BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Golf and family have always gone hand in hand for Scott Harvey. He learned the game from his late father, Bill, a veteran of 23 USGA championships, and his 5-year old-son Cameron already seems to have the bug.
So it’s likely not a coincidence that Harvey turned a 1-up lead into a 6-and-5 victory over Brad Nurski in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship following a surprise family visit on the eighth fairway of Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course on Thursday morning.
Once receiving the news that Harvey, 36, had prevailed in Wednesday’s semifinal match against Kevin Marsh, Harvey’s wife, Kim, spontaneously planned a last-minute family trip to surprise her husband. Kim’s mother, Patricia Maxwell, hopped on a flight from Dallas to Greensboro, N.C., where Kim had rented a car. She, along with Cameron and family friends Eric and Michelle Ferguson tagged along.
A tad under eight hours later, the Harvey clan arrived at Saucon Valley just in time to catch Scott on the eighth hole of the scheduled 36-hole championship match. After teeing off, it took Harvey a few seconds to process what he saw, after which he greeted Kim and Cameron with enthusiastic hugs.
I had no idea [they were coming], said Harvey. My wife can be a little bit sneaky sometimes, and I looked over on eight tee box before I hit my drive, and I was like, man, they look familiar, but I didn't think anything of it because I saw a few people earlier in the week that I said, oh, that looks like a friend back home, and I'd go get a closer look and it's not them.
I saw them, and then I hit my tee ball, and then I kind of walked over there waiting for Brad to hit, and I glanced over there again, and I said, wait a minute, that's Cameron and Kim and my mother-in-law and my good friend. I was totally in shock.
Although his father passed away last October at 82 years of age, he played a significant role in Scott’s victory. Bill had encouraged Scott to fix a mechanical issue in his swing. Scott’s club face was closed at the top of his backswing, but he resisted change since he was still playing well.
After his dad passed, he felt he owed it to him to heed his advice. He did. And now he has added a USGA championship to the family’s golf legacy. Bill’s closest call came in the 1973 U.S. Amateur, where he lost in the quarterfinals.
He was right, said Harvey, laughing about his father’s advice. He was always right.
And now a trophy with legendary amateur Bob Jones’ name on it is headed to his Greensboro home.
Man, I get chills, said an emotional Harvey.
Harvey’s golf aspirations have been supported at every turn by Kim, despite the challenges of taking care of Cameron on her own when Scott travels to play.
I always tell him to go get it done. Give it your all at all times, said Kim. I have never told him not to go and follow his dreams. He loves this so much and I get pleasure from watching his successes.
Based on the early signs Cameron is showing on the links, Kim may want to get used to the whole traveling-to-watch-family play golf bit. Cameron goes to the driving range regularly with dad, but made a big impression even earlier.
Kim and Scott bought Cameron a set of plastic kid’s clubs and balls when he was about 3 and he knew what to do from there.
The first time he hit the ball, he hit it perfectly with a little bit of loft and nailed it right into our wall, said Kim. He actually left impressions from the dimples in the wall. Instead of being upset about the wall, we were like: ‘Yes! He’s got it!’
So watch out for the name Cameron Harvey at a U.S. Junior Amateur in about seven or eight years. He just might continue the Harvey family golf legacy.
Odds And Ends
The flags at Saucon Valley were at half-mast to commemorate the 13-year anniversary of 9/11. The attacks actually took place during the 2001 U.S. Senior Amateur and U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis and Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley, Pa., respectively. … Four members of the Lehigh University men’s golf team were among the nearly 200 spectators watching the championship match. Lehigh plays out of Saucon Valley, often using the Grace Course. Eugene Grace, the second president of Bethlehem Steel who helped forge Saucon Valley’s history, was an 1899 Lehigh graduate. The Grace Course is named in his honor. … This won’t be the last time Nurski and Harvey will see each other this year. Both will be representing their homes states (Nurski for Missouri and Harvey for North Carolina) at the USGA Men’s State Team Championship at French Lick (Ind.) Resort Sept. 30-Oct. 3, and both are entered in the same U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifier at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis on Oct. 6. Nurski will team with Richard Skip Berkmeyer, while Harvey has teamed up with 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up Todd Mitchell.
Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com. USGA senior staff writer David Shefter contributed.