Brad Nurski, left (NIT photo)
(St. Joseph, Mo.) got himself across the finish line on Sunday, struggling with a 4-over 75 but hanging on for a one-shot victory at the Birmingham National Invitational Tournament.
The NIT draws one of the deepest fields in mid-amateur golf, but through 36 holes Nurski was the only player in the field to break par in each of the first two rounds. Rounds of 70 and 67 gave him a two-shot lead over longtime NIT participant Alan Coshatt
(Birmingham, Ala.), who finished fifth last year and has had seven top-15 finishes in the last eleven years in this tournament.
With Nurski losing shots, playing partner Coshatt had an opportunity to take the tournament, but he could only manage a 74 himself and fell one shot short at even par. Andrew Lawson
(Dallas, Texas), who took the lead with an opening round of 67, shot a 69 in the final round to post even par but ultimately it was his second round of 77 that kept him from lifting the trophy.
(Knoxville, Tenn.), who just turned 50 and recently qualified for the U.S. Senior Open, shot the low round of the day, a 67 that put him at solo fourth at one over par.
Four players -- Matthew Broome
(Barrington, R.I.), Sean Rowen
(Greenwood, Ind.), Stephen Behr
(Florence, S.C.), and Carlton Woods Invitational champion Philip Lee
(Nashville, Tenn.) -- tied for fifth at 2-over 215.
The 40-year-old Nurski is no stranger to being in contention for important golf titles. Last year he won his third Missouri Amateur
championship to go along with two Missouri Mid-Amateurs, and last fall he made it all the way to the Crump Cup final
at Pine Valley before finishing as the runner-up to Patrick Duffy
. In the NIT, he was trending well, finishing T19 in 2017 and tied 7th last year.
The defending champion Clay Guerin
(Hoover, Ala.) couldn't recapture the magic from last year and finished T50, tied with 2017 champion Matt Van Zandt (Houston, Texas).
Related: Guerin loses lead, wins Birmingham National Inv. in Playoff
60-year-old Tim Jackson
of Germantown, Tenn., the two-time U.S. Mid-amateur champ who has won this tournament at least six times (most recently as a 56-year-old in 2015), finished in a tie for 26th. 2012 champion Patrick C
hristovich (New Orleans, La.) tied for 14th, and 2013 champ John Engler
(Augusta, Ga.) finished T32.
- USGA photo
The Country Club of Birmingham continues to establish itself as a championship venue, with Nurski the only player the break par for 54 holes, and just by a single shot. The club hosted the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur, won by Mike McCoy
, and will host its next USGA championship in 2022 when the popular U.S. Four-Ball Championship is played there.
Related: U.S. Amateur Four-Ball headed to CC of Birmingham in 2022
ABOUT THE NIT
This 54-hole stroke play event, formerly
held the weekend after Memorial Day but moved to
November in 2020, dates back to
the early 1900's and is also known as the "NIT". Draws
a field of national-level mid-amateurs.
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