Mitch Mercer (Pennsylvania Golf Association photo)
Mitch Mercer scored a big win for the home club on Tuesday at the Pennsylvania Mid-Amateur as he defeated a fellow top in-state mid-amateur for the trophy. Mercer fired a second-round 70 into a late tie with Jimmy Ellis, then went on to beat Ellis in extra holes at Longue Vue Club in Verona, Pa.
“This feels great. I just joined earlier this summer and it’s only been a couple of months, but it’s been an amazing summer,” said Mercer, 32, of Pittsburgh, Pa. “We had five Longue Vue guys playing this week, and I wanted everyone to play well, but to bring it home myself is special.”
On the one hand, playing on home turf can be an advantage. It can also create extra pressure. When Mercer teed off in the second-to-last group on Tuesday after a 2-under 68 in the opening round, he was trailing leaders Ellis and Ian Bangor by two shots.
Scores were higher across the board on Tuesday. Only Anthony DeGol, with a closing 3-under 67, managed to get under par on Tuesday. Mercer closed with 70, while Ellis had 72 and Bangor had 73, respectively.
Mercer, winner of the Western Pennsylvania Middle-Amateur in 2017 across the river at Green Oaks Country Club, jarred three birdies on Longue Vue’s front side to get his name into the mix. On No. 18, however, he missed a two footer for par that forced the playoff with Ellis.
“I just stepped up and knew I pulled it right away,” said Mercer.
In the final grouping, Ellis jarred a 15-foot downhiller from the back of the green to send spectators into a cheer, meaning a playoff was in order. However, the good fortune for Ellis would soon fade.
Back at that hole for the playoff, Mercer stepped up and found the left rough. Ellis’ tee shot darted right and lodged in and underneath tree. An unplayable was the only move, meaning Mercer had the advantage.
“Jimmy got a really bad break there in the playoff. It was unfortunate, but because of that, my mindset changed. It was like match play from then on,” said Mercer, a former collegiate player at Susquehanna University.
Mercer’s approach shot from 163 yards out found the center of the green, and from there, a three putt gave him the crown.
Quotes and information from the Pennsylvania Golf Association used in this report
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ABOUT THE Pennsylvania Mid-Amateur
36-hole stroke play event open to open to any male
amateur golfer who is a member of a club belonging
the Pennsylvania Golf Association and is 25 years of
age or older. Qualifying is required for those who do
not meet the exemption criteria.
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