Colorado Mid-Am Match Play: Harrington tops Erdman
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 1, 2014) -- Michael Harrington has long been a fan of the color purple.

"Since I was a little kid, I've always liked it," the golfer from Colorado Springs said on Sunday. "I remember painting my dad's station wagon purple with a paint brush one time. He didn't like that at all."

On Sunday at the CGA Mid-Amateur Match Play Invitational at the Fox Hill Club in Longmont, the 42-year-old from Garden of the Gods Club wore a purple shirt, a purple cap and golf shoes that featured purple accents. Whether it brought him good luck, who knows? But apparently it didn't hurt.

"When you're out on the golf course, you try to do things that give you a positive mindset," Harrington said. "I just wear purple from time to time. We all try to think of something that's lucky, right? Why not?"

Whatever the case, the color-coordinated Harrington put on a good show in winning the Mid-Am Match Play. And with the victory, he completed a career sweep of CGA Mid-Am events, having won the Mid-Amateur stroke play in 2009.

Harrington birdied his last two holes Sunday to score a 6-and-4 victory over Paul Erdman of Colorado National Golf Club in the championship match.

Earlier in the day, Harrington made an eagle on the seventh hole to erase a deficit en route to beating fellow former CGA Mid-Amateur Player of the Year Steve Irwin, from Lakewood Country Club, 3 and 2 in the semifinals. Harrington played his final 10 holes of that match in 3 under par, even with a double bogey.

"It feels very good to win a second (CGA championship)," said Harrington, a financial advisor from Colorado Springs. "It's always nice to win golf tournaments, but the championships certainly mean a lot more."

With a first-round bye in the 24-man tournament, and a second-round win by default, Harrington only had to play three matches to capture the title. But on the decisive final day, he went under par in both the semifinals (1 under) and final (3 under) and didn't have go past the 16th hole in either case.

"This is just the second tournament I've played this year," he said. "It's nice to get that nervous, competitive feeling in your body.

"You never know as you get older how many more experiences you're going to have. I was talking to a buddy of mine years ago, and we were saying we can probably make a pretty good run until we're in our late 40s, then maybe have a couple of years where we're not so hot. Then we'll have a good run for 6-7 years after we turn 50. That's the wonderful thing about golf. You can continue to play competitively and have those juices flowing."

In the final against Erdman, Harrington made two birdies in the first five holes and was 3 up through eight. But after Erdman narrowed the gap by one, Harrington sank three putts of length in the last four holes to end the match.

After a poor pitch on No. 11 ended up on the fringe, Harrington holed a 20-foot par putt (pictured at top) that put him 3 up.

"It wasn't an overly makable type of putt," Harrington said. "I had to putt through the fringe and it broke a foot or so. It went in. It was just gravy, you know."

After also winning the next hole with a par, Harrington hit a nice approach on No. 13 despite having a somewhat restricted backswing due to a nearby tree. Then he drained a 20-foot putt for a birdie, leaving him 5 up. And on the par-5 14th, he closed out the match with a 12-foot birdie.

Erdman, winner of the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship in 2011, had played some very good golf to get the final, including beating top-seeded Keith Humerickhouse -- winner of the last four CGA Mid-Amateur stroke play tournaments -- in the quarterfinals.

Erdman, a top-six finisher in each of the last two CGA Public Links Championships, defeated Christopher Thayer of Bear Creek Golf Club, 2 up in Sunday morning's semifinals. But in the final, the runner-up was 4 over par through 14 holes.

"I didn't give him too much competition this afternoon to be honest with you," the 45-year-old Erdman said. "I ran out of gas a little bit (with five matches in 2 1/2 days). That's a lot of holes. Everything is kind of sore. But I had a good run. I had a great couple of matches leading up to this. I played well and hit the ball well. I've been even or under par every day I've been out here (until the final). Obviously I'm a little disappointed that I didn't come through and finish at the end. But overall it's a good experience."

There's certainly no shame in losing to Harrington. After all, here's a guy who's qualified for eight USGA championships, including three U.S. Amateurs.

"I was very consistent (this weekend)," he said. "I hit the ball pretty good most of the time. I hit a few loose shots here and there because I haven't been playing a ton. And my putting got better and better as the week wore on."

The CGA Mid-Amateur Match Play Invitational, which is restricted to players 25 and older, was being contested for just the third time.

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