Exeter graduate Alex Seelig capped off his summer in exciting fashion on Sunday, recording a birdie on the 18th hole to win the Berks County Golf Association Amateur Championship by one stroke at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood.
Seelig finished the tournament at 6-under (210), just one stroke ahead of runner-up RJ Wren, who finished at 5-under (211). The winner of the Berks County Golf Association Match Play Championship in May, Seelig shot 4-under (68) on Sunday to capture another tournament title.
Wren finished the third and final round at 2-under (70) to take second place. Defending champion Chris Storck, who entered the day with a one-shot lead over Wren at 4-under (140), finished third at 3-under (213) after shooting 1-over par (73) in the final round on Sunday.
“I just want to say thanks to Chris and RJ and everyone; they played insanely good golf,” Seelig said. “It was a lot of fun the past few days, especially playing with Chris all three days. They’re all really good competitors and I really enjoyed the time this weekend.”
The tournament culminated in a dramatic finale on Sunday, as Seelig held a one-stroke lead over Wren heading into the final hole. Wren outdrove Seelig and found the green with his next shot for a look at eagle, while Seelig had to play conservatively after slicing his tee shot to the left.
After a layup into the fairway and a solid approach shot, Seelig was on the green in three. Wren missed a long eagle putt, which gave Seelig an opportunity at a medium-length birdie putt to win the title.
With his family and several onlookers nearby, Seelig rose to the occasion and sank the 11-foot putt with ease.
“It was a little stressful, (as) I didn’t know whether to hit driver or three wood off the tee, but (I) went with the driver and pulled it a little bit,” Seelig said. “I had a number to the front of the green for my second shot, but I was one ahead and I figured I’d try to make birdie the hard way
“I just kind of played it conservative, hit a really nice wedge shot in there for my third and it (the putt) was going in the whole way.”
Seelig tied Storck at 5-under after making birdie on the par-5 No.11. Storck bogeyed No. 12 to give Seelig the lead that he would keep for good.
Starting the day at 2-under on the weekend, Seelig recorded his only bogey of the day on No. 3 before scoring a birdie on No. 5, no. 6 and No. 8 to post a 34 on the front nine. After shooting a 1-over (73) on Saturday — which could have been worse had he not scored an eagle on No. 18 — Seelig knew having success with the putter would be essential on Sunday.
“I knew some more putts needed to go in today,” Seelig said. “You can’t really make bogeys with Chris and RJ either. They’re going to play well, so I just tried my best not to make mistakes.”
The short game proved vital for Seelig, a rising senior at Robert Morris, as he made multiple chips and clutch par-putts to get out of tight spots. After hitting a branch with his tee shot on the par-3 No. 13, Seelig found his ball in the rough just inches away from the base of a tree.
Seelig, who had hit his ball out of a bunker and only a few feet away from the pin on No.11 to set himself up for birdie, would not be deterred by the difficult lie on No. 13 and hit the green with his approach before making par.
“I definitely think it (his short game) saved me a little bit,” Seelig said. “That one I hit on 13 was probably my best shot of the day, the second shot on to the green, but honestly the short game was pretty solid and I mean the putts that I made to keep up, the four or five footers to keep it (the lead) going, those were the big ones.”
Fourth-place finisher Brandon Raihl tied Seelig for the best score of the final round by posting a 4-under (68) and ending his weekend at 2-under (214).
Additionally, with the victory, Seelig joins his great-grandfather, Dominic Foscone, as a BCGA Amateur champion. Foscone won the tournament in 1950 and 1952.
With two BCGA wins under his belt, Seelig noted that the victories he’s earned over the past few months give him confidence heading into his senior season at Robert Morris.
“It definitely gives me a little bit of confidence,” Seelig said. “Any win is a good win, but it’s good competition around here. There are some really good players. So I wanted to finish the job today and hopefully this means I can win a couple of college tournaments coming up this fall and that’s what I’m looking forward to. It’s really good momentum going into the school year.”