US Mid-Am Begins with 264 Hopefuls

By Usga News ServicesSeptember 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
USGALike so many other college golfers, Kevin Marsh had visions of earning his living as a professional golfer.
He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1996 and spent the next four years chasing a golf ball and living out of a suitcase. But he cashed only a few checks.
So, when he had the chance at a career in commercial real estate development, he left the fairways for greener pastures. Ironically, his golf game got brighter too.
He regained his amateur status in 2002, and began playing competitively among other amateurs. First, he won the 2004 Santa Barbara (Calif.) City Championship, then the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
'Its been incredible,' said Marsh, 33, a resident of Las Vegas. 'You have no idea what it is to be a USGA champion until you are one. Its something I always will be proud of.
'They cant ever take that away from me. It doesnt matter if I come to this Mid-Amateur and shoot 100, I will always have that accomplishment. But, when you win it once, you want to do it again.'
Hell get his chance at defending his Mid-Amateur title Sept. 9-14 at Forest Highlands Golf Club. The match-play portion of the championship, conducted by the United States Golf Association for those ages 25 and older, will be played on the Canyon Course, where Shane McMenamy of Grand Fork, N.D, edged Charles Howell of Augusta, Ga., for the U.S. Junior Amateur title in 1996.
Marsh will be joined by several past champions who have the same drive to get back to the winners circle, where one of the benefits is a likely invitation to play in the next Masters Tournament.
Among the recent winners in the field are Austin Eaton III (2004) of New London, N.H.; Nathan Smith (2003) of Brookville, Pa.; George Zahringer (2002) of New York, N.Y.; Tim Jackson (2001) of Germantown, Tenn.; Danny Green (1999) of Jackson, Tenn.; John 'Spider' Miller (1996 and 1998) of Bloomington, Ind.; and Ken Bakst (1997) of New York, N.Y. Another past winner is Jay Sigel, who has moved on to enjoy success on the professional Champions Tour since turning 50.
Smith is the only one of this years field of 264 who played in the Junior at Forest Highlands in 1996. Then a teen, he failed to qualify for match play.
Other notables entered are Trip Kuehne of Dallas, Texas, the runner-up in the 1994 U.S. Amateur and 'Buddy' Marucci of Malvern, Pa., the runner-up in the 1995 Amateur. Both lost to Tiger Woods.
In 2005, Marsh defeated Carlton Forrester, 30, of Birmingham, Ala., for his win. Forrester, an investment planner, is a former college golfer for Georgia Tech, where he was the roommate of pro golfer Matt Kuchar.
After marching through five matches without ever needing to play the 18th hole, Forresters game went sour. And Marshs putter was red hot. Marsh was 5 under par for his first 18 holes, with the usual match-play concessions, and held and insurmountable 10-up lead in the 36-hole final.
It ended soon thereafter, with Marsh winning, 10 and 9.
The taste of sweet victory, and a chance to play in the Masters Tournament, is waiting for one golfer at Forest Highlands who can play the 6,941-yard Canyon course better than anyone else.
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.