Texas (TGA) Mid-Am Match Play Championship
Thanks to the Texas Golf Association for this report.
DALLAS, TX (July 30, 2006)--Alan Clark of Ennis and Jeff Leach of Frisco were the final two players remaining out of the starting field of 90 at the 2006 State Mid Am Match Play Championship. The two advanced into the finals on Sunday afternoon by handily defeating their opponents in the morning matches. After a brief respite from the heat for lunch, the two players teed it up at high noon and the battle was on!
The 5th hole, a 208-yard par 3, was indicative of the championship match and set the stage for the remainder of the afternoon. When Jeff Leach holed a 40-foot putt for a birdie two, Clark simply stepped up and ran a 34-footer right on top of Leach for the tie. The large following of Bent Tree members and spectators were treated to this brand of spectacular golf all day.
While both players traded jabs for the rest of the front 9, Clark found himself 1-up through 9 holes. After Leach three-putted the 11th green, Clark went 2-up and appeared to be in control. Both players halved the 12th, but when Leach hit his tee shot into the water hazard off the 13th tee, Clark was looking to take command of the match. Feeling it was time to make a move, Leach hit a driver off the fairway and came up just short of the green and got up-and-down to save par and a surprising halve. Leach then won the 14th hole, to cut the deficit to one. After short-siding himself in the left bunker on the 15th hole, Leach was staring at bogey, but instead holed the bunker shot for an improbable birdie. You could feel the momentum shift as the match went to all square. The momentum continued to swing his way on the 16th hole with another birdie that put him in the lead for the first time in the match with 2 holes remaining.
Leach was unable to get up and down from the right bunker and Clark won the 17th hole with a par to square the match heading into the final hole. Both players reached the green in two on the difficult par-4 18th hole. Clark was first to play, and stepped up and drained a 30-footer for spectacular birdie three. Needing to hole his putt to force extra holes, Leach missed is birdie try by just inches. It was a hard fought battle that left everyone wondering why we don’t play more match play.
SEMI-FINAL MATCH RECAP
Alan Clark of Ennis, the 13th seed, took on Steve Trafton of Austin, the 8th seed, in the morning’s first match. Clark got off to a fast start winning 2 of the first 3 holes. The match went back and forth over the next couple of holes with Clark making a kick-in birdie on the ninth to give him a 3-up lead going into the back side. After his birdie on nine, Clark continued his strong play by winning 3 of the next 4 holes to close out the match 6 and 5 over Trafton. In the morning’s second match, Jeff New of the Woodlands, the 6th seed, took on the 2nd seed Jeff Leach of Frisco. New got off to a solid start, making par on his first 3 holes, giving him a 1-up advantage early in the match. After an early bogey on number 2, Leach turned it around by playing 2-under on his next seven holes and finished the front nine 3 up. On the back nine, Leach continued his fine play, matching New shot for shot and never allowing New a chance to get back in the match. Leach’s mistake free golf over the match’s last 5 holes earned him the victory 6 and 4 and a date with Alan Clark in the afternoon’s championship match.
For complete coverage of the Texas Mid-Am Match Play, visit the TGA website at www.txga.org. Click here
for complete results from the Texas Mid-Am Match Play Championship.
The Texas Texas Mid-Am Match Play is an amateurgolf.com Texas Amateur Rankings points event.