Hey Folks- I haven’t been able to report on the Mid-Amateur, I’m going to rely on the good people at the USGA and their PR. So, here you go…
Past Champion Marsh Holds One-Stroke Lead At U.S. Mid-Amateur
Bridgehampton, N.Y. – Past champion Kevin Marsh shot a 3-under-par 69 at The Bridge Saturday for a one-stroke lead after the wind-swept first day of stroke play at the 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
“I’m kind of surprised that I had the lowest score but I’m certainly not disappointed,” said Marsh, 37, of Henderson, Nev., of his round that included five birdies and two bogeys.
With a 7:50 a.m. starting time, the 2005 Mid-Amateur champion faced difficult wind conditions for most of the round.
“I would have taken even par when I teed off this morning.” Marsh said.”The first hole was brutal, and I hit a great third shot for a tap-in birdie on the first hole, which was kind of nice, and then I made a couple of good putts. I was a little squirrely on the back nine but I held it together.”
Todd Burgan, 41, a pharmacist from Knoxville, Tenn. and a quarterfinalist in 2009, trailed Marsh after a 2-under-par 70 at Atlantic Golf Club, the best of the day at that course.
“You just want to get in the top 64,” Burgan said, acknowledging the windy conditions. “The better you can shoot the first day, the less pressure the second. It’s one of the better rounds I’ve played in a while considering the difficulty out there.”
Two strokes behind Marsh at 1-under 71 were Chris Hall, of Kennesaw, Ga., Brian Grossman of Mansfield, Texas, Scott Harvey of Greensboro, N.C., and 2008 runner-up Todd Mitchell of Bloomington, Ill., at The Bridge and Los Angeles County deputy sheriff Dick Engel, of Quartz Valley, Calif., at Atlantic Golf Club. Only seven players bettered par on the day.
Marsh, in six previous Mid-Amateurs, has advanced to at least the quarterfinals three times (quarterfinalist in 2004, semifinalist in 2007 and winner in 2005).
In addition to his good play, he employed the knowledge of his caddie to score well.
“Fortunately, my caddie is a Bridge caddie, so that helped a lot,” Marsh added. “He helped me keep it in the right spots on the greens and stay off trouble off the tee.”
Marsh was one of just three players in the morning wave of starting times who broke par, and he did so with a more aggressive approach to the stroke-play portion of the championship.
“The last few years I felt like I get a little bit too protective, thinking I have to shoot a 74 or 75, and you just can’t play golf like that.” Marsh said. “You have to play your game and hopefully you play well. Tomorrow, it’ll be nice to have a little cushion, and just be able to go play. Sometimes when you shoot 75 or 76, you start thinking about the numbers. Now, I can just go play. We’ll see what the scores are like. It would be nice to be medalist.”
A real estate professional, Marsh tailors his competitive schedule to prepare for this championship.
“I feel like I’m in the prime of my golf career and it’s the highlight of the year for me,” Marsh said.
Defending champion Nathan Smith, 32, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who played at Atlantic, led a group of eight players who shot even-par 72.
“I needed a good score over here and I feel like I got it,” said Smith, the 2003 and 2009 champion, who recorded four birdies and four bogeys. “At least it might hold me in there to have a chance to make match play.”
After a second day of stroke play Sunday, the U.S. Mid-Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play, which will be played at Atlantic Golf Club. The first round of match play is scheduled for Monday, the second and third rounds will be played Tuesday, the quarterfinal and semifinal matches are on Wednesday, and the 36-hole championship final will be played Thursday.
The U.S. Mid- Amateur, which is open to golfers age 25 and older, is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Check out our pre-play coverage here.