Quotable: Voices from Some of the Winners in the Round of 32
September 13, 2016 | ELVERSON, PA.
Competitors in the 36th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship who prevailed in their Round-of-32 matches on Tuesday morning on the Old Course at Stonewall, had little time to bask in the glory of their triumphs. Most had about 45 minutes to grab lunch, hit a few practice putts or balls before refocusing for their afternoon Round-of-16 matches. But before they teed off, the USGA communications staff got a few comments from some of the victors:
Michael Muehr: Defeated Gregor Orlando, 2 and 1
"It's been my short putts and my iron game. Back when I was playing a lot that was kind of my bread and butter. I've never been a long hitter, and I'm not getting any longer. But I've been fairly consistent, keeping it in the fairway, keeping it in front of me for the most part, holing the putts ... most of them that I need to hole. Which is what you have to do. At this point, any loose change you're going to get taken advantage of if you just kind of give shots away, which is what we both did early on in the match. Fortunately, I got a little momentum middle of the match and outlasted him."
Scott Strickland: Memorable eagle helps him defeat Carl Santos-Ocampo, 1 up
“The eagle was definitely improbable. We get to 14, and he pulled out driver and hit it great. I was planning to hit a hybrid or 4-iron and just get it in play, but he kind of forced my hand. So I hit driver and hit it well. Then he hits his approach shot to probably 3 inches, a gimme birdie. So I had a decision: either go 3 down or try to make something happen. I had about 40 yards, and certainly didn’t expect to knock it in, but hit a little pitch that hit his ball and kicked right into the hole. So certainly a good stroke of luck. You’ll always take those when they come.”
Dan Sullivan: Defeated Cameron Tennant, 5 and 3, to reach Round of 16 for second time in three years
"Fortunately for me, Cameron did not play his best. I could tell he’s a very good player. He played with some guys that I know at San Diego State. He just made some mistakes and I played pretty solid except for a couple of bad swings."
On wanting to finish quickly to get rest for the Round of 16:
"Once I got up 6, I even told my caddie that I want to end this as fast as possible. He made a good birdie on 12. He chipped in from over the green. We both bogeyed 13 … and then we both birdied 14, which I thought was sort of a door-slammer."
On looking ahead to his Round-of-16 match against co-medalist Tom Werkmeister:
"I know I’m going to have to play more consistently to continue on. So that’s the goal. I’ve putted better as the week has gone on. Hopefully that continues."
Stewart Hagestad: Defeated Jim Coleman, 2 and1
“I had a good birdie on 1, a good birdie on 2, and then he kind of put himself out of it on 3, so I got off to a nice lead. But it was a weird match because I’ve never seen a guy grind like that. He got it back to [all square] and it was almost like a shock to the system. From a competitor’s standpoint, Jim gets a ton of credit because that was really cool. But I played solid and responded nicely to what he gave me. I’m just happy to be moving on.”
On double-round days:
“I did some good work in the off-season to get my body into shape, and I honestly think a big component of it is mentally believing that you’ve put in the work and you can handle it. I’m 25, I should be able to handle a 36-hole day.”
On next match against Jason Anthony:
“He’s a NorCal guy; I know who he is, I’ve seen his name and know he’s a great player. I know a lot of guys I’m friends with back home know him and have a ton of respect for him. So it should be a great match this afternoon.”
Scott Harvey: Rallied from 3-down deficit after 10 holes to defeat Kenny Coakley, 1 up
"I thought I was going home. He was playing really solid. I’ve been scrambling around and hitting it all over the place. I was 3 down going to 11 and made a good birdie there and then he messed up 13 and that’s the first time I thought I had a chance."
Did past experiences in match play pay off?
"For sure. No question. There was a time when I would have pressed a lot harder and lost patience. I never would have given up, but I would have pressed and pressed and pressed. I kept the mindset of anything can happen. He made some mistakes coming in and I didn’t."
Sammy Schmitz: Defeated Chad Niezing, 3 and 1
On getting more comfortable with the Old Course:
“I know what clubs I am hitting off the tee. I am not thinking about it as much. It’s grab and go.”
Tom Werkmeister: Defeated Brett Cooper, 2 and 1
“(It was) very similar to yesterday. I struggled mightily early and played better on the back. It’s grind mode when I am struggling.”
Michael McDermott: Defeated Joe Alfieri, 1 up
"Whew. He played really well a couple years ago in a better-played match than this one. Today was sort of survival. We each made a couple of mistakes. He played solid. I started playing good to get 3 up though there, and then made a couple of bogeys ... and then 18 I kind of had a feeling he was going to make that (birdie putt 12 feet) because I've had some prior Philadelphia events where people have done some crazy things on 18. But he didn't and I was able to move on."
On playing close to home
It's fun. My brother (Brian) played in the tournament, too, so that was a neat thing. And my parents have been here and that was a fun experience. If you count two Philadelphia Amateurs this is the third tournament played here that's meaningful to me. I made some errors but figured out how to get it in the house."
Jesse Daley: Defeated Brad Nurski, 3 and 1
"I do feel pretty good. It was a weird morning. We blew a tire on our rental car driving out here. It took us 9 minutes to change it. It didn't hurt us with the fog delay. [My caddie and I] both got sick from the food we ate last night. We were both struggling. It killed us.
"But I am playing solid. This place is a grind. You feel like you're playing solid, but there isn't any part that comes easy. Even when you hit the green it doesn't come easy. I think we have it figured out mostly now."