U.S. MID-AMATEUR
Two Medalists into Final 8; Defending Champion Ousted September 13, 2016 | Elverson, Pa. By Brian DePasquale, USGA

Co-medalist and top seed Michael Muehr, of Potomac Falls, Va., grinded out two tough matches on Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals. (USGA/Chris Keane)

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Michael Muehr, 44, of Potomac Falls, Va., and Scott Harvey, 38, of Greensboro, N.C., each won two matches Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, held at Stonewall’s par-70, 6,870-yard Old Course.

Muehr, who last made the U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinals in 2011, sank a 12-foot par putt on No. 17 to clinch a 2-and-1 victory over Claudio Consul, 33, of Germany.

“It’s great to win a match like that; he’s a real solid player,” said Muehr, who competed on the PGA Tour from 2001-04 before being reinstated as an amateur. “I was fortunate to win.”

Muehr, the top seed in the match-play bracket, sank a 10-foot birdie putt from the back fringe on par-3 fifth and won the seventh hole with a par to take an early lead, but Consul, who is No. 65 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, regrouped to square the match on par-4 12th. Muehr regained the lead for good with a winning par on the next hole.

“Quarters is a good goal because it gets you into next year,” said Muehr, who defeated Gregor Orlando, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa., earlier in the day, 2 and 1. “I don’t know how many more of these I have in me.”

Harvey, the No. 3 seed and one of three players who were co-medalists in stroke-play qualifying, upended Christopher Ault, 30, of Yardley, Pa., 3 and 2, in the Round of 16. He also posted a 1-up decision earlier today in the Round of 32 against Kenny Coakley, 32, of Minneapolis, Minn.

Harvey, who offered that his overall game improved from the morning to the afternoon round, made just one bogey in his match against Ault. He hit a sand wedge to within 5 feet to set up a birdie at the par-4 second hole, and later won holes 5, 7 and 8 with pars to take a commanding 4-up lead.

“I think I am just so tired that it smoothed out a little bit,” said Harvey about his swing. “It sounds crazy but that’s how I felt. It’s turning in the right direction.”

Harvey, the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and member of the 2015 USA Walker Team, came from behind in his Round-of-32 match by winning four of seven holes on the inward nine. He ignited that run by hitting his approach shot to within 6 feet on the par-5 11th. Harvey, who admitted he thought he was going to lose and head home during the match, won Nos. 13, 15 and 17 with pars to go ahead.

The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship continues with the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Wednesday. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Thursday, starting at 7:45 a.m. EDT. Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will televise the U.S. Mid-Amateur on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, from 3-5 p.m.

In his first match of the day, Muehr took an early lead by winning three consecutive holes, including a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-4 sixth. Orlando narrowed the deficit to 1 down on the inward nine, but Muehr halted any comeback attempt by holing an 18-foot birdie putt from the fringe on No. 14.

Tom Werkmeister, 48, of Grandville, Mich., earned the championship’s No. 2 seed after sharing medalist honors with Muehr and Harvey. But he was not as fortunate in the Round of 16, losing to Dan Sullivan, 49, of Pasadena, Calif., 3 and 1. Werkmeister lost the opening two holes and never recovered.

“I dug myself a hole and it caught up to me as I thought it would at some point,” said Werkmeister, who recorded a 2-and-1 win over Brett Cooper, 25, of East Rockaway, N.Y., in the morning. “My driver got me in so much trouble and cost me a lot of shots.”

Local favorite Michael McDermott, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., is into the quarterfinals for the first time in a USGA championship. (USGA/Chris Keane)

Last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Sammy Schmitz, 36, of Farmington, Minn., also fell in Round of 16, losing to Scott Strickland, 34, of Birmingham, Mich., 1 up.

Strickland, who earlier in the day made an eagle on the par-4 14th hole when his 40-yard pitch shot hit his opponent’s ball on the green and caromed into the hole, rallied from 2-down against Schmitz. He won Nos. 13 and 14 with a par and birdie, respectively, and posted a winning double-bogey 5 on No. 16. He held the lead by getting up and down for pars on the final two holes.

“At our ages we move on pretty easily,” said Schmitz about his disappointing finish. “We have our family and careers and it is not the end of the world.”

Michael McDermott, 41, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., made it through to the quarterfinals for the first time in eight career appearances in this championship by winning two of the last three holes against Derek Busby, 32, of Ruston, La.

Busby, the No. 4 seed, had an opportunity to win the match on the 18th green. But his 8-foot birdie putt slid by hole and he missed the comebacker for par. McDermott had squared the match on the par-4 16th when his chip rolled up to tap-in range for a winning par.

“They key is really that I’ve made a number of 6 and 7-footers,” said McDermott, who contended in the Philadelphia Amateur twice at Stonewall. “On No. 5, No. 6, No. 7 and No. 10 I made anywhere from 5 to 10-footers. And if those don’t fall I’m 3 down. So that was the key to this match.”

Josh Irving, 29, of Dallas, Texas, reached the U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinals for the second consecutive year after holding off Jess Daley, 38, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 3 and 1. Irving built a 6-up margin through the opening 10 holes.

Stewart Hagestad, 25, of Newport Beach, Calif., and David May, 29, of Auburn, N.Y., also picked up a pair of victories to advance to the quarterfinal round.

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.

Quarterfinalists receive an exemption into next year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur, Oct. 7-12 at the Capital City Club (Crabapple Course), in Atlanta, Ga.

Brian DePasquale is the USGA’s manager of championship communications. Email him at bdepasquale@usga.org

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