Greg Earnhardt goes back-to-back at North Carolina Mid-Amateur
Two-time defending North Carolina Mid-Amateur winner Greg Earnhardt <br>(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)
Two-time defending North Carolina Mid-Amateur winner Greg Earnhardt
(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)

GREENSBORO, NC (September 25, 2016) -- Greg Earnhardt drives past Starmount Forest Country Club on his weekday commute. On the eve of the 23rd North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship final round, that became the motivation to win for the Greensboro resident. "If you win, every morning's drive will bring back good memories. If you lose, you're going to hate it."

Beginning Sunday with a four-stroke lead over Steven Brame of Henderson, Earnhardt was battling memories of past leads gone wrong. "I've choked away so many tournaments when leading," said the 47-year-old Earnhardt. "I've always come from behind."

On Saturday night, Earnhardt talked with seven- time Carolinas Golf Association champ Scott Harvey and longtime friend Billy Hooper. "Billy's been giving me encouragement. With my back bothering me, I wasn't even going to play [this championship]. He told me to play."

If Earnhardt was nervous, it did not show early. He birdied two of the first three holes at Starmount Forest Country Club, making the turn in 1-under 34 and held a five shot lead over Brame.

Brame was able to apply pressure on the inward nine, making consecutive birdies on holes 13 and 14 that cut Earnhardt's lead to two. On the short par-4 15th, each player hit his approach to within three feet. Brame putted first, and missed. Earnhardt did also. "I thought if I made that birdie putt on 15 and he missed his, things might have swung my way," said the 33-year-old Brame. "But I missed there, then again on 16 and he hit a great chip on 18 to clinch it."

Earnhardt's final round of even-par 71 was enough to claim a two-stroke win. With the victory Earnhardt set two Carolinas Golf Association records. His 54-hole total of 203 is a North Carolina Mid- Amateur Championship scoring record (204 shot by Uly Grisette, III in 2008 and 2010). Earnhardt also becomes the first back-to-back winner in the championship's 23-year history. "It was a little shaky, but I got it done," said Earnhardt, exhaling a large sigh of relief, then making the short drive home.

The top 30 finishers are exempt into next year's championship.

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ABOUT THE North Carolina Mid-Amateur

North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship is open to any male amateur golfer who has reached his 30th birthday, is a legal resident of North Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at a CGA member club that does not exceed 5.4. Sectional qualifying is required in the weeks before the championship unless exemption criteria is met. 54-hole stroke play event with a cut to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes.

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