Damon Krause (SCGA photo)
With a birdie on his final hole, Damon Krause closed out the SCGA Mid-Amateur title at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach. The Los Angeles native put together three steady rounds of golf, following an opening 1-under 69 with back-to-back rounds of 72.
Ultimately, Krause prevailed on the strength of his putter. He had just 11 putts on the back nine.
Coming off a good birdie at No. 14, Krause mis-clubbed on the par-3 15th and plugged in the face of a bunker short of the green. He hit a miraculous shot out that landed 10 feet behind the hole and trickled to a foot, then tapped in for par.
“Yesterday I hit the ball beautifully,” said Krause. “But then today, I just chose the wrong club on every shot and I had to scramble. My short game came through, which really hasn’t been that much of a strength in the past.”
Krause knew he needed to birdie the par-5 18th to win the championship. He had a blind iron shot into the kidney-shaped green, but he put it in a gully about 15 yards short. Krause was staring at a tricky uphill chip onto a plateaued flagstick location.
“I had a fluffy lie at the bottom of the hill,” he said. “In my mind I was just thinking don’t chunk it and have it roll back to my feet.”
His chip landed perfectly and rolled up to a couple feet, securing his Mid-Amateur title.
Behind Krause’s steady effort, the leaderboard shuffled. Another L.A. native, Jonathan Minkoff, logged one of only two final-round scores in the red. Playing two groups ahead of Krause, he used a 1-under 69 to climb all the way to a tie for second. Minkoff played his final nine in 2 under.
At 4 over for the week, Minkoff tied for second with Ryan Wilkins. Both were one shot behind Krause.
Joseph Benedetti of Playa Vista, Calif., was solo fourth at 5 over.
A crowd in fifth (6 over) included Nick Geyer, Tim Beans and AmateurGolf.com’s own Kyle Rector.
A handful of SCGA regulars finished farther down the leaderboard. Dan Sullivan, who won this title in 2017, the same year he reached the semifinals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, tied for 13th at 9 over.
Two shots behind that, L.A. legend Tim Hogarth – winner of three SCGA Mid-Ams from 2007-10 and also the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion – was T-18.
Corby Segal, runner-up at this event last year and the winner in 2016, had a final-round 77 to finish T-24 at 12 over.
The top 10 finishers in this year’s Mid-Am are exempt for next year’s tournament. Additionally, the top 5 will earn a spot into the SCGA Amateur Championship, which is scheduled for July 11-14 at Lakeside GC.
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.
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