We freely admit to being homers here when it comes to rooting for amateurgolf.com members in major USGA events, but it isn't much of a stretch to say several AGC members have a serious shot to take home the U.S. Mid-Amateur which starts Saturday Milwaukee Country Club.
Kevin Marsh looks to be the best positioned amateurgolf.com member, and possibly the best in the field to take home the title.
When Marsh won this event in 2005, at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn., he exhibited all the necessary skills to take home a major, starting with resilience.
Marsh carded a 6-over 78 in the first round of stroke play qualifying, but rallied to make match play with a second-round 64.
He then eliminated two past U.S. Mid-Amateur winners on his march to the final round, 1997 champion Kenny Bakst and defending champion Austin Eaton III.
“It’s always very rewarding to play a great round when it counts,” said Marsh at the time. “I was frustrated after the first round of stroke play. But each round, I just kept playing better and better.”
He then showed finishing skills in the finale, pounding Alabama's Carlton Forrester 10 & 9 after opening up an early lead and never taking his foot off the gas.
It was the first USGA title for Marsh, a reinstated amateur who made it to the quarterfinals of the 2004 Mid-Amateur.
“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be a USGA champion,” said Marsh. “Playing with Austin was a real eye opener for me. I can only pray that I’m half the champion he is.”
Marsh has been streaking in 2008, winning the Southern California Amateur, taking second in the SCGA Mid-Am and making it to the Final-16 of the U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst.
Dave Womack of Georgia, the 2006 champ, is also in the field, while reigning champ Trip Kuehne has announced his "retirement" from competitive amateur golf will not defend his title.
Scott Hardy is another AGC member who we think has a real shot at the title.
Hardy, the golf coach who has revitalized the St. Mary's College squad, reached the semifinals of the past two Mid-Ams in the past two years. Hardy has won a slew of city and NCGA events over the years, so we know he is able to close out a big tournament, the question now is will this be his time for a USGA title?
Other members we are keeping an eye on are Mike McCoy, the reigning Trans-Mississippi Mid-Am champ and several-time Crump Cup winner and Randy Haag, another Crump Cup winner and reigning amateurgolf.com - Bridgestone Golf Tour Series Player of the Year.
McCoy made it into match play of the '08 U.S. Am, while Haag made a run in the '07 Am, but has played sparingly this year.
David Bartman and Robert Funk, the 2007 SCGA Foursomes winner who have a number of major wins between them are also players to watch.
Other amateurgolf.com members to make the field are listed below (let us know if we left anyone out)
Mark Austry, Lantana, Texas
Michael Barbosa, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Donn Berdahl, Stockton, Calif.
Jason Bittick, Coto de Caza, Calif.
Thomas Camaione, Upland, Calif.
Eddie Cho, Los Angeles, Calif.
Rocky Costa, Alpharetta, Ga.
Robert Hakes, Coronado, Calif.
Cliff Martin, Los Angeles, Calif.
Mike McCoy, West Des Moines, Iowa
Scott McGihon, Bermuda Dunes, Calif.
Brad Penfold, Elk Grove, Calif.
Mark Scheibach, Bermuda Dunes, Calif.
Gary Young, San Carlos, Calif.
Jeff Wilson, Fairfield, Calif.
Tim Thompson, Houson, Texas