RICHMOND, Texas – For a while, it appeared that the medalist jinx might be in order at this year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Shadow Hawk Golf Club.
Mike McCaffrey, 41, of nearby League City, Texas, shot 8-under-par 136 to earn the stroke-play qualifying medal by three strokes.
Then in his opening round match Monday against Chad Bolt, who earned the 64th and final spot in match play after surviving a 20-man playoff for the last three positions, McCaffrey was 3-down after 10 holes.
With just three holes to play, Bolt was 2-up. But McCaffrey rallied and won holes 16 and 17 with pars to square the match. They halved the 18th and 19th holes with pars when play was stopped due to darkness.
Coming back Tuesday morning, McCaffrey won the match with a conceded birdie on the 20th hole.
McCaffrey then moved on to the Sweet 16 when he defeated Chris Congdon, 3 and 2, later Tuesday morning.
Among other second round winners who advanced to Tuesday afternoon’s round of 16:
• Two-time defending champion Nathan Smith, a winner of three overall U.S. Mid-Amateurs, made five birdies in a six hole stretch and rolled past Billy Jackson, 5 and 4.
• Paul Simson, at age 60 the oldest player in the match play field, kept on keeping on as he was 5-up after 10 holes and cruised past Jeff Knox, 4 and 2.
• Scott Harvey was 3-up after nine holes, then won Nos. 10, 11 and 12 on his way to a 6-and-5 victory over James Scorse.
• John Engler was 2-down after five holes, squared the match through eight, then won Nos. 11, 12, 13 and 16 to beat Rob Couture, 4 and 2.
• Kris Mikkelsen lost the first hole, won the next two and took off for a 4-and-2 win over Brett Williams.
• Mike McCoy sank a four-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to edge Robert Gerwin II, 1-up, in a matchup of USGA championship veterans. McCoy has played in 27 individual USGA events, including 14 mid-amateurs, while Gerwin has played in 25, including 11 mid-ams.
• Aaron Hickman overcame a 2-down deficit after five holes and went on to score a 2-and-1 victory over Josh Gregory, the current men’s golf coach at SMU who guided Augusta State’s men’s program to NCAA titles the previous two seasons.