Some familiar names found their way to the winner’s circle on Sunday at the 96th playing of the George A. Crump Memorial Tournament a.k.a the Crump Cup at Pine Valley Golf Club.
Michael Muehr (McLean, Va.) rallied from an early deficit to defeat Stewart Hagestad (Newport Beach, Calif.) 3 and 2 in the championship match and claim the Crump Cup for the fourth time. In doing so, he successfully defended the title he won in 2019, the last time the tournament was played. He also won Crump Cup titles in 2008 and 2014.
Muehr started his Sunday by defeating John Sawin (Pebble Beach, Calif.) 3 and 2 in one semifinal, while Hagestad bested Jason Anthony (Fairfield, Calif.) 2 and 1 in the other.
Muehr got off to a slow start in the 18-hole championship match and found himself three down after six holes. But he remained optimistic.
“I said to my caddie ‘It’s really hard to hold the lead on this golf course in match play’,” he said. “Because on every hole, anything can happen. You have to hit so many good shots.”
Muehr promptly made something happen, winning the seventh hole with a par before recording birdies at five of the next nine holes to close out the match. He birdied the 8th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th, all par fours.
Muehr, who is a Pine Valley member, noted the test the course presented this week was particularly daunting.
The greens were so hard and fast,” he said. “You couldn’t stop a wedge within 30 feet. “So it was a really good challenge, which is how we want to play it. We don’t want it to be soft, we want it to be hard and fast and bouncy. “For the guys who are members, it’s definitely an advantage I think, for the guys who know their way around it.”
For Muehr, simply getting together with his peers for the Crump Cup in the wake of last year’s cancellation was a joyous experience.
“It’s a privilege to be able to play at Pine Valley,” he said, “much less play Pine Valley [in the Crump Cup]. We miss all our buddies and so many of our friendships that we maintain are just from golf. Outside of golf, we probably don’t see each other too often, but it was really fun to get together.”
“That was the first gathering of mid-ams that I’d been to in two years, really.”
Mike McCoy (Norwalk, Iowa.) made history by defeating Matthew Sughrue (Arlington, Va.) 2 and 1 to win the Senior Division title. In doing so, McCoy becomes the fifth player to win both the open and senior titles; he claimed four Crump Cup crowns in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010.
McCoy admitted he didn’t play his best golf on Sunday. “I just played good enough,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I played great. I played great Saturday; I made a lot of birdies and very few mistakes. Today, I made a few mistakes, but in match play, you play aggressive when you’re down, you play conservative when your opponent’s in trouble. But I played good enough and I made a couple big putts when it mattered.”
McCoy made his biggest putt of the day on the 16th hole of the championship match against Sughrue. He was one up at the time.
“He was inside of me,” McCoy said, “I made a 25-footer. He had maybe a 15-footer; he missed, so I went from going (possibly) all square to two up.”
Earlier in the day, McCoy defeated longtime friend, and frequent partner and opponent, reigning U.S. Senior Amateur and British Senior Amateur champion Gene Elliott (W. Des Moines, Iowa.) 3 and 1 in one semifinal while Sughrue triumphed over Michael Kelley (Westerville, Oh.) 2 and 1 in the other.” Like Muehr, McCoy savored merely being at Pine Valley to play in the Crump Cup.
It’s one of the great places in all of golf,” he said. “It’s something everybody blocks on their calendar at the start of every year. It was really great to be back there this year. The course was in magnificent shape and they had a strong field. So, everybody made the effort to be there.”
ABOUT THE Crump Cup
The George A. Crump Memorial Tournament --
hotelier and course architect most famous for
Pine Valley -- is arguably the premier mid-
event in the United States. The invitational field
made of of top players from around the United
and the UK. The format for the four days is two
of stroke play qualifying, followed by four
match play. Players are flighted according to
qualifying position, and a separate Senior flight
includes three of those flights. Jay Sigel has won
event the most times, with nine victories
1975 and 1993.
Normally, the public is invited to attend the Sunday
final matches but that tradition has been suspended.
View Complete Tournament Information