Wilson Holds A 2-Up Lead At The Midway Point Of The Mid-Amateur Final
River Hills, Wis. – Steve Wilson, 38, of Ocean Springs, Miss., is learning to love match play. He hasn’t trailed at any point in his last three matches and currently holds a 2-up lead over Todd Mitchell, 30, of Bloomington, Ill., at the halfway point of the 36-hole final of the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship at Milwaukee Country Club
“I am trying to be patient, but I don’t have real good control of the ball,” said Wilson, who shot the equivalent of a 1-under-par 69 for his morning round on the windswept 7,004-yard, par-70 layout.
Wilson, who never won in match play before this week, took a 2-up lead against Mitchell with wins on the 13th and 15th holes before Mitchell earned a hole back with a winning par at 16.
Mitchell probably thought he would win one of the last two holes as well. Wilson was in a greenside bunker on both holes and made mid-range putts to save par on each. To make matters worse, Mitchell three-putted the last hole to again fall 2 down. Wilson one-putted nine times in the morning round.
“I’m starting to love match play. You can be super aggressive,” said Wilson, a gas station owner who was a “part-time” professional golfer for almost 10 years before being reinstated as an amateur in 2005.
If he can hold his lead during the afternoon round he will earn custody of the Robert T. Jones trophy for a year and a probable invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament.
“He’s a good player,” said Mitchell of Wilson. “He’s never out of a hole as he proved with his bunker play and good putting this morning. I missed a few shots and a few putts, but you just never know.”
Mitchell, an insurance salesman and a 2002 graduate of Illinois State where he played baseball well enough to be drafted by the New York Yankees, survived a 19-man playoff on Monday after 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying just to advance to the 64-player match-play field.
The Mid-Amateur, open to players age 25 and older who meet the handicap requirement, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Craig Smith, USGA Director of Media Relations. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.