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Colorado Mid-Am: Chris Thayer wins in bizarre playoff
Chris Thayer (CGA)
Chris Thayer (CGA)

Usually when you scribble a triple-bogey on your card in a playoff, your day is over, right?

Well, not for Golden, Colorado’s Chris Thayer.

The 40-year-old and two-time champion of the Colorado Mid-Amateur Championship began the final round six shots back of the leaders on Sunday. Needing a near-perfect round, Thayer did just that as he carded a 6-under 66 to get himself to eight under par and snuck himself through the back door of a three-man playoff.

The trio made rather boring play of the first playoff on No. 18. Colorado State men’s assistant coach Parker Edens made his exit with a bogey, leaving the spotlight for Thayer and Josh McLaughlin.

This is where things get fun.

Thayer took two penalty shots after one shot went left out of bounds and another was stuck in a tree. Somehow getting out of there with a triple-bogey seven, the pressure was on McLaughlin. McLaughlin also took a penalty shot off the tee and had to hack through some native grass that would have made Winged Foot’s rough look like a walk in the park. Stepping up to his seventh shot, McLaughlin clutched up and knocked home the putt for the tie.

Having to squeeze in between public play groups, the two headed back to the 18th tee for what would become the final playoff hole.

As McLaughlin’s drive veered off into the native grass once again, Thayer was finally able to take advantage. Hitting his approach into a greenside bunker, Thayer escaped and his ball nestled onto a twice familiar line he had earlier in the day and playoff. Using his past experience, Thayer drained the 22-foot putt for his third Colorado Mid-Am Championship.

“I don’t care that I made 7 and was obviously lucky that (McLaughlin) made a couple of mistakes too,” Thayer told the Colorado Golf Association. “That’s just how golf is sometimes. I’ll remember getting it up and down from 30 yards — one of my best pitch shots of the week. That’s all I’ll remember of that hole. Forget the rest.”

The playoff was reminiscent of Phil Mickelson's PGA Tour win at Torrey Pines in 2001 where Mickelson made double but still won. That too was a three-way playoff, with Davis Love III being eliminated before Mickelson and Frank Lickliter went to a third playoff hole. On the 17th hole, each player hit his ball into an unplayable position left, Mickelson hit it left again but got a lucky bounce back into play, and Lickliter three-putted from 12 feet to hand Mickelson the title.

With the win, Thayer joins three others as to win the CGA Mid-Am Championship at least three times. It was also Thayer’s second win at River Valley Ranch (2014) that also ended in a three-player playoff.

View results for Colorado Mid-Amateur

ABOUT THE Colorado Mid-Amateur

Active CGA members. 54 holes of stroke play. A 36- hole cut will be made to the low 40 players and ties. A player must be 25 years of age or older as of the first day of a tournament. Non-exempt players must pre-qualify.

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