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Mid-Am quarters set; defending champ Smith ousted

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Reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith won't be successfully defending his title this week at the Country Club of Birmingham.

Smith, who won the event in 2003, 2009 and 2010 in addition to his triumph last year, was ousted in the round of 32 Tuesday morning, losing to Kevin Marsh by a 2 and 1 margin. A member of the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team last month, Smith led for the first six holes of the match but then trailed for much of the match, suffering bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 to essentially seal his fate. Marsh went on to win his second match of the day over Keith Unikel, 1 up, and will now face Ken Tanigawa in a quarterfinal match Wednesday.

With medalist Matthew Matare upset in the opening round of match play Monday, Kenny Cook was the highest remaining seed but also saw his week cut short, losing in the round of 32. Bill Williamson, the No. 3 seed, is now the highest remaining seed left and will face No. 43 seed Matt Schneider in the quarterfinals.

The remaining quarterfinal matches will pit Kenneth McCready against Todd Mitchell and Bradley Bastion against Michael McCoy.

First played in 1981, the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship is open to all amateur men 25 years or older with a USGA handicap index of 3.4 or lower. The winner of the event annually receives an invitation to the Masters.