 73-74–147.

Despite three-putting from 20 feet on the final green for a double bogey, the 57-year-old Blichar won by one stroke over defending champion Bob Beck of Salisbury Township (73-75–148), and three-time tournament champion Robin McCool of Upper Saucon Township (75-73–148).

Playing one group ahead of Blichar and Beck, McCool three-putt from 45 feet for a bogey on the final hole.

Leading by two strokes over Beck entering the 18th hole, Blichar drove into a fairway bunker en route to a double bogey. Beck three-putt from 25 feet for a bogey to miss a possible playoff.

“I knew I beat Bob as soon as he Bob missed his par putt,” Blichar said. “I didn’t know what Robin was doing.”

Blichar, who along with Beck and Rich Kovacs are the only three golfers to win both the amateur and senior amateur divisions of the Lehigh Valley Tournament of Champions, said he enjoys the season-ending event.

“You always get good golf courses, and a good field,” Blichar said. “It’s the last chance for glory.”


28th annual Lehigh Valley Tournament Of Champions
Northampton Country Club (par 72)
Final 36-hole scores:

1. Zach Juhasz 79-70-149 (5-over-par, won title with a birdie on the third sudden-death playoff hole), 2-T. Wes Samons 79-70-149, Nick Vecellio 74-75-149; 4-T. Nicholas Lukow 76-75-151, Ryan Hally 74-77-151; 6. Tom Timby 78-75-153; 7-T. Lee Nonnemacher 79-77-156, Andrew Frank 77-79-156; 9-T. Mark Coassolo 77-84-161, Ryan Orcutt 74-87-161; 11. William Marquette 79-84-163; 12-T. Eric Ostrosky 84-80-164, Michael Casella 83-81-164, Steven Gonzales 75-89-164; 15. Jim Maru 87-78-165; 16. Andrew Woolley 88-94-182.



1. Dave Blichar 73-74-147 (3-over-par); 2-T. Robin McCool 75-73-148, Bob Beck 73-75-148; 4. Joseph Jasinski 78-74-152; 5. Mark Czerniakowski 75-78-153; 6-T. James Boburka 77-78-155, Sal Picone 73-82-155; 8. Tom Egolf 81-75-156; 9. Jeff Hudson 81-76-157; 10. Tom Soares 81-79-160; 11. Robert Smith 81-81-162; 12. Rich Kovacs 82-81-163; 13. Tom Mallouk 80-84-164; 14-T. Lonnie Pintande 86-79-165, Robert Schubach 84-81-165; 16. Mark Choi 84-84-168; 17-T. Andrew Lykon 88-81-169, Fred Lening 86-83-169; 19. William Steirer 85-85-170; 20-T. Tom Stitt 86-85-171, Ben Spence 81-90-171; 22. John Prestera 90-83-173; 23. Jack Booros 91-84-175; 24. Terry Beck 90-90-180.

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