Todd Mitchell and Scott Harvey (USGA/Steve Gibbons)
For Scott Harvey and Todd Mitchell, match play at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball is always the same story, different setting. The two mid-amateurs have made the match-play bracket five times since this event began in 2015 but had never gotten farther than the semifinals.
At Bandon Dunes, Harvey and Mitchell went into uncharted territory. Mitchell, 40, of Bloomington, Ill., and Harvey, a Kernersville, N.C., resident who turns 41 on Thursday, defeated East Carolina University rising seniors Blake Taylor, 21, of Wilmington, N.C., and Logan Shuping, 21, of Salisbury, N.C., 2 and 1, in the 18-hole championship match of the 5th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Mitchell has never won a USGA championship, though Harvey won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2014.
"I don’t know that I can have a better feeling from a golf and competition side," said Mitchell, a former minor-league baseball player. “I know he won the Mid-Am by himself. As close as Scott and I have become over the past probably six years, I’m elated that it happened like this.
"I can’t think of a better scenario than to do something like this with Scott. I mean, we live, I don’t know, 800 miles away, and we talk every day; every single day. There’s not a day that goes by unless, you know, he’s on vacation somewhere, that we don’t talk. And to share this with him means everything."
Of the two, Harvey competes more frequently on the amateur circuit. He won the prestigious George L. Coleman Invitational at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., last month. Harvey thinks there aren’t enough team events out there, so this is a week he cherishes. What makes Harvey and Mitchell such a good twosome?
"We somehow have the ability to pick each other up," Mitchell said. "When somebody is in trouble, the other person steps up. And I think our -- I think the way we go about the golf course is a little bit different, but we see things the same way, if that makes any sense at all."
In their final match on the Old Macdonald course, Harvey and Mitchell wrapped it up with three consecutive birdies from Nos. 14-16.
Harvey felt the momentum turn at No. 14 when Shuping three-putted for par at the 285-yard par 4 and his side lost their one-up advantage. Harvey and Scott made birdie.
"Any birdie out there in 30-mile-an-hour wind is crazy good," Harvey said. "So, yeah, I felt like 14 was the match."
Mitchell, an insurance agent, followed with a 63-foot eagle putt with 25 feet of break on the par-5 15th hole that stopped 2 feet from the flagstick that their opponents conceded. The winning birdie put the side 1 up.
On the par-4 16th hole, Mitchell stuffed his blind 8-iron approach shot from 155 yards to 4 feet to set up another winning birdie.
"I finally showed up," said Mitchell of his winning birdies on Nos. 14-16.
The match concluded on No. 17 with matching pars, although Shuping thought he had made his 15-footer for birdie.
"Obviously, we’d like to be holding the trophy," said Shuping. "Any time you lose, you’re not going to be that happy.
"But looking back on it, this is probably going to be my favorite week of golf ever. I mean, this is so much fun, having the family here, playing with Blake. We played so well. I mean, we even played well this afternoon. Those guys got hot, and they’re great. That’s what happens."
Between them, Harvey and Mitchell figure they’ve played in 60 USGA events. Harvey’s first was the 2007 U.S. Amateur at Olympic Club. Mitchell had played the U.S. Am in 2003, 2005 and 2007 before trying to qualify for the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Bandon Dunes.
He got in, opened with 83 then turned it around for a 68 as weather worsened. He climbed from the 200s to 40th on the leaderboard, made match play and lost in the second round.
USGA championships aren’t easy to win. They’re also not easy to qualify for, which Harvey knows well. That won’t be an issue for the Four-Ball anymore.
"Listen, we were ecstatic when we won our quarterfinal match and we weren't going to have to qualify for next year's tournament," Harvey said. "Now to think about ten years? … I'll be 41. So I'll be 51, playing in this thing. That's like Mike McCoy stuff and Todd White. I mean, to me, how cool is that?"
Information from the USGA used in this report
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