Round of 64: 5 Matches to Watch
October 10, 2017 | Atlanta, Ga.
By David Shefter, USGA
Tropical Storm Nate, which forced the stroke-play portion of the 37th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship to be completed a day later than scheduled, has come and gone. One of the largest playoffs – 25 for the final 16 match-play spots – in the championship’s history also is in the rearview mirror, having concluded on Tuesday.
A field that began with 264 competitors has now been trimmed to 64. Now it’s a mano y mano event for the next four days – and six match-play rounds – to determine whose name will be etched on the Robert T. Jones Jr. Memorial Trophy.
With 32 Round-of-64 matches scheduled for Tuesday at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course, here are five to focus on (all times EDT):
Nathan Smith vs. Jason Anthony, 9 a.m.
Smith and Anthony are paired for a third consecutive round after playing together during the two rounds of stroke play. Smith, 39, of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a four-time Mid-Amateur champion who needs to win two more matches to equal Jerry Courville’s championship mark of 36. Smith, whose last title came five years ago, has advanced to match play in 12 of his 13 Mid-Amateur starts. Anthony, 34, of Fairfield, Calif., advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s Mid-Amateur at Stonewall. A two-time U.S. Amateur qualifier, Anthony advanced to the quarterfinals of this year’s San Francisco City Amateur.
Sam O’Dell vs. Todd White, 9:20 a.m.
White, who turns 50 next month, is a high school history teacher in Spartanburg, S.C., who won the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with Nathan Smith at The Olympic Club and was a member of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team. He was a U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinalist in 2012 and a quarterfinalist two years later. The reinstated amateur also qualified for the 1995 U.S. Open. O’Dell, a 39-year-old dentist from Hurricane, W.Va., is trying to advance past the Round of 64 for the first time in four U.S. Mid-Amateur starts. He is a three-time West Virginia Amateur champion and five-time West Virginia Mid-Amateur champion.
Brad Wilder vs. Ryan Sloane, 10:20 a.m.
Sloane, 38, of Campbell, Calif., qualified for match play in dramatic fashion on Tuesday morning by holing a 60-foot birdie putt on the first hole of the 25-for-16 playoff. This is the second consecutive year the account executive for a title company has qualified for match play. Wilder, 38, of Fort Wright, Ky., advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur before falling to eventual champion Sammy Schmitz. A wealth advisor for a Cincinnati-based bank, Wilder fell in the Round of 64 of last year’s championship to David May. He won the Cincinnati Open in 2003 and 2005.
Chad Wilfong vs. Scott Harvey, 12:40 p.m.
A pair of North Carolinians are matched up as 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur-champion Harvey, 39, of Greensboro, meets Wilfong, 37, of Charlotte, who is competing in his first USGA championship. Harvey fell in last year’s thrilling 37-hole final to Stewart Hagestad at Stonewall. Harvey was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team. Wilfong, a two-time North Carolina high school champion, won the 2001 North Carolina Amateur before briefly embarking on a professional career. He won the 2003 Dothan Classic on the NGA Hooters Tour and advanced to the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying in 2004. The Wake Forest graduate regained his amateur status in August 2016.
Bill Williamson vs. Philip Walker, 1:50 p.m.
Williamson, 40, of Cincinnati, Ohio, is coming off a strong performance in the prestigious Crump Cup at Pine Valley, where he lost in the championship match to Michael McDermott. The 2009 Ohio Mid-Amateur champion advanced to the final match of the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur at the Country Club of Birmingham before falling to Mike McCoy. Walker, 48, of England, is one of four international players to advance to match play. Walker, a member of Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), site of the 2019 Walker Cup Match, is competing in his first USGA championship.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.