Flagstaff, Ariz. (Sept 13, 2006) -– Ryan Hybl, 25, of Winterville, Ga., and Dave Womack, 27, of McDonough, Ga., each won a pair of matches Wednesday and will meet in Thursday’s 36-hole final at Forest Highlands Golf Club to decide the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion.
Hybl, the assistant golf coach at the University of Georgia, earned a chance at winning the title and a likely invitation to play in the next Masters Tournament with a bogey that was good enough on the seventh extra hole of his semifinal match against last year’s runner-up, Carlton Forrester, 30, of Birmingham, Ala.
“That was a great match,” said Hybl, who is playing in his first Mid-Amateur. “It’s a shame it had to end like this (with bogey).”
In the other semifinal match, Womack defeated Scott Hardy, 30, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., in 19 holes. Womack took a brief lead by winning the fifth hole, but Hardy won the next hole and Womack didn’t get ahead again until he sank his winning birdie putt from 20 feet on the last hole.
Hybl played at Georgia and Womack played at Georgia State.
“That means the trophy is going back to Georgia no matter what happens,” said Hybl after walking 43 holes over the 6,941-yard Canyon Course to win his two matches.
Forrester was 1 up against Hybl heading to the 600-yard 18th hole. But a determined Hybl reached the green in two strokes and squared the match when Forrester’s birdie putt just missed and he conceded Hybl’s eagle putt from 10 feet.
“Those were the two best shots I’ve ever hit in a row,” said Hybl, a former junior Player of the Year and U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinalist in 1997.
Carlton Forrester narrowly missed his birdie chance here and also his chance to return to the Mid-Amateur final. (John Mummert/USGA)
In his morning match, Hybl used a birdie on the 18th hole to beat two-time champion Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn., 1 up.
Womack’s match with Hardy was also close, with Hardy holding a 1-up edge down the stretch..
“I was just trying to get an opening,” Womack said. “If I could get an opening, I felt I could do it.”
His opening came on the pivotal 382-yard par-4 17th. The long-hitting Womack cut across the left-hand corner of the dogleg with his drive and came up just 15 yards short of the green. He chipped to three feet and squared the match with his birdie.
“I feel like I deserve to be here. I’ve had a pretty good year,” said Womack, an insurance agent who won his quarterfinal match in the morning against Rick DeWitt of Arvada, Colo., by 3 and 2. In that match he was the equivalent of seven under par through 16 holes and needed only 21 putts. He had a stretch of four holes where he went birdie-birdie-birdie and hole-in-one.
“Whatever happens, I’m liking it,” Womack continued. “My game is peaking at the right time.”
The Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
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