SCGA Mid-Am champion Dan Sullivan (SCGA photo)
PALM DESERT, Calif. (May 2, 2017) -- Dan Sullivan's game has been on the rise for years, and he has been a fixture on the Southern California and national amateur circuit. With nice collections of tournament wins under his belt, and a semi-final finish in the U.S. Mid-Am last year, the Pasadena resident (and two-time Pasadena City
champ) earned an article in the most recent SCGA Magazine.
Could they have known something?
It certainly wouldn't have been a stretch to call him a favorite at Palm Desert's Ironwood Country Club. But without an SCGA Mid-Am victory under his belt, but with some of the best amateurs in Southern California in the field, the task of coming on top is never an easy one. But Sullivan came out firing on Monday. He reached 11-under after the end of the 36-hole desert marathon, taking a 6-shot lead to bed. He was able to capitalize on that in the final round with steady ball striking and a "play smart" strategy that worked.
Sullivan posted a steady final round of 72, good for a 4-shot victory over a trio of players, who all did their best to catch him with rounds in the 60s.
"It feels great," said the champion. "I played really well, especially yesterday, and as you all know I was very much wanting to win this tournament, so to actually do it is a great feeling."
But no lead is big enough, especially when the gallery starts to gather around the leading group, and the finish line is in sight.
"I woke up in the middle of the night and that's when I started thinking about [the big lead]," said Sullivan. "I knew I just had to try and duplicate what I did the first day, and make good swings."
Sullivan wasn't quite the birdie machine on Tuesday that he was the day before, but he didn't have to be.
He played the front nine in 1-under par, and was never seriously challenged on the back despite a pair of bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes. But the three players that tied for third all had their moments. Mark Manwaring of Long Beach followed his tournament-low second round of 65 with a 69 in the last round, but the 75 he posted in the first round was too much to overcome. And J.R. Warthen of Nipomo shot the lowest final round (a 66) but despite throwing up 7 birdies and vaulting up the board from 12th to 2nd, he couldn't get close enough. Kyle Rector of San Diego -- a member of the AmateurGolf.com tech staff -- recorded his best finish in an SCGA by posting his second-straight 69 after a first round of 71.
Rector loved the Arthur Hills-redesigned Ironwood South Course, especially the par-5 second hole.
"I had tap ins for eagle there in both the second and third rounds, after making birdie there in round one," said Rector. "Both days I hit hybrids that looked like they had a chance to go in."
Ironwood Golf Club
Indeed, the rest of the field found the hole to their liking as well, as an amazing 13 eagles and a 105 birdies were recorded in the three rounds, and it played as the easiest. Sullivan played it in 4-under -- birdies in the first and third rounds and an eagle in round two.
Bowen Osborn of Burbank and Trae Cassell of Indio rounded out the Top 5, finishing at 6-under 210.
Sullivan, who celebrated his 50th birthday just a week ago, is proof that your best golf can come later in life. The "SCGA Plate" he was awarded for winning the SCGA Mid-Amateur (his first SCGA "major") can sit next to the ones he collected at the SCGA Foursomes Championship (twice) and at the 2012 SCGA Public Links Championships.
- Sullivan's start of 11-under (67-66) on Monday was one of the best 36-hole days in SCGA Mid-Amateur history. He recorded 11 birdies and an eagle, with his only two bogeys coming in the first of the two 18 hole rounds.
- With the win, Sullivan earns an exemption into this summer's California Amateur Championship at The Olympic Club. The Top 5 finishers all earn spots in this year's SCGA Amateur Championship, which will be held at Mission Hills CC in July, and the Top 10 earn exemptions into next year's SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship, to be held at Saticoy CC in April.
- Want to learn more about the champ? Read the recent SCGA feature story on Dan Sullivan here.
ABOUT THE SCGA Mid-Amateur
The SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship is open to
members ages 25 and older with a Handicap Index
of 5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes of
qualifying play in order to reach the final field of 84
players. In the Championship, players compete over
54 holes of stroke play with the top 42 players and
ties advancing after 36 holes to the final round.
View Complete Tournament Information