Todd Mitchell, Steve Wilson To Meet For U.S. Mid-Amateur Title
River Hills, Wis. – Todd Mitchell, 30, of Bloomington, Ill., and Steve Wilson, 38, of Ocean Springs, Miss., each won a pair of matches Wednesday and will meet in Thursday’s 36-hole championship final at Milwaukee Country Club for the U.S. Mid-Amateur title.
Mitchell, an insurance salesman, took the lead in his afternoon semifinal match at the second hole against Sean Knapp, 46, of Oakmont, Pa., a four-time Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist. He built a 3-up lead after 10 holes and won, 4 and 3.
Wilson, who never won in match play before this week, jumped out to an early lead against Michael McCoy, 45, of West Des Moines, Iowa, in his semifinal match. He built a 3-up lead after 11 holes and closed his 3-and-1 victory with a winning par on the par-3 17th. He was the equivalent of one over under par for 17 holes against McCoy, who also was a semifinalist in 2005.
Neither Mitchell nor Wilson ever trailed in their quarterfinal or semifinal matches on the 7,004-yard, par-70 layout.
“I’m about as relaxed as I can remember playing in a tournament,” said Mitchell, a former baseball draft pick of the New York Yankees as an infielder. “I’m just soaking it all in. I don’t know if I have any expectations. It’s been fun waking up and looking forward to playing each day.”
In his morning quarterfinal match, Mitchell made six birdies in 11 holes in defeating Chris Lange, 53, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 9 and 7.
Mitchell survived a 19-man playoff on Monday after 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying just to advance to the 64-player match-play field. Now, he is one win away from earning custody of the Robert T. Jones trophy for a year and a probable invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament.
“I will try not to think about that for as long as possible,” said Mitchell, a 2002 graduate of Illinois State. “Whether it happens or not, I’ve had a great week.”
Wilson won his morning match against Michael Stamberger, 36, of Plainfield, N.J., 2 up.
“Today was the best I’ve played by far,” 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. “I was getting away with catching guys on a bad round. This feels a lot better. I’m starting to love match play. You can be super aggressive.
“We haven’t stayed in the same hotel for two nights,” Wilson continued. “We pack up every morning so we are ready to go.”
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.
River Hills, Wis. – Results of Wednesday’s quarterfinal and semifinal matches at the U.S. Mid-Amateur played at the 7,004-yard, par-70 Milwaukee Country Club:
Todd Mitchell, Bloomington, Ill. (147) def. Chris Lange, Bryn Mawr, Pa. (145), 9 and 7
Sean Knapp, Oakmont, Pa. (142) def. Jimmy Chestnut, Grand Blanc, Mich. (145), 2 and 1
Steve Wilson, St. Martin, Miss. (141) def. Michael Stamberger, Plainfield, N.J. (145), 2 up
Mike McCoy, West Des Moines, Iowa (142) def. Jeff Wilson, Fairfield, Calif. (147), 3 and 2
Mitchell def. Knapp, 4 and 3
S. Wilson def. McCoy, 3 and 1
River Hills, Wis. – Pairing for Thursday’s 36-hole championship final match at the U.S. Mid-Amateur at the 7,004-yard, par-70 Milwaukee Country Club (Times are CDT)
8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Mitchell vs. S. Wilson