U.S. MID-AMATEUR
Quotable: Quarterfinal Winners October 12, 2017 | Atlanta, Ga. By David Shefter and Brian DePasquale, USGA

Bradford Tilley (right) offers a congratulatory hug to Matt Parziale after the latter's 20-hole come-from-behind quarterfinal victory. (USGA/Chris Keane)

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Competitors in the 37th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship who prevailed in their quarterfinal matches on Thursday morning at Capital City Club's Crabapple Course did not have much time to bask in the glory of their triumphs. The four remaining players had time to grab lunch and hit a few practice putts or shots before refocusing for their semifinal matchups in the afternoon. But before they teed off, the USGA got a few comments from all four winners:

Matt Parziale def. Bradford Tilley, 20 holes

On his amazing comeback from 5 down with 10 to play: "Yeah. I mean, I haven't really thought about that. I was just trying to hit good shots. That's all I can do in that situation, try to hit the next one good. Maybe got a little head of myself early, but I am proud that I was able to get myself back and respond. Even if I didn't win, I was proud to get it to 18. I just kept seeing the board. It was like, All right, it's 5. Let's get it to 4; let's get it to 3; let's get it to 2, and then all of a sudden it was all square."

On what he told himself after Tilley went 5 up with a birdie on 10: "I'm just going to try and play a good nine holes. He hit it to two feet [on No. 10]; great shot. Then 11 I got one to go. It was probably 20, 25 feet. It was a good putt. Then I birdied the next two actually. Then he actually birdied 13 as well after I made it. It was a good putt on his end."

On his performance over the final three holes of regulation, winning Nos. 16 and 17 to square the match: "[On 16] that was a 7-iron from 175. And then he hit a decent shot. Just trickled off the edge. And then 17 was a big putt. I drove it in the right rough and flew the green yesterday from the same spot, so I took a little off and it stayed. The putt was dead center the whole way, so felt good about that one. Then we both hit good shots on 18."

On his 10-footer on 18 that could have won the match: "That broke a lot more. I felt good about that stroke. I wasn't disappointed there. It just broke across the hole."

On finally winning the match at the 20th hole: "Once he flew the green I went down a club just to hit to the middle, and was lucky enough to two-putt."

Tilley on his performance this week, fighting through flu-like symptons and reaching the quarterfinals in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur: "It was a weird week honestly. I was so sick this week. Now that I'm feeling healthy, I expected to play well. I somehow played well every day, and this USGA event was just as good as any. It's a really special experience playing any USGA event, and then to earn medalist honors was a huge honor. No one can take that away from me, so that's pretty special. To make it to the quarterfinals is fantastic. Obviously ... I came here with the intent of winning. That's hard to do. It's a long week. But I think I showed well and I'm very proud of myself."


Dan Sullivan played what he called near-flawless golf in earning a second consecutive trip to the U.S. Mid-Amateur semis. (USGA/Chris Keane)

Dan Sullivan def. Joshua Irving, 3 and 2

On winning defeating Irving for a second consecutive year in the quarterfinals: "It was kind of a double-edged sword because I really enjoyed playing with him last year. He’s a great guy and obviously a very good player. But at the same time, it made me want to win that much more too. I’m sure he was very motivated to try and beat me because of what happened last year. I wanted to come out [with the mindset] if he beat me, great, but I didn’t want to give him too many opportunities."

On playing the equivalent of 3-under-par golf, with the usual match-play concessions: "I played really well this morning. I made one bad swing and made a bogey on nine; I had 185 [yards] in and wiped it into the bunker. That was my only bad swing. Otherwise, I think I hit every other green. I missed a couple of putts I could have made. Just basically kept the pressure on him all day, which in match play is important."

On his 3-iron tee shot into the 218-yard par-3 15th that all but sealed the victory: "I hit it to about 4 feet. That was one of the best shots I hit all day at the right time. This went from being anything can happen the last four holes to not knocking it tight. He didn’t make birdie and I made mine. Now he has to come and get me. On 16, I hit two good shots into the green [and two-putted to wrap up the victory]."

On possibly become the third 50-year-old-plus golfer to win the Mid-Amateur: "That would be awesome. I still have a [semifinal] match this afternoon. Just to continue to have the opportunity … is fun. That’s why I play in this tournament. Having a chance to be the guy [to hoist the trophy] on Friday would be a lot of fun."

Mark Harrell def. Tyler Crawford, 19 holes

On his brilliant up-and-down par from in front of the 18th green: "It was a very tough chip. It was a very thin lie and I asked my caddie if I should try to bump something short or should I fly it up on the green? We elected to go high with it, which worked out. I hit it perfect. It flew right on the green and just kind of checked and stopped there a couple feet and he gave it to me.""

On watching Crawford's birdie putt from the fringe on 18 that would have won the match: "I did [think it was going in]. He made a good par putt on 16 and I could tell it gave him a little confidence because he hadn’t been putting all that good [in the match]. Then he made the one on 17 for birdie. So I knew the one on 18 had a chance. It looked like he hit a great putt."

On his brilliant approach shot on the par-4 19th hole: "I hit before him and hit it to two and a half feet with an 8 iron from 159. It was almost a gimme, but he didn’t [concede] it. He missed the green left [with his approach], but didn’t get up and down [for par]. He then conceded my putt."

How good was the approach shot under the circumstances: "It’s awesome. It’s what we play for. It’s what makes this game so much fun. I’m lucky [to advance]. I played well, but didn’t have my best today. But I’m still alive. I’m still going."

On playing four consecutive tight matches, including two 19-holers: "The first match [against Andrew Rhodes] I went 19 holes as well. Every match I have played has gone at least to 18. It’s been a full day every day. … You just stay in the moment and hit one shot at a time. You know you’ve got to make birdies to beat guys because all of these guys who are still left are good. You’ve got to stay aggressive and keep hitting good golf shots."

On playing in the semifinals on Thursday afternoon against Josh Nichols: "It’s just going to be the same thing. One shot at a time. The only shot I can control right now is the one on the first tee."

Josh Nichols def. Scott Anderson, 2 up

On if making the semifinals this week has surpassed his expectations: "I mean, you always expect to keep going, but I kept waiting for someone to start making a bunch of putts on me. So far I guess I've gotten kind of lucky. I've played solid, so I haven't given anything away. As far as expectations, no, I just kind of keep surprising myself each match."

On his short game has helped him escape some tight spots: "Yeah it's gotten me out of some really bad spots, because I have not always hit it the greatest. But overall, I guess, I don't know how many days it's been, I've hit it pretty well for myself. So I'm pleased with most parts of my game."

On his up-and-down par on 18 to seal the victory: "It was a 60-[degree wedge] shot out of the rough. That was a good up and down. Obviously him not making some putts that he should have made all day really [saved me]. I kept waiting for him to make some putts. He just couldn't get them to fall."

 



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