Deitz, Mueller ousted

The magic that carried them through two rounds of qualifying and two more rounds of match play disap
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The magic that carried them through two rounds of qualifying and two more rounds of match play disappeared for the two remaining Capital

Region competitors in the 86th annual New York State Amateur Golf Championship Friday at Pinehaven Country Club.

Justin Deitz of The Edison Club, and Jim Mueller of Orchard Creek each lost their quarterfinal matches, 4-and-2, wiping out any chance for a local state champion. No area player has won the State Amateur since Jay Gunning of Town of Col­onie in 1986.

Mueller, a 49-year-old former Pinehaven CC member, was

2-down to co-qualifying medalist Matt Stasiak of Fox Valley Club through the first five holes. Stasiak, who will be a sophomore at Miami (Ohio) University in the fall, birdied the par-3 third hole and won the fifth hole with a par.

But Mueller, a five-time Gazette County Amateur champion, birdied the par-5 sixth hole, and evened the match on the par-4 eighth hole when Stasiak three-putted for

bogey.

The back nine didn’t go well for Mueller, who came up just short on his birdie putt on the par-3 ninth hole.

Mueller also had an excellent birdie opportunity inside 10 feet on the 10th hole, but he settled for par.

Things began to sour for Mueller on the par-3 11th hole. He hit his hybrid club into the right-side bunker, and his explosion shot wasn’t as long as he would have liked. When he missed his 15-foot par putt, Stasiak was 1-up.

The par-4 12th hole is only 340 yards from the back tees, but most players lay up so that they can hit their approach shot over two tall trees that guard the green. Mueller’s drive forced him to attempt to clear the trees with a short iron, and he clipped a branch, resulting in a bogey and a 2-up lead for Stasiak.

Mueller’s fine up-and-down on the par-3 14th hole kept him in the match, but the par-5 15th hole proved to be his undoing. After a big drive, Mueller hit his second shot just left of the green, and he pitched up to about four feet, giving him an excellent shot for birdie. After Stasiak rolled in a four-foot birdie putt, Mueller missed his birdie try, and Stasiak had a 3-up led with three holes to go.

Mueller’s tee shot on the par-4 16th hole went into the trees in the left rough. He had to pitch out to the fairway, and his third shot was well short of the green. After he missed his par putt, he conceded the hole and the match to Stasiak, who was only about 12 feet from the cup for a birdie try.

“I didn’t deserve to win today. I didn’t play well enough,” said Mueller. “I didn’t bring much game today. I would have liked to give him a better battle. I didn’t hit it as well as I did yesterday, but this was a great experience. This was my first time in the quarterfinals of this tournament.”

Mueller was asked if being 30 years older than his competitor had any effect on the match.

“Physically, I feel pretty good,” he said. “I can’t blame the loss on being 49.”

Deitz, a Shenendehowa High School graduate who will attend Siena College in the fall, had relied on his putter through the first three days of the tournament, but the flat stick let him down against Jim Scorse of Stafford Country Club.

The match was even after five holes, but a pair of Deitz three-putts allowed Scorse to go 2-up on the eighth hole. Deitz also missed a three-foot birdie try on the ninth hole.

A poor chip led to a bogey on the 10th hole, and Scorse took a 3-up advantage, but Deitz rallied back with a six-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole to slice the deficit.

Deitz hit his tee shot out of bounds on the 13th hole, however, and the resulting double-bogey allowed Stafford to pull away again.

“I was starting to hit more greens today, but I had two three-putts, and that’s the only two of the week,” said Deitz. “I didn’t have the speed of the greens down early in the match. On my first putts, I wasn’t even close. I made the comebackers, but you can’t keep doing that.”

But Deitz, who had fellow Siena College student Don DeNyse III on his bag for all three rounds of match play, said the tournament experience was memorable.

“It was just a a great week,” he said. “This makes it really exciting for the next couple of tournaments I play in.”

Next on Deitz’s schedule are the Berkshire Hills tournament and the U.S. Amateur Qualifier.

In the other two quarterfinal matches, Jeff Wolniewicz of Gowanda Country Club ousted Chris Stoddard of Moon Brook Country Club, 3-and-2, and Tom Muto Jr. of Sodus Bay Heights turned back defending State Am champion John Duthie of Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, 2-and-1.

In the semifinals, Wolniewicz ousted Scorse, 3-and-1, and Muto defeated Stasiak, 2-and-1. Muto and Stasiak were co-qualifying medalists.

Wolniewicz and Muto will play a 36-hole finale today for the title.

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