The Founders Golf Club has become Peter Wegmann’s personal playground this week. Between stroke play and four match play rounds in the Florida State Senior Amateur Match Play Championship, the Fort Lauderdale resident is a combined 22-under par.
The true rolls from The Founders’ greens is one key to his success. That’s because Wegmann isn’t a member at a private club; he plays at a public course with Bermuda greens that are more grainy.
So Wegmann began this week in Sarasota with a heavier putter than normal, but he quickly switched back to his TaylorMade Ghost Tour 12 flatstick following a first-round 70.
Now he’s one step from adding a second Florida State Golf Association senior state title after reaching the championship match. Wegmann faces Founders Club member Jerry Rose, who is a six-time club champion and past runner-up in this event, in Thursday’s final of the seniors division.
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“The greens are absolutely perfect, and I can putt when the greens are good,” Wegmann said.
Wegmann said his desire is to have his name on three trophies: the Florida State Senior Amateur, the United States Senior Amateur and the British Senior Amateur.
After winning the Florida State Senior Amateur in April, there’s only two trophies left for Wegmann to fulfill his dream. He’s been a quarterfinalist once and reached the Round of 16 two other times during the past three U.S. Senior Amateurs.
But that tournament isn’t until later this summer, and the focus this week is at The Founders. Wegmann booked his spot into the final against Rose by eliminating former champion Pete Williams, of Juno Beach, 4-and-3. Williams lost to Wegmann in the first round of the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur in New Jersey.
“Pete said to me (Wednesday), ‘You’ve got my number,’” Wegmann said. “I said, ‘I don’t know if I’ve got your number.’ It’s just happened.”
The momentum-swinger for Wegmann was when he drained a 35-foot putt on No. 5, while Williams missed a 7-footer. So instead of going down two holes, Wegmann squared the match after five.
In Wednesday morning’s quarterfinals, Wegmann defeated Bonita Springs’ Bill Barnes, 3-and-2, while Rose edged Tarpon Springs’ Neil Vanleeuwen, 1-up. Rose polished off Tampa’s Kevin Macy, 4-and-3, to face Wegmann in Thursday’s final that starts at 7:30 a.m.
“I’m by myself,” Wegmann said. “My wife didn’t come. Nobody came. I’ll be free-wheeling it.”
In the super-seniors division, Lakewood Ranch’s Gregg Van Lue’s run ended in the semifinals. After picking up a 3-and-2 victory in the morning’s quarterfinal round against Valrico’s David Bird, Van Lue succumbed to Sanford’s Robert Lundquist on the 18th hole. Van Lue went for the par-5 18th in two with a 4-wood from 209-yards, but he landed right of the green. He had a lengthy par putt that came up short and to the right. Lundquist was just a few feet inside Van Lue, but on a similar line. Getting a read off Van Lue’s effort, Lundquist went to school and buried the left-to-right putt to earn a 1-up victory.
“I wanted the slope take the ball into the hole, and it did,” Lundquist said. “So I was happy. I was not on solid ground.”
Lundquist missed a short bogey putt on No. 16 to see his lead trimmed to one, while Van Lue parred the 17th to give himself a chance at the last hole before Lundquist’s par-saving putt found the cup.
“I figured I'd make five and go to extra holes,” Van Lue said. “I (didn’t) plan on him making that.”
Lundquist’s opponent in the championship, set for a 7:45 a.m. start Thursday, is the top seed, Larry Vander Bie. The Brooksville resident is a two-time defending champion of the super-seniors division, going 11-0, which includes this year’s event, during that span. And the underdog role isn’t lost on Lundquist.
“I don't feel like it. I am the underdog,” Lundquist said.
Lundquist played with Vander Bie on Monday, where he bested him by six shots in the second stroke play round.