Todd Mitchell Rolls Into U.S. Mid-Amateur Semifinal Round With 9-And-7 Win
River Hills, Wis. – It was mid-morning Wednesday and Todd Mitchell, 30, of Bloomington, Ill., was trying to decide what he was going to do for the next three hours. He had just won his quarterfinal match in overwhelming fashion at the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Milwaukee Country Club, making six birdies in 11 holes to rout Chris Lange, 53, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 9 and 7.
“I think I’ll just get something to eat and relax,” said Mitchell, a former baseball draft pick of the New York Yankees as an infielder.
“I’m about as relaxed as I can remember playing in a tournament. 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.”
Mitchell hopes to have one more chance at playing in the morning on the 7,004-yard, par-70 layout, but first he’ll face four-time quarterfinalist Sean Knapp, 46, Oakmont, Pa., in his afternoon semifinal match.
Knapp won four consecutive holes at the end to close out Jimmy Chestnut, 26, of Grand Blanc, Mich., in his morning match, 2 and 1.
“I’ve been on the stepping stone before,” said Knapp, who is playing in his 11th Mid-Amateur. “I should have lost this morning, but I’m not giving it back. We both were making mistakes, but the pressure of a national championship will do that.”
Two-time semifinalist Mike McCoy, 45, of West Des Moines, Iowa, will face Steve Wilson, 38, of Ocean Springs, Miss., in the other semifinal match.
McCoy is the more experienced of the two, having reached the semifinals of the 2005 Mid-Amateur. McCoy birdied the final two holes to close out Jeff Wilson, 45, of Fairfield, Calif., a four-time U.S. Open qualifier.
“I’ve played nicely all year and the year is still going,” said McCoy. “So, let’s keep it going.”
Steve Wilson led throughout his morning match against Mike Stamberger, 36, of Plainfield, N.J., and played the equivalent of even par for 18 holes. Stamberger had pulled to within 1 down before Wilson closed the door by putting his approach at the final hole to within 10 feet. After missing his birdie attempt, Stamberger conceded Wilson’s putt and the match, 2 up.
“Today was the best I’ve played by far,” said Wilson. “I was getting away with catching guys on a bad round. This feels a lot better. My ball-striking was good.”
The 36-hole final match is scheduled for Thursday, with the winner receiving a probably invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament.
The Mid-Amateur, open to players age 25 and older who meet the handicap requirement, is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association annually, 1o of which are strictly for amateurs.
River Hills, Wis. – Results of Wednesday morning’s quarterfinal 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
Semifinal Pairings for Wednesday afternoon (Times are CDT)
1:30 p.m. -- Mitchell vs. Knapp
1:45 p.m. -- S. Wilson vs. McCoy