Clarks Summit’s Anthony Sebastianelli did exactly what he needed as the second round of the 105th Pennsylvania Amateur concluded Wednesday morning at
Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown.
Trailing the leader by two shots with four holes to play, and bad weather threatening to wipe out the final round, Sebastianelli, who plays out of Huntsville Golf Club, birdied two of his remaining four holes to pull into a share
of the lead.
Then, as other players faltered, he took a two-shot advantage heading to his final nine holes.
But there was nothing Sebastianelli could do as Drexel University junior Connor Schmidt roared to six birdies in an eight-hole stretch en route to a 5-under par 65 and a two-stroke win at the Amateur.
“I told myself to make two or three more birdies on the back nine just in case something happens, someone gets hot,” Sebastianelli said. “I gave myself some great opportunities, but the putter just didn’t cooperate.
“They weren’t falling. It’s kind of just golf. You need to make putts to win tournaments, and I didn’t make putts and get the job done.”
Schmidt was at 1-over for the day before he birdied the par-5 ninth, then made it a run of three birdies before parring the 12th. He birdied the 13th, 14th and 16th to get to 7 under par, one ahead of Sebastianelli, who was unable to reproduce the closing magic he showed while finishing his second round.
“The golf course is really hard,” Sebastianelli said. “You kind of have to hit spots and let it feed to pins. The biggest battle was trying to control the spin on the ball because it was so soft. You catch a slope and you can have a 30-, 40-foot slider.”
Sebastianelli was just
a shot back, but caught a green-side bunker on the
penultimate hole, and his 6-footer to save par didn’t drop, putting him two back with one hole to play.
“It’s definitely something good in a sense that I didn’t win, I guess,” Sebastianelli said. “I have a little chip on my shoulder going to the U.S. Amateur and I have some momentum going there, and I can do some damage there.
“I’ve worked very hard on my game and it’s great to see everything come around and it’s really promising. The game is there. I just needed a couple more putts to fall. All in all, a great week.”
Sebastianelli was trying to become just the second golfer from Northeast Pennsylvania to win the state amateur.
Art Wall Jr., the 1959 Masters champion, won the title in 1947 and 1949. Sebastianelli joins former PGA Tour professional Ted Tryba (1985-86), current Web.com Tour professional Brandon Matthews (2013), Fox Hill Country Club’s Billy Musto (1982) and Throop native Ed Gonsky (1946) as the area’s runners-up.
“I did not know that,” Sebastianelli said. “It’s pretty neat to be in the same conversation with those guys. The support that I’ve gotten the last half an hour (after finishing), the phone calls, it’s just special to have everyone behind me in the area, and that helps. It’s really that special. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the support of everybody. It means a lot.”
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