2020 Arizona Mid-Am winner Bryan Hoops
Bryan Hoops of Chandler posted a final round of 3-under 67 to win the 54-hole Arizona Mid-Amateur by four shots over Abe Candelaria, Mitchell Holmes, and Kristoffer Marshall.
The tournament was played at the beautiful Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale.
It was the second title in three years in this tournament for Hoops, who at age 51 is playing golf like a man half his age.
Hoops (pronounced "hops") posted rounds of 67, 68, and 69 this year, after losing in a playoff to Michaell Martin last year and winning the title in 2018.
For his part, Martin did a nice job of coming back from an opening round 74 by posting rounds of 69 and 67 on Saturday and Sunday. But it was the last few holes of his first 18 holes that did the defending champ in -- he was going along nicely, but made bogey on No. 15 before finishing triple bogey, bogey on the last two holes.
Hoops had other competitors to contend with though.
He entered the final round tied with Mike Wagner at 5-under 135. When Hoops bogeyed the first hole Sunday, Wagner took a 1-shot lead but it was ever so brief. Hoops came back with an eagle on the par-5 second, and while he did bogey No. 3, Wagner did as well.
"I had a mud-ball on No. 1, and it cost me a bogey," said Hoops. "No big deal. I came back and hit a huge drive on the next hole, and only had 8-iron and I hit it to 12-feet and made it."
Hoops, who says 51 is just a number, hit that drive on the second hole (which measures 580) a full 368 yards.
From there, Hoops never looked back, making three birdies and not a single bogey from Hole Nos. 4 through 18. With Wagner dropping back with two bogeys and a double to shoot 74, it was up to the other players to make a charge.
Brett Howard, the third member of the final pairing, was hitting it close for the first nine holes, but not dropping any putts. After a three-putt on No. 9, he went for some shots he tried to press for birdies and that strategy wound up costing him as a final round 78 dropped him to 24th.
"I never had a three putt this week," said Hoops. "I've been playing at Whisper Rock during the last few weeks with Ken Tanigawa (the fomer standout am turned Champions tour pro), Paul Casey, and John Rahm -- good stuff just gets absorbed.," said Hoops.
Both Abe Candelaria and Mitchell Holmes shot 66 to take their best shot, but they were too far back heading into the final round to catch Hoops. Both finished T2 with Kristoffer Marshall, who posted a final round 68. All three finished four shots back at 4-under, while Chris Kamin rounded out the top-5, posting 68 to finish 3-under for the tournament.
Mari Miezwa of Arizona Golf Club posted a 54-hole total of 8-over to win the tournament by 9 shots over Kim Eaton of Apache Wells.
But get this.
Eaton started the tournament with a 16-over 86 and didn't give up, despite having two snowmen on the scorecard in round one. She moved from 9th place in the 12 player field to solo second by posting rounds of 71 and 70 in the last two rounds.
Those rounds were the second and third lowest in the tournament. The only player who scored lower in any round was the champion, who posted 69 on Saturday.
View results for Arizona Mid-Amateur
ABOUT THE Arizona Mid-Amateur
54-hole individual stroke play championship for men
mid-amateurs. Participants must hold an active
with an AGA Member Club. Also serves as a qualifier for
the Arizona Amateur.
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