CHATTANOOGA, TN (September 13, 2005) -- Reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Austin Eaton III of North Sutton, N.H., kept his title defense hopes alive with a second-round victory Tuesday at the 25th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, being held at the par-72, 7,037-yard Honors Course.
Eaton’s match against Nate Dunn of Manchester, Iowa, was, in Eaton’s words, “ugly for a while.” With the usual match-play concessions, Eaton was four over par and Dunn was five over. Both players had a triple and a double bogey.
“It was awful, I tell you,” said Eaton. “I really had struggled most of the day. But I finished up strong. I really hit the ball well the last five holes or so.”
The two were all square after 13 holes. After winning No. 14 with a par and No. 16 with a conceded birdie after Dunn hit his tee shot in the water hazard, Eaton’s approach with a 4-iron from 200 yards stopped two feet from the flagstick for a conceded eagle on the par-5 17th. Dunn was unable to match and Eaton earned a 3-and-1 win.
Eaton, who is trying to join Jim Stuart (1990 and 1991) as just the second player to successfully defend his title, advances to Tuesday afternoon’s third round, where he will face 2004 Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist Kevin Marsh, 32, of Las Vegas, Nev.
“I’m glad I struck the ball well the last few holes because I definitely would be a little concerned if I hadn’t,” said Eaton. “It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that [shot into 17].”
Steven Liebler, 46, of Irmo, S.C., trailed early against two-time USA Walker Cupper and 1994 U.S. Amateur runner-up Trip Kuehne, 32, of Dallas, Texas. Kuehne built a 2-up lead after seven holes, but Liebler came back to win three in a row, starting with a birdie at the par-3 eighth, to take a 1-up lead.
“When I was two down, I didn’t panic,” said Liebler, a reinstated amateur who is playing in his first USGA championship for individuals since the 1985 U.S. Open. “Fortunately I was hitting it pretty solid. I was two down after seven holes and I hit some good shots and was fortunate to make a few putts.”
The match returned to all square when Kuehne won No. 11, but Liebler won the 13th and 15th holes to take a 2-up lead. After winning the 17th with a birdie, Kuehne had a chance to square the match on the 450-yard par-4 18th hole, but his 18-foot birdie putt skirted by the hole and Liebler had a 1-up victory.
“It wasn’t a hard putt,” said Kuehne. “It’s just a hard hole. You can’t come to holes where you have to make a 3 to try to stay alive in the match. It’s kind of like dogs that chase cars when you try to do that. You don’t last very long. You go on down the highway.”
It was the third consecutive year Kuehne was eliminated in the second round of the Mid-Am.
“Your golf game has got to be a little bit better,” said Kuehne. “I struck the ball well enough off the tee to do well. My poor wedge play cost me. I bogeyed a couple of holes from 115 yards and that was the difference in the match.”
Also advancing were 1999 Mid-Amateur winner Danny Green, 48, of Jackson, Tenn., who ousted Erik Myrmo of Eugene, Ore., 4 and 3. Green next faces Carlton Forrester, 29, of Birmingham, Ala. (146) who beat two-time (2001, 2003) USGA Senior Amateur winner Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (151), 4 and 3. Michael McCoy, 42, of West Des Moines, Iowa, eliminated Raymond Floyd Jr, of Greenwich, Conn., 3 and 2.
Frank Vana Jr. of Boylston, Mass., eliminated local favorite David Noll Jr. of nearby Dalton, Ga., 1 up.
Match play continues Tuesday afternoon with the third round. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Wednesday and the championship concludes with Thursday’s 36-hole final match.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison of USGA Media Relations. E-mail her with questions or comments at email@example.com.
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Results following Tuesday’s second round of match play at the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, being played at the par-72, 7,037-yard Honors Course.
Round of 32
Bryan Hoops, Chandler, Ariz. (152) def. T J Brudzinski, Columbus, Ohio (148), 3 and 2
Trey Lewis, Hendersonville, Tenn. (145) def. Robert Stelben Jr, Darien, Conn. (145), 6 and 5
Steven Liebler, Irmo, S.C. (147) def. Trip Kuehne, Dallas, Texas (144), 1 up
Rick Dewitt, Arvada, Colo. (149) def. Doug Stiles, Athens, Ga. (151), 22 holes
Kevin Marsh, Las Vegas, Nev. (142) def. Jim Chang, Montebello, Calif. (149), 2 and 1
Austin Eaton III, North Sutton, N.H. (146) def. Nate Dunn, Manchester, Iowa (145), 3 and 1
Parker Smith, Morristown, Tenn. (142) def. Andy Drohen, Granville, Mass. (149), 5 and 3
Tripp Davis, Norman, Okla. (146) def. Sean Knapp, Oakmont, Pa. (145), 3 and 2
Michael McCoy, West Des Moines, Iowa (148) def. Raymond Floyd Jr, Greenwich, Conn. (140), 3 and 2
Cliff Benson, Raleigh, N.C. (151) def. Stephen Paterson, Austin, Texas (150), 3 and 2
Brendan Hester, Northbridge, Mass. (143) def. Terrence Miskell, New Braunfels, Texas (149), 3 and 2
Bryan Norton, Mission Hills, Kan. (146) def. Eoghan O'Connell, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (145), 2 up
Danny Green, Jackson, Tenn. (141) def. Erik Myrmo, Eugene, Ore. (148), 4 and 3
Carlton Forrester, Birmingham, Ala. (146) def. Kemp Richardson, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (151), 4 and 3
Frank Vana Jr, Boylston, Mass. (147) def. David Noll Jr, Dalton, Ga. (142), 1 up
Kenneth Kellaney, Phoenix, Ariz. (145) def. Patrick Carrigan, Walnut, Calif. (150), 4 and 3
Chattanooga, Tenn. – Pairings for Tuesday’s third round of match play at the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, being played at the par-72, 7,037-yard Honors Course.
Round of 16
1:15 p.m. Bryan Hoops, Chandler, Ariz. (152) vs. Trey Lewis, Hendersonville, Tenn. (145)
1:25 p.m. Steven Liebler, Irmo, S.C. (147) vs. Rick Dewitt, Arvada, Colo. (149)
1:35 p.m. Kevin Marsh, Las Vegas, Nev. (142) vs. Austin Eaton III, North Sutton, N.H. (146)
1: 45 p.m. Parker Smith, Morristown, Tenn. (142) vs. Tripp Davis, Norman, Okla. (146)
1:55 p.m. Michael McCoy, West Des Moines, Iowa (148) vs. Cliff Benson, Raleigh, N.C. (151)
2:05 p.m. Brendan Hester, Northbridge, Mass. (143) vs. Bryan Norton, Mission Hills, Kan. (146)
2:15 p.m. Danny Green, Jackson, Tenn. (141) vs. Carlton Forrester, Birmingham, Ala. (146)
2:25 p.m. Frank Vana Jr, Boylston, Mass. (147) vs. Kenneth Kellaney, Phoenix, Ariz. (145