Deitz, Mueller advance

The Cap­ital Region’s state championship hopes rest with a fearless 18-year-old who is riding a hot

The Cap­ital Region’s state championship hopes rest with a fearless 18-year-old who is riding a hot putter and a 49-year-old grinder who knows the host course like it was his own back yard.

Justin Deitz of The Edison Club and Jim Mueller, who now plays his golf at Orchard Creek but spent 12 seasons as a Pinehaven Country Club member, both advanced to the quarterfinals of the 86th annual New York State Amateur Golf Championship Thursday.

Two other local players, 22-year-old Nick Feinberg of the Country Club of Troy and 50-year-old John Vaccaro of Wolferts Roost Country Club, made it past the first round of match play, but were ousted in close matches during the second round in the afternoon.

Deitz, who will be attending

Siena College in the fall, knocked off 21-year-old Greg Levings of Burden Lake Country Club, 4-and-3, in the morning and then bounced Andy Bernatovicz of River Oaks Golf Club, 5-and-3, in the afternoon, despite battling a chronic headache on the back nine of his final match.

Mueller, a five-time Gazette County Amateur champion, stopped Raman Luthra of Crag Burn Golf Club, 2-and-1, in the morning and then edged Feinberg, this year’s Troy Invitational champion, 2-and-1 in the afternoon.

Vaccaro, the defending New York State Mid-Amateur winner, beat Kirk Kashevaroff of The Tuxedo Club, 1-up, in the morning, but then fell to co-qualifying medalist Matt Stasiak of Fox Valley Club, 1-up on the 21st hole, in the afternoon.

Deitz’s putting was magnificent, especially during his second match of the day. He rolled in a two-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole to go 1-up. Deitz bogeyed the 10th hole, allowing Bernatovicz to even the match, but then he went on a tear. A par was all he needed to win the par-3 11th hole when Bernatovicz’s tee shot landed in the left rough and he chunked his pitch shot to the green.

A three-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole increased Deitz’s advantage to 2-up, and that’s when he asked his father to go back to the clubhouse and get him some

Tylenol for his headache.

Deitz made a five-foot par putt for a brilliant up-and-down from the bunker on the 13th hole to go 3-up, and he rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt to go 4-up on the par-3 14th.

His conceded birdie on the par-5 15th hole sealed the win.

“I’m still not hitting it great, but I started to hit it a little better as the day wore on,” he said. “My putting has definitely kept me going. My goal was to get into the match play. I had no expectations of winning a couple of matches, but now, you start over and take one shot at a time. I feel great.”

Mueller and Feinberg had a dogfight in their second-round match. Mueller’s four-foot, downhill birdie putt evened the match on the eighth hole, and he followed that up with a five-foot birdie on the ninth hole to go 1-up.

A pivotal hole in the match was the 340-yard 12th hole. Feinberg tried to drive the hole, and nearly succeeded. His tee shot landed about 15 yards short of the green near the two trees that protect the putting surface. But during his short pitch shot, his wedge bounced off one of the tree roots, and the ball bounced some 20 feet away from the cup. Feinberg ended up three-putting the hole.

Meanwhile, Mueller’s approach shot went through the green. He chipped up to four feet and had a chance to steal the hole, but he missed the par putt.

Feinberg evened the match on the par-3 14th hole when Mueller hit his tee shot well left down the hill. It took him a couple of shots just to get back to the green, and he conceded the hole.

But the match turned in Mueller’s favor on the par-5 15th hole. He reached the green in two, and tapped in for birdie. Feinberg missed his eight-foot birdie putt.

On the 16th hole, Feinberg’s approach shot landed in the pond, and Mueller connected for an eight-foot birdie putt to take a 2-up lead.

Feinberg’s tee shot on the par-5 17th hole landed in some trees in the left rough, and he had to pitch out. He eventually just missed his birdie putt, but Mueller two-putted for par to close out the match.


Match Play

First round – Dominic Bozzelli (Locust Hill) def. Tyler Phillips (The Brookwods),

2-and-1; Jeff Wolniewicz (Gowanda CC) def. Chris Barach (Mohawk), 2-and-1; Bradley Roche (Huntington) def. Jake Katz (Westwood), 1-up; Chris Stoddard (Moon Brook) def. J.P. Kircher, 3-and-2; Matt Campbell (Teugega) def. Alex Park (Newman) 1-up; James Scorse (Stafford) def. Patrick Pierson (Minisceonogo), 3-and-2; Andy Bernatovicz (River Oaks GC) def. Zach Vinal (Bellevue), 2up; Justin Deitz (Edison) def. Greg Levings (Burden Lake), 4-and-3; Tom Muto Jr. (Sodus Bay Heights) de. Kevin Kaye (Wild Wood), 2-and-1; Jamie Miller (Tri-County) def. Bruce Miller (Associate), 3-and-2; John Duthie (Trent Jones) def.

Andrew Frank (Associate), 3-and-1; Don Enga (Cherry Valley) df. Jordan Keshler (Barker Brook), 3-and-2; Matt Stasiak (Fox Valley) def. Jim Gifford (Edison), 5-and-4; John Vaccaro (Wolferts Roost) def. Kirk Kashevaroff (Tuxedo), 1-up; Jim Mueller (Orchard Creek) def. Raman Luthra (Crag Burn), 2-and-1; Nick Feinberg def. Paul Pratico (Schenectady Municipal), 1-up.

Second round – Wolniewicz def. Bozzelli, 3-and-2; Stoddard def. Roche, 3-and-2; Scorse def. Campbell, 1-up, 23rd hole; Deitz def. Bernatovicz, 5-and-3; Muto def. J. Miller, 1-up; Duthie def. Enga, 3-and-1; Stasiak def. Vaccaro, 1-up, 21st hole; Mueller def Feinberg, 2-and-1.

Quarterfinal pairings – Wolniewicz vs. Stoddard; Scorse vs. Deitz; Muto vs. Duthie; Stasiak vs. Mueller.

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