Mcclure Meissner (SGA)
The attack of the Mac bested one of the most elite amateur fields of the summer.
SMU’s McClure ‘Mac’ Meissner began the final round of the 114th Southern Amateur seven shots behind 54-hole leader Cole Hammer (Texas).
Meissner’s game plan for the final round was to just stay steady and let the course come to him.
“My mindset was to make as many birdies as I could,” Meissner told AmateurGolf.com after turning in his scorecard to take the clubhouse lead, “and take advantage of the holes that they give you chances on.”
He didn’t even think he would be in a position to win. Looking to go a couple under par, Meissner surprised himself when he made the turn. Posting a front-side 4-under 32, Meissner thought to himself “I’ve got a chance here”.
With his dad Kurt on his bag, the duo saved their best work for last.
Making his lone bogey of the day on No. 10, Meissner rallied with three straight birdies on holes 12-14 before parring out to tie the low-round of the tournament with a 66.
“It was all working pretty well,” Meissner said when asked what the best part of his game was on Saturday.
As Hammer and fellow Longhorn Pierceson Coody struggled to continue their pace, the third wheel of the final group rose to the occasion.
Illinois State senior David Perkins felt like it was him against the world as he was paired with Hammer and Coody. Coody, a member at Maridoe, had as big of a gallery as COVID-19 protocols would allow.
“I definitely had some nerves to start,” Perkins said. “Mostly it was knowing that nobody really wanted me to win.”
Half joking, Perkins stayed within himself during a round that he says was not his best performance. Pushing his own bag, Perkins three-putted twice on the front nine en route to an even-par 36. With not much going positively or negatively, he finally got the spark he was looking for on the par-5 16th.
Making an eagle, Perkins piqued the interest of everyone with two holes remaining.
Hitting two “perfect” shots to leave as easy a chip as one could have on the glass-like greens at Maridoe, Perkins’ ball found the bottom of the cup before he needed his putter.
Coming away with par on 17, Perkins had a similar situation on the closing hole. Coming up short on his approach, Perkins had about 15-yards to the flag. He nearly holed out for the win. Tapping in for par and a final round 70, he headed back to the 18th tee to face Meissner as the pair tied at 7-under.
Both hit the fairway, but Perkins went first on the approach. Leaving it short and right just as he had done in regulation, the pressure was on Meissner to hit the green.
Doing so from about 155 yards, Meissner left himself a 20-foot birdie putt and a near-lock par. Perkins two-putted following his chip, leaving the stage for Meissner to claim victory. Drilling an ever so stressful three-footer, Meissner was named the 2020 Southern Amateur champ.
“I’ve had a lot of good finishes in my junior and college career,” Meissner said following the playoff, “but I haven’t really gotten it done much… It gives me a ton of confidence knowing that I’m good enough to be out here. I’ve always struggled with that a bit.”
Already exempt, both he and Perkins earned exemptions in next month's U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes. Clay Merchent (Noblesville, Ind.) had a golden opportunity to punch his ticket to the national championship and claim the Southern Amateur trophy at Maridoe. Merchent, who is not exempt, needed a win or a runner-up finish to make it to Bandon Dunes, and with six holes left to play he was eight under and found himself leading the field by three shots. But two doubles and two bogeys coming in dropped him back into a tie for fourth with Junmin Lee of Bryan, Texas.
Oklahoma’s Quade Cummins shot his third straight 70 to finish solo third, two shots out of the playoff.
John Pak (Scotch Plains, N.J.) tied for sixth with Julian Perico (Peru) and Austin Eckroat (Edmond, Okla.).
Hammer (79) and Coody (77) both tumbled down the leaderboard as the expected duel between the Texas teammates never materialized.
Marcus Jones (Argyle, Texas) took home low mid-am honors.
ABOUT THE Southern Amateur
The Southern Amateur, which dates back to 1902, is
one of two competitions held by the Southern Golf
Association (the other is the Southern Junior). This
is a 72-hole stroke play championship with a cut
made after 36 holes. Entries are open to any male
amateur golfer who has a current USGA Handicap
Index® not exceeding 3.4 under the USGA Handicap
System. Non-exempt players must pre-qualify at
one of the qualifying sites held across the southern
U.S. in the two months leading up to the
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