U.S. Mid-Am: Kuehne, Whitaker to meet in championship
03 Oct 2007
see also: U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship, Charlotte Country Club


BANDON, Ore. (Oct. 3, 2007)-- It has taken 13 years, but Trip Kuehne, 35, of Irving, Texas, is finally getting another chance to claim a national title in amateur golf.

Kuehne and Dan Whitaker, 26, of Cle Elum, Wash., each won two matches Wednesday to advance to Thursday’s 36-hole final of the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

Kuehne, who lost in the 1994 U.S. Amateur final to Tiger Woods, made an 18-foot birdie on the first extra hole of his semifinal match to defeat Scott Hardy, 31, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., who also reached the semifinal round a year ago. Whitaker birdied the final hole of his semifinal match at the par-72, 6,988-yard Bandon Dunes layout to edge past champion Kevin Marsh of Las Vegas, Nev., 1-up.

"I got a good read off his putt,” said Kuehne. “I finally kept my head still and hit a good putt.”

Kuehne never led in the match until the end. In fact, he won three consecutive holes just to square the match after the 16th hole.

"I didn’t feel like I played that bad,” said Kuehne. “It was just that my putting speed was off. I got a little frustrated, but I always believed I could win. I just tried to hang in there.”

Kuehne parred the second extra hole in his morning quarterfinal match to edge Stephen Sear of Washoe Valley, Nev.

To end his semifinal, Whitaker turned the tables on Marsh, who reached the par-5 last hole with his second shot. He blasted from a greenside bunker to five feet and made the putt while Marsh three-putted from 40 feet.

"It was just such an up-and-down match,” said Whitaker, who is playing in his first Mid-Amateur. “I assumed he would two-putt. My ball was buried. I just aimed a couple inches behind the ball and swung as hard as I could. That ball could have gone anywhere.”

In his quarterfinal match, Whitaker edged Tim Mickelson of San Diego, Calif., 2-up.

Whitaker has played in one Amateur and one U.S. Amateur Public Links. In contrast, Kuehne has played in more than 20 USGA championships, including three U.S. Opens. He has been selected for three USA Walker Cup teams. But, he has gained the most notoriety for finishing second to Woods at the 1994 Amateur at TPC Sawgrass, where he held a 7-up lead after 17 holes. Woods rallied for the win on the second 18, 2-up.

Kuehne has held the dream of winning a USGA title ever since. He even changed his mind about professional golf, choosing to stay a career amateur and start an investments business. His younger brother, Hank, won the 1998 Amateur and his younger sister, Kelli, won back-to-back U.S. Women’s Amateurs.

--Story by Craig Smith, USGA

Results For U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship
WinTXTrip KuehneDallas, TX1000
Runner-upWADan WhitakerEllensburg, WA700
SemifinalsCAScott HardyPleasant Hill, CA500
SemifinalsNVKevin MarshHenderson, NV500
QuarterfinalsCATim MickelsonSan Diego, CA400

View full results for U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship

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. 264 players begin the championship with two rounds of sroke play qualifying held at two courses, after which the low 64 (with a playoff if necessary to get the exact number) advance to single elimination match play.

View Complete Tournament Information

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