Parziale Leader For Medalist in Delayed Mid-Amateur
October 4, 2015 | Vero Beach, Fla.
By Brian DePasquale, USGA
Matt Parziale, 28, of Brockton, Mass., fired a 69 on Sunday for a 36-hole score of 4-under-par 139 to take the clubhouse lead on the second day of stroke play in the weather-delayed 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at John’s Island Club. Parziale played the par-72, 6,855-yard West Course.
Scott Harvey, the defending U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, is tied with Parziale at 4 under with two holes to complete on the par-71, 6,943-yard North Course at John’s Island. Play was suspended at 6:56 p.m. EDT due to darkness, with 59 players in the 264-player field still on the course. The championship was delayed earlier in the afternoon for more than one hour due to rain and lightning.
“I have been putting really well and keeping it out of trouble,” said Parziale, who is competing in his second Mid-Amateur and made 11 consecutive pars during one stretch of the second round. “Just to get into match play was a goal.”
The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Thursday, Oct. 8, starting at 7:30 a.m. EDT.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Parziale, a Brockton firefighter who made three trips to PGA Tour Qualifying School before being reinstated as an amateur two years ago, soared to the top of the leader board at 5 under with consecutive birdies on holes 16 and 17. He drained a 50-foot putt on the 235-yard, par-3 16th and then got up and down from the left greenside rough on the par-5 17th.
Parziale made just his second bogey of the championship on the finishing hole when his 9-iron approach shot from the left rough hit a yard short of the putting surface. The ball rolled back to the base of the embankment in front of the green and he went on to miss a 14-foot par putt.
Harvey, who was the co-stroke play medalist in 2010 and 2014, moved to 5 under after he converted back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14, his fourth and fifth holes. But that progress was erased when he made double bogey on the par-4 18th. Harvey, who went on to birdie No. 5, will have a 4-foot par putt on No. 8 when play resumes on Monday at 7:30 a.m.
“I was a little hot and it took a little while to calm down,” said Harvey about his double bogey. “I kept hitting good shots but I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole on my back nine. I’m playing solid. You want to be medalist but the ultimate goal is to make match play.”
Mike McCoy, who was playing in the morning wave’s first group, fired a 3-under 69 on the West Course. He was in a group three strokes back at 1-under 142 after 36 holes. He made four birdies, including a downhill 20-footer on the par-5 sixth, and had one bogey. McCoy, who won the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur and played on this year’s USA Walker Cup Team, shot a 73 in the first round.
“I drove it in the fairway, which was really important, hit a lot of good iron shots and didn’t three-putt,” said McCoy, who is playing in his 46th USGA championship. “There will be a lot of tough matches (coming up) but I will be tough, too.”
Robby McWilliams, 47, of Benton, La., and Jeff Wilson, 52, of Fairfield, Calif., each rebounded from first-round 77s to advance to match play. McWilliams established the North Course’s competitive course record with a 6-under-par 65 for a two-round total of 142. Wilson fashioned a 4-under 68, the championship’s best round on the West Course.
McWilliams, a 2010 Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist, turned in a clean card with six birdies and no bogeys. He hit a 110-yard wedge to within 8 feet on No. 10, his first hole, to jump-start his round and added birdies on Nos. 12 and 17 to shoot 3-under 32 on the outward nine.
“I did a lot of work right off the bat,” said McWilliams, who is competing in his ninth Mid-Amateur. “I didn’t do anything well over there (West Course). But that was then and now we are in match play. It’s just one guy at a time now.”
Wilson, who is currently tied for 19th at 1-over 145 and will play in the Round of 64, kept the ball in the fairway after being frustrated the previous day with his accuracy. He regrouped from his lone bogey of the round on No. 15 by making a 30-footer for birdie on the par-3 16th.
McWilliams and McCoy were joined at 1-under 142 by Andrew Wyatt, 26, of Midland, Texas, and Brian Komline, 41, of Bridgewater, N.J., who each carded 71s.
First-round leaders Bryan Smith, 30, of Jay, Vt., and Keith Unikel, 36 of Potomac, Md., who each opened with 3-under 68s on the North Course, slipped down the leader board but easily advanced to the match-play bracket.
Smith made a double-bogey 6 at No. 18 to post a 3-over 75, but safely moved on with a two-round score of even-par 143. Unikel struggled to a second-round 79, including a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 first, his 10th hole to finish at 4-over 147.
Mike Smith, 25, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., joined Smith and three others at 143 following a roller-coaster round that featured an eagle, four birdies and six bogeys for an even-par 72 on the West Course. He hit his tee shot into a greenside bunker and holed out from 15 yards on the par-4 11th, his second hole.
Four-time Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, of Pittsburgh, Pa., followed a 5-over 76 on Saturday with a 1-over 73 on Sunday for a total of 6-over 149 and was in danger of missing the cut for match play.
Following the completion of stroke play on Monday morning, a playoff will be held if necessary to determine the final berths in the 64-player match-play bracket and the first round of match play will begin.
Brian DePasquale is the USGA’s manager of championship communications. Email him at email@example.com.