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Wilfong wins rain-shortened North Carolina Mid-Amateur
Chad Wilfong (Carolinas Golf Association photo)
Chad Wilfong (Carolinas Golf Association photo)

Chad Wilfong of Charlotte, N.C. captured the 27th North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship after an 8-under-par, 136 total finish. Wilfong started the day tied for second at 4-under-par, 68. His goal was to go low and reach for 10-under-par.

“I knew Dan (Walters) would play well and there were a bunch of guys at the top so I figured someone would shoot a good number,” said Wilfong. “So 10 was my number, because I knew that would be good enough.”

Wilfong started his final round par, bogey, par, but did not let that slow him down. He immediately birdied Nos. 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 to not only bounce back from the bogey, but catapult himself to the lead by one stroke through No. 10.

Trouble struck on Nos. 11 and 12 just after Wilfong took the lead. “I kept hitting behind trees. I got away with it on the front, but I didn’t get away with it on the back,” he said. “Something was off, it just didn’t feel good and I couldn’t get it in the fairway.”

Opening round leader Dan Walters of Winston-Salem, N.C. took advantage of Wilfong’s bogeys with pars on both Nos. 11 and 12 to tie Wilfong again at the top. It wasn’t until No. 14 that the newly minted champion felt any relief.

“On the par-3 (No. 14), Dan (Walters) made four there, because he hit it left. That kind of got me to where I needed to be, I thought,” said Wilfong. “I knew that there were enough birdie holes coming in that if I could get it in the fairway then I had a chance. I just had to figure it out and luckily I did.”

Wilfong was able to hold his lead coming down the stretch after a key birdie on the last par-4, No. 16. Not knowing exactly where he stood on the eighteenth tee, he formulated a game plan for the finishing hole.

“I kind of knew that if I could make four on No. 18 then that would be it. It is a tough pin to make three on so I just tried to make four,” he said. “I hit a pretty good tee shot. The key to that hole is just to get it into play and I finally did. I hit a good 4-iron into the green and had two putts.”

The birdie on No. 18 sealed his first place finish and marked his second CGA championship victory. Wilfong won the 2001 North Carolina Amateur also at 8-under-par.

“This win means that I can still play a little bit from time to time,” he said. “It is fun to come out here and compete. I have known a lot of these guys for a long time and it is great to mix it up with them and then see what you get.”

Walters came in at 7-under-par, 137 total, just one stroke behind Wilfong to earn runner-up.

Mark Olbrych of Raleigh, N.C. and Andrew Sapp of Greenville, N.C. tied for third at 6-under-par, 138 total. Olbrych propelled himself up the leaderboard after finishing 5-under-par, 67 on the day. Head Coach of the East Carolina University men’s golf team, Sapp finished atop the 40+ leaderboard and earned the low 40+ trophy.

A three-way tie between 2014 N.C. Mid-Amateur Champion Joe Jaspers of Huntersville, N.C., Brandon Mader of Greenville, N.C. and Jay Roberts of Concord, N.C. staked fifth place at 5-under-par, 139 total. Jaspers climbed the leaderboard in grand fashion scoring the low round of the weekend at 7-under-par, 65 in the final round.

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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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