Five Matches to Watch in Round of 64
October 5, 2015 | Vero Beach, Fla.
By David Shefter, USGA
It took longer than expected, but the field in the 35th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship being contested at John’s Island Club’s North and West courses has finally been whittled from 264 to 64. Weather issues forced the 36 holes of stroke play to be completed on Monday morning, after which a 22-for-2 playoff was held to determine the final match-play spots. Here are five matches to watch in the Round of 64 (West Course) with the competitors’ seedings in parentheses:
Scott Harvey, Greensboro, N.C. (1) vs. Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh, Pa. (64)
Stroke-play co-medalist and defending champion Harvey, 37, faces the only four-time champion in the event’s history. Harvey shot rounds of 69-70 to become just the fourth golfer to earn medalist or co-medalist honors three times in the Mid-Amateur. Smith, the champion in 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2012 as well as a three-time USA Walker Cup competitor, survived a 20-for-2 playoff (two other players who shot 6-over 149 did not start) by making one of two birdies at the par-3 13th hole. He is making his 11th Mid-Amateur start and has never failed to qualify for match play, with a 34-6 record. He also won the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in May with partner Todd White at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Harvey, No. 164 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, was a semifinalist in the Four-Ball with partner Todd Mitchell. He also won the South American Amateur and reached the quarterfinals of the Japan Amateur this year. He had a 1-2 record in the Walker Cup, winning his singles match on Saturday.
Patrick Tallent, Vienna, Va. (31) vs. Bowen Osborn, Los Angeles, Calif. (34)
At 62, Tallent, the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, is the oldest remaining player. At last week’s U.S. Senior Amateur at Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., Tallent lost in the Round of 64. This is his seventh appearance in a Mid-Amateur and first since 2009. His best showing was the Round of 16 in his first appearance 20 years ago. Osborn, 35, is a 2002 Lehigh University graduate and the 2002 Patriot League champion. This is his fourth USGA championship and third U.S. Mid-Amateur.
Neil Trimm, Madison, Miss. (14) vs. Todd White, Spartanburg, S.C. (51)
Trimm, 34, is making his second USGA start and first in the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He qualified for the 2001 U.S. Amateur at East Lake, but failed to advance to match play. He’s up against a USGA veteran in White, 47. The high school history teacher is no stranger to match play, having won the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in May with partner Nathan Smith, his teammate on the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team. White advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2012 and was a quarterfinalist in 2013.
Robby McWilliams, Benton, La. (3) vs. Kevin Van Rossum, Hartland, Wis. (62)
On Sunday, McWilliams, 47, established the competitive course record on the North Course with a 6-under-par 65. It was four off his personal best of 61 shot eight years ago at Stonebridge Country Club in Bossier City, La. This is McWilliams’ ninth start in the U.S. Mid-Amateur, where he was a quarterfinalist in 2010. He’s a seven-time club champion at Champions Golf Club in Houston, host course for the 1969 U.S. Open and 1993 U.S. Amateur. Van Rossum, 37, is playing in his first USGA championship. The president of a marketing company, he held the course record at Erin Hills before the U.S. Amateur was contested there. Van Rossum qualified as an individual for the NCAA Division III Championship in 2000 while playing for Augsburg College. He also played four years of basketball at Augsburg with future NBA player Devean George, and was the college’s male athlete of the year in 2000.
Kevin Marsh, Las Vegas, Nev. (19) vs. Travis Woolf, Fort Worth, Texas (46)
Beware of the 42-year-old Marsh, who has one of the better match-play records in the U.S. Mid-Amateur at 24-9. Not only did he win the 2005 title at The Honors Course with a 10-and-9 victory over Carlton Forrester, he has been a semifinalist the last two years, losing to the eventual champion in each case. Marsh isn’t a stranger to the Treasure Coast of Florida, having been involved in the Crane Cup at The Floridian in nearby Palm City. Woolf, 27, is a minister with the College Golf Fellowship. The 2010 Texas Christian University graduate is competing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur, but he advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2009 U.S. Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.