SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Mike McCoy, a mid-amateur player from West Des Moines, Iowa, got off to a great start in Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, CA. He had his first eagle of the week on the par-5 544-yard first hole, and on the back nine he matched it with his second eagle of the tournament on the par-5 550-yard 15th hole.
"A nice way to start the day. That was fun to see that ball go in. I hit a nice shot there," McCoy said.
These two holes led the way to his 1-under par 69 for the day and 282 total for the tournament, leaving him tied for 26th overall.
McCoy ended his front side with a birdie on no. 9 and started his back side with a birdie on 10, but five bogeys during the round kept him from advancing up the leaderboard. He ended tied with longtime pros Tom Byrum, Corey Pavin, Michael Allen, Peter Senior, Woody Austin and Guy Boros.
"It's an honor to play well in this quality of company. These guys you've admired your whole career, they've done so much. It's a thrill. I'm glad that there's room for the amateur in this championship. I hope to play in a few more of them," McCoy said.
McCoy, who made the cut for the second straight year, was low amateur in last year's event at Oak Tree. Previously McCoy won the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur.
Two other amateurs made the cut and played the weekend. Mike Finster, a St. Petersburg, FL resident who turned fifty last week just in time to qualify.
“Is this the American dream or what?” Finster said of his participation in the senior national championship. He finished 17-over and in 71st place.
Dave Ryan, from Taylorsville, IL, finished in 72nd place at 20-over. Ryan was in heady company on Thursday as he briefly led in the first round. He birdied his first three holes, but ended the day 3-over par. He entered the Open as an alternate after getting a surprise phone call from the New Jersey-based USGA on June 15.
“I got finished mowing my grass, came inside and sat down on the couch,” Ryan told the State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL.
“My phone rang, and it was a lady calling from New Jersey. She asked if I wanted to play in the U.S. Senior Open.”
That was a call Ryan was all too happy to answer.
As for McCoy, despite his ability to mix it up with top Champions Tour players in a major championship, he told the USGA he won't be turning pro anytime soon.
He once again earned an exemption to play in next year's U.S. Open, and is certainly in consideration for one of the two Mid-Am spots on the 2015 USA Walker Cup team.
“Insurance is still my profession. Golf is still my passion,” McCoy told the USGA. “No illusions – [the professionals] do it a little better. It’s an honor to play well in this quality of company. These are guys you’ve admired your whole career, they’ve done so much. I’m glad that there’s room for the amateur in this championship. I hope to play in a few more of them.”