ELVERSON, PA (September 14, 2016) -- Scott Harvey won the first two holes of his U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinal match against Dan Sullivan, but that was just about the only easy part of his trip to the finals. Playing at Stonewall Links Old Course Harvey and Sullivan battled tooth and nail until on the 19th hole when Harvey was able to emerge victorious.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Harvey of heading the championship match. “It’s what you come here for, and the prize is worth it.”
Sullivan, tied the match with wins on the 4th and 5th holes before Harvey, the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion (and 2015 USA Walker Cup team member), stretched his lead back to 2 up with birdies on the 8th and 11th. However, this match had more twists on the horizon.
Sullivan, the 15-seed, drew within 1 down thanks to a 13th hole win and then tied the match with a two putt par on No. 16. On the 17th both players made par and sent the match to the 18th all-square.
Off the tee Harvey, playing as the three-seed, found trouble, while Sullivan split the fairway. On his approach shot Sullivan pushed it right and found the tall grass just above the green side bunker. Harvey's second shot came up short and to the left setting up a chipping contest.
Playing first Harvey hit his pitch to nine-feet, meaning if Sullivan got up-and-down he would likely advance to the championship match. However, a chunked first chip forced the two-time Pasadena City Champion to convert a gutsy bogey. Now facing a putt to win the match Harvey couldn't convert and the tilt continued to a 19th hole, the par-3 9th.
Sullivan played first and put his tee shot in the green side bunker. Seeing an opening Harvey hit the shot of his day to leave himself with a makable birdie putt. Facing an extremely difficult bunker shot, all Sullivan could do was play to outside of Harvey's ball and when his putt went begging all Harvey had to do was two-putt for par. Harvey missed his 30-foot birdie try but a par was good enough for Harvey to move on.
“It’s a difficult hole, demanding hole," Harvey said of the 9th. “You better hit a good shot, and I’ve been able to do that so far.”
Harvey will face No. 12 Stewart Hagestad in the title match. Hagestad, playing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur at just 25-years-old never trailed in his match as he went onto win 4&2 over 41-seed Scott Strickland. With the match all-square after eight holes, Hagestad won the 10th hole with a birdie and then closed the match in a hurry with wins on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes.
"To get this far against so many good golfers, I mean I had to survive an 8-for-3 playoff in qualifying," Hagestad told Fox Sports 1 following his round. "I am thrilled to be in the mid-amateur final and I am looking forward to the challenge."
The moment of the match, however may have been the 9th hole. After finding the sand off the tee Hagestad played out to 25-feet and then sank the ensuing par putt to keep the match all-square.
“There is a time to be conservative and time to go for the hero shot,” Hagestad said while talking about the match play mindset. “The hero shot was just putting it on the green, let alone trying to put it close. Let’s just say I don’t really want to go do it again.”
Thursday's title tilt will mark the second time this year that Harvey and Hagestad have matched up with the stakes high. At the George C. Thomas Invitational in June Harvey outlasted Hagestad to win the title in a sudden death playoff.
The 36-hole title match will be played on Thursday on both of the Stonewall Links courses. The opening 18-holes will be contested on the North Course while the Old Course will host the second 18-holes. This is the first time in tournament history that two courses will be utilized for the final round. The match will begin at 7:15 a.m. EST.
Live final round action can found on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 3:00 p.m. and continuing through the conclusion of play.
-The USGA contributed to this story
ABOUT THE U.S. Mid-Amateur
The U.S. Mid-Amateur originated in 1981 for the
amateur golfer of at least 25 years of age, the
purpose of which to provide a formal national
championship for the post-college player. The
event is open to those with a USGA Handicap
Index of 3.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national
championships conducted annually by the
USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
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