Kiawah Island, S.C. – Co-medalists Nathan Smith, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Mike McCoy, of West Des Moines, Iowa, each won two matches Tuesday to advance to the third round of match play at the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship on the 6,964-yard, par-72 Cassique at The Kiawah Island Club.
Play was suspended at 7:05 p.m. (EDT) because of darkness. The resumption of the second round will be at 7:20 a.m. on Wednesday and the third-round matches are set to begin at 8 a.m., with the quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m.
Smith, 31, who won the Mid-Amateur championship in 2003 and was a member of the 2009 USA Walker Cup team beat Alan Stearns, of Tustin, Calif., 6 and 5 in the first round; and Brandon Smith, of West Palm Beach, Fla., 2 and 1, in the second round.
“That was an ESPN Classic,” Smith said of his afternoon match. “He played great. It could have gone either way.”
Past champion Tim Jackson of Jackson, Tenn., is one of several players who will have to complete his second-round match at the U.S. Mid-Amateur on Wednesday morning. (John Mummert/USGA)
Smith, a member of Pennsylvania’s victorious 2009 USGA State Team Championship squad, birdied two of his last five holes in a critical stretch against his Florida opponent.
“He ran in a birdie putt on 16 and I was like ‘Man, I’m only one up and we’re playing in the dark and anything can happen,” said the Pennsylvania Smith, whose iron approach on the par-4 17th hole was accurate.
“I stuck it in there pretty good to about 3 or 4 feet,” he said. “It was the longest 3-footer I ever had because I sure didn’t want to go down 18.”
McCoy, 46, enjoyed a relatively short day with a 4-and-3 win over Robert Crockett, of Louisville, Ky., 4 and 3, in the first round and a 7-and-5 victory over Erik Hanson, of Kirkland, Wash., in the second round.
“I’m glad I’m done,” said McCoy, a semifinalist in 2005 and 2008. “Everybody will get a good night’s sleep and be ready to go again. But, I can assure you I will be in bed early.”
Two other players who made quick order of their matches were Patrick Carter, 41, of Huntington, W.Va., and Tripp Davis, 42, of Norman, Okla., who each played only 26 holes over the course of the first and second rounds.
“Fortunately, I played really well in both rounds,” said Carter, a three-time Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist. “If I can get one more short round in that would be fantastic. But that’s not the way these things work. My next match will probably go 24 or 25 holes and I’ll be back to even with the field.”
Bert Atkinson, 51, of Charleston, was the home state’s last hope and he advanced to the second round but lost in a match of past Mid-Amateur runners-up to Randy Lewis, 52, of Alma, Mich., 4 and 3, in the third round. Atkinson was the runner-up in 1991 and Lewis finished second in 1996. Lewis qualified for the 2009 U.S. Senior Open and was a Mid-Amateur semifinalist in 1999.
Two-time champion Tim Jackson, 50, of Germantown, Tenn., was in one of seven second-round matches that did not finish because of the darkness.
Past Mid-Amateur champions Kevin Marsh (2005), Dave Womack (2006), and Buddy Marucci, the 2007 and 2009 USA Walker Cup captain and 2008 USGA Senior Amateur champion, were eliminated Tuesday.
The semifinal round is scheduled for Thursday and the championship concludes a day later than the original schedule on Friday with the scheduled 36-hole final.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur is one of 10 amateur championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association.
Story written by Pete Kowalski, manager of championship media relations for the USGA. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.