Round 2 Live Updates from Stonewall
September 11, 2016 | ELVERSON, PA.
7:05 p.m. EDT: Mega Playoff Looming
As it currently stands, a 14-for-1 playoff on Monday morning is looming for the last spot in match play. The playoff will begin on the par-3 ninth hole of the Old Course at 7:15 a.m.
5 p.m. EDT: Muehr Making Move for Medalist
Stonewall is certainly showing its teeth on Sunday as neither courses has yielded a sub-par round thus far. But Michael Muehr, of Potomac Falls, Va., could be the outlier. Muehr is 2 under thru 12 holes on the North Course and has pulled into a tie for the lead with Scott Harvey and Tom Werkmeister, both of whom finished earlier today at 2-under 138.
The 44-year-old financial advisor played three years on the PGA Tour from 2001-03, but had to quit playing golf when he was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma. He regained his amateur status in 2007, and although he's never made a deep run in the Mid-Amateur, he is a two-time winner of the Crump Cup at Pine Valley. Through the help of PGA Tour players such as 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Brett Quigley, Muehr has helped raise $1.2 million for melanoma research at the Duke Cancer Institute.
Muehr was asked about switching to the Old Course for match play.
"Well, it doesn’t really matter where we play. Obviously you’re playing your opponent, and you have to beat six guys to win. I like to think of it like the NCAA bracket in basketball, so you have to beat six teams and not 64. In terms of strategy, it’s a tale of two nines over there. The front nine you have to pick your way around some of the holes, there’s a lot of danger. The back nine is kind of long, you can hit driver all the way around back there, and as long as you hit the fairway and hit greens, you’re okay. It’s a great match-play golf course, because if you get a little crooked, it’s tough to come back because it’s really hard to make birdies. So the guy who is slow and steady is probably going to do well.”
3 p.m. EDT: Werkmeister in Hunt for Medalist Honors
Tom Werkmeister posted an even-par 70 on the North Course Sunday for a 36-hole total of 2-under 138, which currently ties him for the clubhouse lead for medalist honors with 2014 champion Scott Harvey. Two years ago, Werkmeister nearly met Harvey in the championship match at Saucon Valley Country Club, falling to Brad Nurski in 19 holes in the semifinals.
"My No. 1 goal was to be medalist because I’ve never done it before," said Werkmeister, 48, of Grandville, Mich. "But no, I don’t think it really matters for match play if you’re the No. 1 seed or the No. 64 seed. Just make match play, and anything can happen from there.”
As for switching back to the Old Course for the matches, Werkmeister added: "I have to hit it straight. I’m normally pretty straight off the tee, and it’s a lot more challenging there off the tee. I missed some drives yesterday and it cost me a couple of shots. But if I hit my driver straight I should be in pretty good shape.”
1:50 p.m. EDT: Defending Champ Rallies for 70
Defending champion Sammy Schmitz birdied his final two holes on the North Course on Sunday for an even-par 70 and a 36-hole total of 5-over 145, which likely will qualify him for match play on Monday. He converted a 7-footer on No. 8 (he started on the 10th hole) and a 15-footer on the par-3 ninth.
“I felt pretty good," said Schmitz. "I just got tricked by the golf course, which I think a lot of players can relate to. So I came out and hit the ball great again today, even better than yesterday, and … I haven’t putted really well over these 36 holes, so I definitely want to improve on my putting for match play. I’m really happy with that score.”
As for getting more confident with the Old Course, where all of the matches will take place, Schmitz added, "I just need to get more comfortable off the tee on that course. And the approach shots, too. I think that’s one of those courses that you have to play three or four times, and hopefully I get that opportunity and I feel more comfortable as the week goes on.”
12:35 p.m. EDT: Somber Day for Retired Air Force Colonel Gallagher
Like many Americans, James Gallagher was in his office when the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were taking place.
“We were out doing PT (physical training) and when we got back in, it was on television,” said Gallagher, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who was stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana at the time. “We locked the base down because it looked like it was a pattern, and it was a pattern.
“That day was worse than Pearl Harbor.”
Sunday was the 15th anniversary of one of the worst days in American history as nearly 3,000 were killed and another 6,000 injured when terrorists hijacked four planes – two of which hit each of the World Trade Center towers in New York Center and another the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; a fourth crashed in a Western Pennsylvania field.
“We knew it wasn’t an accident,” said Gallagher, recalling the day after completing his second stroke-play round in the 36th U.S. Mid-Amateur on Sunday. “We already started to prepare our deployment gear. We thought we could get the call at one point. The most frustrating thing for us, like everyone else, is there was nothing we could do unless you were right there on the scene.
“I don’t think there was anyone in America who didn’t want revenge. For us, we were able to go out and get a little bit of that revenge.”
The USGA and Stonewall honored the 15-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by having the flag at half-staff and handing out pins of the American flag on the first tee.
Gallagher earned two bronze stars for valor over two deployments to Iraq in 2003, plus 34 other military awards and decorations during his military tenure.
Coming off a runner-up finish in the Canadian Senior Amateur that ended on Friday in Fort Erie, Gallagher, 58, posted rounds of 77-79 to miss match play. He was headed home to Yorktown, Va., on Sunday for a few days of rest before departing for St. Louis and the U.S. Senior Amateur that begins this Saturday at Old Warson Country Club.
11:25 a.m. EDT: Wither the Wind
For the past several days, competitors in the U.S. Mid-Amateur have had to deal with extreme heat and humidity. Ben Woods, the on-site USGA meteorologist said this was the first time in the last four days the Heat Index didn't reach triple figures as temperatures on Sunday were in the low-80s.
But while the temperatures have dropped, the wind has increased, making things just as challenging for the golfers playing the Old and North courses at Stonewall. Woods said he's expecting wind speeds between 9 and 16 mph, but gusts could be even higher. He said the varying terrain of the courses can make things challenging, especially at some of the higher elevations on the property. Woods' anemometer by the 18th green was displaying a wind speed of 9 mph.
10:25 a.m. EDT: Mattare Making His Move
Since arriving on the U.S. Mid-Amateur scene in 2012, Matthew Mattare, of Jersey City, N.J., has enjoyed plenty of success. While the University of Notre Dame graduate hasn't won the championship, he advanced to the quarterfinals in 2012 at Conway Farms outside of Chicago, was the stroke-play medalist in 2013 at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama, and advanced to the Round of 16 in 2014 at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., his home course and the facility where his father, Gene, is the longtime general manager.
After a disappointing 6-over 76 in Saturday's first round of stroke play on the Old Course at Stonewall, Mattare, 30, is 2 under thru five holes today on the North Course, which played two strokes easier on Saturday.
Mattare, who works in wealth management, won the Golf Association of Philadelphia's Mid-Amateur title earlier this year in a four-hole aggregate playoff at Waynesborough (Pa.) Country Club.
9:00 a.m. EDT: Wilder Hoping It's a Big Day for Bearcats
First-round co-leader Brad Wilder graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2001 and is close with fellow Cincy alum Jim Herman, who won his first career PGA Tour event on April 3 at the Shell Houston Open and played in all four of the season's major championships.
“We overlapped three years together [at Cincinnati], and we’re really good pals," said Wilder. "I was with him at Augusta this year. It’s fantastic to see him doing well, and it absolutely gives me motivation. We always say if little Jimmy Herman from Cincinnati can do what he’s doing, then I can play golf in a Mid-Am.”
Today, Wilder is in the hunt for medalist honors, while "little Jimmy Herman" tries to go low at the BMW Championship, the third leg of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs, in an effort to qualify for the Tour Championship.
7:25 a.m. EDT: Remembering 9/11 as Day 2 Dawns
It's the second round of the 36th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, and of course it's also September 11. Flags at Stonewall are at half-staff and, while players are focused on the task of putting together a good round, certainly many of them will think about where they were on that day. It's especially poignant being here in eastern Pennsylvania, so close to New York, Washington and the field in western Pennsylvania where the Flight 93 National Memorial is located.
In terms of the competition, it's a very important day as the field of 264 jockeys for position to be among the low 64 scorers, who advance to match play. Those who played the North Course yesterday – and reaped the benefit of a course that played more than two strokes easier – will play the more difficult Old Course today. The championship will look much different tomorrow, but first, we have another exciting day ahead.