Echikson, past Belgium National Team member, wins N.C. Mid-Am
Sam Echikson (CGA/Twitter photo)
Sam Echikson (CGA/Twitter photo)

Sam Echikson of Charlotte, N.C., battled back from a five-shot deficit to pull off the come-from-behind victory at the 26th North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship.

“I definitely felt there was a possibility,” said Echikson. “I knew if I played well, I could shoot a good score. I really thought that was in the cards but doing is a different thing.”

Echikson’s round got off to a slow start after making a bogey on the par-4 second hole. His turning point was making an eagle on the short par-4 fifth hole. He hit a 3-wood from the tee to about five feet from the hole and made the putt for eagle.

“At that point, I knew I was playing pretty well and could make more birdies,” said Echikson.

Echikson would go on to birdie four of his next six holes to move into a tie for the lead. He finished the Championship with a 10-under 203 total to claim his first CGA Championship win.

“Even though the summer has been good, I made cuts but I didn't really blow anything out of the water,” said Echikson. “So, coming out here and shooting 10 under was kind of surprising to me but it feels great.”

Echikson was born in Belgium and played for their national team as a junior. He first came to the Carolinas to play golf for Davidson College but later went back to Belgium to take a shot at professional golf. After a year fighting it out on the professional circuit, he decided that path was not for him and he came back to the Carolinas to begin a professional career in software development. Since regaining his amateur status, he's been playing in CGA and USGA events when he can. In 2018, he made it to the Round of 32 at the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Charlotte Country Club.

Bobby Dean of Charlotte, N.C., who started the day four shots off the lead, made a run at the Championship title but came up one shot short of the victory. Dean’s 9-under 204 total was good enough for second place in the championship division and first place in the 40+ Division.

The 36-hole leader, Stephen Woodard of Charlotte, N.C., had an up-and-down final round. An early double bogey on the par-3, third hole cut Woodard’s lead from four shots to two. He was able to bounce back with birdies on Nos. 6 and 9 but a wayward tee shot on the par-5 14th hole resulted in a double bogey. Woodard was not able to bounce back again and would finish in third place at 8-under 208 for the Championship.

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ABOUT THE North Carolina Mid-Amateur

North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship is open to any male amateur golfer who has reached his 30th birthday, is a legal resident of North Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at a CGA member club that does not exceed 5.4. Sectional qualifying is required in the weeks before the championship unless exemption criteria is met. 54-hole stroke play event with a cut to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes.

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