Smith keeps magical run alive, reaches U.S. Am quarters


Nathan Smith watches his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga. on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Nathan Smith has now advanced further in this week’s U.S. Amateur than in any of his previous 14 trips. 

His latest stunner was a 21-hole marathon win against U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Byron Meth.

After reaching match play just three times since 1999, Smith, a 36-year-old financial adviser in Pittsburgh, is now in the quarterfinals at Atlanta Athletic Club – only three wins away from becoming the first mid-am winner since John Harris in 1993. 

“I’m just trying to stay with these guys and play my heart out,” the four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion said. “That’s the honest truth.”

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After surviving a 17-for-4 playoff just to reach match play, Smith has now reeled off wins against a co-medalist (Lee McCoy), a 2014 U.S. Open participant (Brandon McIver) and the 2014 Publinx champ (Meth). Next up is Pepperdine junior Frederick Wedel, who defeated Englishman Jimmy Mullen.

Smith trailed only once during his match against Meth, after a bogey on the opening hole. After that, he held as much as a 2-up advantage down the stretch. He rolled in a 35-footer on 17 to take the lead with one to play but missed a 4-foot putt on the final hole that sent the match to extras. Smith’s par on the 21st hole was enough to win.

“I haven’t had too much (success) through the years,” he said. “It’s nice to win a few matches and get deep and see you guys and just be here. It’s exciting for me and everybody back home. It’s been fun.”