This is familiar: Texas takes 36-hole lead at USGA State Team
FRENCH LICK, Ind. – A pair of solid performances on Wednesday has Texas in position to win a record-fourth USGA Men’s State Team Championship, as it will head into the final round with a three-stroke lead over Iowa and Illinois at the par-72, 6,891 yard Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort.

Texas tallied a score of 5-under 139 for a two-round total of 5-under 283. Iowa, the first-round leader, shot a 1-over 145, while Illinois climbed up the leader board with a 3-under 141.

The Men’s State Team Championship consists of 54 holes of stroke play, with the two lowest of three individual scores counting as the team total for the round. The team with the lowest aggregate score following the final round is the champion. The championship is conducted biennially by the United States Golf Association. The men’s and women’s competitions are held in alternating years. Each state is responsible for selecting its team and the players must reside in that state to be eligible. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are represented in the 2014 field.

Colby Harwell, of Robinson, Texas, had a bogey-free outward nine – he started on the 10th hole – and then mixed in four birdies coming home to post a 3-under 69, one of only three sub-70 rounds recorded in Round 2.

“I finally started making a few putts today and was able to read the greens a little bit better than I did yesterday,” said Harwell, who made a 10-foot putt to save par on No. 9. “I’ve really hit the ball well off the tee and I’ve only missed a couple of fairways, and my driver’s been really solid, so that’s been a big thing with my game.”

Harwell’s teammate, Zach Atkinson, rebounded from a first-round 81 to fire a 2- under 70 and give Texas a chance to we championship for the first time since it won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2007. Texas has won more Men’s State Team titles than any other state and should it win the championship on Thursday, the Lone Star State would surpass the Georgia women for the most titles – men or women – in State Team history.

“It means the world. It’s what you play for, and it’s what we’ve played all year for,” said Atkinson, who has advanced to the Round of 16 in both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid- Amateur and is representing Texas for the first time. “It’s an honor to represent Texas and bring a good team out here and have some fun and play well on top of that, so we’re going to go out there and give it our best tomorrow.”

Iowa’s Gene Elliott carded five birdies for the second consecutive round, and on Wednesday he kept mistakes to a minimum, with back-to-back bogeys on holes 7 and 8, his 16th and 17th of the day, the only blemishes in what was an otherwise solid 69 to keep the team in contention.

“I got tired coming in, it’s a hilly golf course and it’s not easy to walk, said Elliott, a veteran of 26 USGA championships. “I got careless with a couple of putts, but if you’d have told me I’d shoot 69 starting the day, I’d have jumped at it. We’ll see what we can do as a team, and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Iowa is trying to win the championship for the first time after finishing as the runner- up in 2012. J.D. Anderson was the second counting score for the Hawkeye State, posting a 4-over 76. Last year’s U.S. Mid- Amateur champion Mike McCoy, who posted the low score (70) for Iowa on Tuesday, shot a non-counting 77.

Elliott’s round was highlighted by a 50-foot birdie putt on the par-5 third and an approach shot on No. 12 that left him a tap- in for birdie. As impressive as his play was on Wednesday, his score had the potential to be even lower. Elliott was 5 under for the round through 12 holes, and had a makeable birdie putt on the par-4 fifth, his attempt just rolling over the edge of the hole. Additionally, he missed a 6-footer for eagle on the par-5 14th after a 3-wood approach. He enters the final round with the low individual score among all competitors at 4-under 140.

Illinois was paced by Kyle Nathan, who fired a 2-under 70. Nathan, 30, a reinstated amateur, was buoyed by sharp iron play, with all three of his birdies coming after approach shots to 8 feet or closer. He and Blake Johnson will look to teammate and 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up Todd Mitchell, who has played for Illinois three times and has helped the squad to two top- five finishes, for veteran leadership on Thursday. Mitchell was the second counting score on Wednesday with a 71.

“I think it’s really exciting. Todd has [been in this position] before, so I’m sure we’ll ask him tonight for some leadership in that respect,” Nathan said. “It should be a lot of fun. You can’t ask for anything more than to play with some friends and try to win a golf tournament.”

Missouri will enter the final round in fourth place after a second consecutive even-par 144, putting it five strokes back of Texas. Missouri continued to be led by Richard “Skip” Berkmeyer, who has been one of the most consistent players in the field. After carding a 71 on Tuesday in a round that featured three birdies and two bogeys, the Wildwood resident posted the same number on Wednesday, a round that included birdies on holes 3 and 14 for the second straight day. The Show Me State is looking to improve upon its best finish in the championship, a tie for seventh in 2003.

“I’m just happy our team is at even par, that should give us a chance tomorrow, and all you want is a chance,” said Berkmeyer, an eight-time U.S. Mid-Amateur competitor. “You’ve got to play your own game. It’s team golf, but at the same time, you’ve got to do what you do. It’s out there if you hit good shots, but if you don’t, Pete Dye is going to make you pay.”

Florida posted a 2-over 146 and sits in fifth position, , six strokes behind Texas.

Vermont’s Bryan Smith carded the low round of the day, posting five birdies against one bogey for a 4-under 68, which matched the lowest individual round of the championship. Louisiana’s Brandon Aydlett, Smith’s fellow competitor for the first two rounds, posted a 68 on Tuesday, as did Virginia’s Justin Young.

Scott Lipsky is a manager of websites and digital platforms. Email him at slipsky@usga.org.


The location may be best known as the hometown of basketball legend Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics. But during the warm months of the season, French Lick boasts some wonderful golf. This week some of the country's best amateurs will be there playing the biennial USGA Men's State Team Championship.

It's hard to pick a winner in the unique "three-count-two" format, where a hot golfer (and even better two hot golfers) can seriously impact a team's performance. In 2012, for example, New York won the title and Joey Saladino's scores never counted. And if you follow the amateur game you know that Saladino, 34, is an excellent player with many titles in the Met section under his belt. But young guns Max Buckley and Mike Miller were firing on all cylinders that week in New Jersey.

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Is Florida the team to beat?

Men's State Team: Starting Times

This year, players will compete at the Pete Dye course at French Lick Springs Resort. More than a few of our readers have asked about the criteria to be part of a team, given some of the youthful competitors in the 2014 field. Contrary to popular belief, the State Team is not a mid-amateur event; it merely excludes players currently enrolled in college from being part of a "state's team." Some states might have the philosophy of not bringing teenagers to the event, but others obviously do not.

That means that Florida has hotshot Sam Horsfield on the team. If he's on his game (he once shot 59 at the Orlando City and won the 2013 Florida State Am by 11 shots, setting a low age record too) look for some low numbers from the England-born player. The same goes for Will Grimmer of Ohio, the youngest competitor in the 2014 US Open at age 17.

If you're anywhere near French Lick, Indiana and want to enjoy watching the best in the amateur game practice their craft, we suggest making a day trip this week to watch the USGA State Team. Please read on for a USGA fact sheet and state-by- state team breakdown.

They’re All Here: For the third consecutive time, and seventh time in the 11 playings of the championship, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have entered a team. 

11 For 11:Keith Decker, of Virginia, is the only competitor to have played in all 11 USGA Men's State Team Championships. 

Average Age of Competitors: 35.7 

Oldest Player In Field: John Sajevic, Nebraska- 58 (3/5/56) 

Youngest Player In Field: Andrew Chin, Hawaii- 15 (12/1/98) 

Father/Son Teammates In Field: John and Andrew Sajevic, Nebraska 

USGA Champions In Field (4): Michael McCoy, Iowa (2013 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Nathan Smith, Pennsylvania (2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur); Tim Hogarth, California (1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links); Scott Harvey, North Carolina (2014 U.S. Mid- Amateur)

USGA Men’s State Champions In Field (4):Keith Decker, Virginia (1995); Sean Knapp, Pennsylvania (2009); Nathan Smith, Pennsylvania (2009); Bryan Norton, Kansas (2010)

USGA Runners-Up In Field (7): Bill Williamson, Ohio (2013 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Todd Mitchell, Illinois (2008 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Tim Spitz, New York (2009 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Tim Hogarth, California (2010 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Brad Nurski, Missouri (2014 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Kenny Cook, Indiana (2011 U.S. Mid- Amateur); Bryan Norton, Kansas (2003 U.S. Mid- Amateur; 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur)

Recent Championship Experience: 57 players in the field competed in at least one USGA championship in 2014, with the U.S. Mid-Amateur having the most Men’s State Team competitors in the field (34). 

2014 U.S. Open Competitors In Field (1): Will Grimmer, Ohio 

2014 U.S. Senior Open Competitors In Field (3): Tom Brandes, Washington; Michael McCoy, Iowa; Bryan Norton, Kansas 

USA Walker Cup Competitors In Field (2):Nathan Smith, Pennsylvania (2009, 2011, 2013); Todd White, South Carolina (2013)

World Amateur Team Championship Competitors In Field (3):Erick J. Morales, Puerto Rico (2004, 2012); Jeronimo Esteve, Puerto Rico (2012, 2014); Edward Figueroa, Puerto Rico (2014) 

Player Notes (By State):

Results For U.S. Men's State Team Championship
Place  PtsScores
1LABrandon AydlettMetarie, LA70068-74-71=213
2CTDavid PastoreGreenwich, CT50070-72-72=214
3IAGene ElliottW. Des Moines, IA40071-69-76=216
T4CAJason AnthonyFairfield, CA40070-71-76=217
T4TXColby HarwellRobinson, TX40073-69-75=217

View full results for U.S. Men's State Team Championship

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