Pennsylvania Golf Fairways Fun – June 2017

Pennsylvania Golf News June 2017June Golf Fairways Fun
Destination:

  • Anna Nordqvist LPGA ShopRite Classic at Seaview
  • Pocono Courses Designed by World Renowned Architects
  • Biloxi Proves to be A Great Experience
  • Huntsville’s Corbett Takes Senior Warner Cup Title
  • Destination Montco Golf
  • Applecross & Pinehurst 4 for Price of One
  • Results; Philly PGA , PPGS and AGA

Read the full version of Golf Pennsylvania Golf Northeast, June 2017

Super September Golf Northeast PA

  • Fall Golf at the South Jersey Shore
  • sept2016Look Ahead To Pocono Fall Season
  • Caledonia & True Blue Unbelievable Golf
  • Talamore Name Brings Special Ring to Pinehurst
  • Justin Rose Strikes Historic Olympic Gold
  • Jim Furyk “Mr. 58” Earns Payne Stewart Award
  • Rohanna Runs Away with 2nd Open Title
  • Results; Philly PGA , PPGS and AGA

Click here to download the full version of Super September Golf 2016

Fall’s Kalidescope of Color Pocono’s Golf Courses

By John Zimich
Fall golf in Northeastern Pennsylvania is one of the best times to play,
particularly in the Pocono Mountains. Mother Nature always cooperates with
the spectacular colors of the fall foliage.
Temperatures usually require a sweater or light jacket and in most cases
playing a round of golf is “light” on the pocket book.
“There’s no question playing golf in the fall is a great time to get onto
the golf course,” said Keith DeVos, general manager of Jack Frost National
Golf Club, located a short distance away from Blakeslee Corners.
. “With the fall foliage it’s absolutely gorgeous. Our course sits high
atop the mountain and with the holes cut out among the native oak forest the
scenery is breathtaking.”
DeVos said, “Jack Frost National has been in great shape right from the
spring, unlike several of the golf courses in the region, we came through the
harsh winter in flying colors.”
From mid-October on weekday fees are $45 and $55 on weekends.
The facility has a special senior rate of $35 Monday through Friday. If the
weatherman cooperates November is a great time to play 18 holes at Jack Frost
since the club offers free golf with only a cart fee of $25.
One of the favorite holes of golfers at Jack Frost National is the par-3
11th with a large lake behind it. From the green there is a spectacular view
looking across the mountain ranges toward Route 940.
For tee times call (570) 443-2414 x2.
Mountain Laurel Golf Club, located in White Haven and just a short
distance from Northeastern Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, is another
course where one can find gorgeous scenery while playing a round of golf.
“Playing golf in the fall is one of my favorite times to be on the golf
course,” said Howie VanBuskirk, head golf professional at Mountain Laurel
Golf Club. “The views, with the changing of the leaves, are amazing and
picturesque.”
Like many of the Pocono Mountain golf courses Mountain Laurel Golf
Club has a $30 fall rate seven days a week.
“It has been a tough year for us in keeping the course in great shape
because of the rain in June and heat in July. But our superintendent and his
grounds crew have done a great job and were back and looking good. We have
overcome some trying times and are expecting a great fall season and a terrific
2016.”
Howie’s favorite hole at Mountain Laurel is the short par-4 10th that
requires a downhill drive and similar second shot to an island green.
“It looks like a piece of cake from the tee but one’s second shot is to a
large sloping green that goes from right to left. This is not an easy hole and it’s
my favorite.”
One of the features at the Mountain Laurel Golf Club is the restaurant
that is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays and from 10 to 9 on Saturdays
and 10 to 8 Sundays.
Tee times can be made by calling (570) 443-7424,

 

Fabulous Fun Fore Fall Golf

Pennsylvania Golf

  • Fall’s Kalidescope of Color on Pocono’s Golf Courses
  • Reynolds Plantation Always Improving
  • Traveling Golfer features Stockton Seaview
  • Spieth Takes PGA Tour Championship
  • Lutz Wins 61st U.S. Senior Amateur
  • Results; Philly PGA , PPGS and AGA
  • McNabb Captures Phila. PGA Pro Championship
  • McNeil Claims Mid-Amateur Crown
  • Golf Equipment and Fall Clothing Lines

Click here to read the full version of Golf Pennsylvania – Golf Northeast October 2105 edition.

 

Fall Golf at the South Jersey Shore

By MIKE KERN
I was there when Shore Gate, which is located just off Route 9 right outside Sea Isle City, opened in 2002. Then McCulloughsagain, I’ve been fortunate enough to be at most golf courses at the South Jersey shore from the start. It comes with the job description.
So I’ve seen them evolve over time. And Shore Gate is no different. You could tell it was something special from the moment you set eyes on it. And it’s only gotten better, which isn’t easy to say when you were already so good to begin with.
Every time I go back, I’m left with pretty much the same impression: it’s probably the hardest public golf course down there. Especially if you play it from the wrong set of tees. And trust me, there’s more than enough to choose from, which in this case is a very good thing. I used to be able to play it from the Regulars, which measure about
6,400 yards. And I could handle that reasonably well. But that was when I hit the ball considerably longer than I do now. So you adapt. I had a chance to play it recently  during my annual summer vacation in Ocean City, for the first time in awhile. So I looked at the scorecard and figured the Seniors, which is more like 5,900, was much
more condusive to my skill level. Truth be told, what I’ve found is really the best way for me to proceed is to go to each hole and see what might work best. On some there’s not enough difference between the White or Yellows to warrant moving up, since there’s five par 4s of 350 or less. I can still handle that. And there’s a par 3 on the back
nine, No. 14, which is really short so I can actually go back to the Championships and not feel the least bit intimidated. Same with No. 5, where they had the tees pretty far up on the day I was there. So my advice is use your best discretion, see how you’re striking it and don’t necessarily try to bite off too much. As I’ve discovered, it’s a lot
more fun using a 7-iron into greens rather than a steady diet of fairway woods. And that goes for any course. And it is, after all, supposed to be fun, right? If it’s not, then why are you out there in the first place? Just saying. I’ve seen way too many guys playing from the Blues who had no business being back there. And they’ll shoot in
the 100s and complain about how unfair it was, when the real problem was with their
vanity. Or whatever. I can’t figure it out. I’d rather at least try to enjoy myself to some
degree. You still have to make shots, whatever the distance. But it doesn’t have to be
pure torture.
Anyway …If you don’t like sand, then Shore Gate might not be the place for you.
Because there is a decent amount of it, and much of that is in spots where players tend
to put their balls. Funny how a well-thought-out design works like that. So just be
careful, although it can be nearly unavoidable at times. Just try to go with the flow.
After a rather innocuous opening hole, No. 2 gets you right into the swing of
things. It’s a medium-length par 4, but you have to place your tee shot over water to a
narrow fairway that has the wet stuff on the left and trees on the opposite side. So fire
away. It’s a matter of what you feel comfortable trying to carry. And even if you’re in a
good position, the approach is hardly a gimme. And there is a bunker to carry. At least
the green is generous. You make a 4 there and you’re doing well. Trust me.
The third is another solid 2-shooter, a dogleg left over water with bunkers on the
right. And the closing three holes on that side are a wonderful stretch. The seventh
is a dogleg right over a quarry, with woods on the left. And the green can be tricky,
even if you get there relatively unscatched. The eighth is a fairly long par 3 with sand
in the front and sand on the left. And No. 9, the signature hole, is their version of the
18th at Pebble Beach. It’s a par 5 that keeps bending left, around a lake, to a green
that’s well-guarded and is a good two clubs in length. So pay attention to where the
pin is. A big hitter might be able to get close in two. Most people figure to be left with
a short to mid-iron approach. And once you get on the putting surface your work is
just beginning.
The home nine, which offers a nice mix of short and long, starts with a really
stout par 4 where you might have a semi-blind uphill second shot. Then there’s a few
holes that are a little more user-friendly before you end with a finishing kick that’s
just as challenging as that on the first nine. The 15th is a par 4 that demands two
well-placed balls. Off the tee is fairly open, although water can come into play on the
right and there’s bunkers to contend with if you go too far left. The second is about a
150-yarder to another 2-club kind of green, with water still on the right and sand to
the left. If you can block out all the danger it’s probably not that tough at all. Yeah,
right. The 16th is a par 5 that’s managable, though it does bend at the end to the left,
which can cause issues if you’re too far left on your second. Like who would ever do
that? The 17th is another mid-range par 3 where players of my ability will be using
hybrids or woods. So be it. A good shot will be rewarded, a not-so-good one might
lead to a double bogey. And the line between the two is thin. And 18 is a bona fide
keeper, particularly for an 18th. Just a longer par 4 that moves slightly left-to-right.
But you can’t go too far right because of the treeline. There’s nothing guarding the
front of the green, which helps. But there’s sand left and right, so there is that. You
make a 4 here, it gives you a reason to feel good about the rest of your day. If you don’t,
well, it’s really more of a par 41/2 anyway. Just keep telling yourself that. Works for
this balding midget.
While Shore Gate is certainly one of my favorites, I have no shortage. And many
of them are within a short drive of my rental house in OC. Always a good thing. You can tee off early and be back in time to do the family stuff on the beach. Win-win.
Twisted Dune, on Ocean Heights Avenue in Egg Harbor Township, could bestockton_seaview
the second-hardest course in those parts. Like Shore Gate, a lot depends on where you choose to play from. Twisted Dune is unlike mostly anything you’re going to play this side of Scotland. And I love Scottish golf. So I can’t get enough of this place. It’s simply that unique.
If you can manage to keep your ball out of the nasty stuff, you can navigate it. And they’ve cut some of the nasty stuff out through the years, which has given it better definition. But it can still bite you if you’re not careful, just because. Sort of like Scotland.
The fairways and greens for the most part of accessible. It’s one of those deals where what you see all around you can play tricks with your mind. That’s what architects do. It’s a between-the-ears battle. But if you really look at it, Twisted Dune doesn’t have too many forced carries. The trouble tends to be to the sides. And it can
be penal. So by all means try not to go there. If only it were that simple.
From the Whites it plays like 6,300. It’s about 500 less from the Yellows. So
guess where I went. The fun really starts on No. 2, a mid-length par 4 that seems to
play longer. The third is a long par 3 that’ll test your nerves more than a little. But for
all its many teeth, it gives you chances to get back at it, too. Like No. 5, a short par 4
that bends left into an inviting putting surface. Even I was somehow going for birdie
there. Maybe they need to do something about that, like stick a moat in front. Only
kidding. I have to take them where I can get them, because these days there’s not as
many. Yet the next three holes are each doable in their own right, although for some
reason everything appears to play longer than it says. Go figure. The eighth is a short
par 4 with a bailout area right. But even there they can put the pin in certain spots
that can cause headaches. And 9 is a par 5 with water all down the left and no bailout
right. The green slopes severely from right to left, so a right pin is downright nasty.
Still, I saw a guy I was playing with make an up and down from some serious cabbage
that was as good as it gets. It happens, I guess.
The 10th is another three-shotter that bends right around a hill, which means
the second shot is blind. Enjoy. The 13th is a par 3 that’s not too long but contains
trouble every which direction. I hit a 7-wood pin high left, which of course meant I
short-sideded myself and was left with a downhill bunker shot to a green that rolled
away from me toward the water. I made 4 and ran to the next tee. The 15th is a par
4 where the second shot is all downhill to the green, very interesting and different.
What follows is a really good par 3 over a ravine to a green that runs away from you
and uphill. There’s sand all over. But the green is at least large. Then you get a par 4
that’s every bit as memorable. The second shot is uphill to a smaller green, and you
have to carry a bunker. Nice. The last is just real long. I hit what I thought were two
decent shots, but my 3-wood still came up just short. It’s a good thing I can chip, and
I ran one up to about 3 feet for a rare par there. Felt good. Might even make me want
to go back. As if I needed to have my arm pulled.
McCullough’s Emerald Links, which is just down the road from Twisted, is a
course that’s grown on me. It was built on a landfill, and to be candid the first couple of times I played it I wasn’t what you’d call overwhelmed. But my perspective has changed. I’m not going to tell you it’s the top course in the greater Atlantic City region, but it can sure be a lot of fun. Lot to be said for that.
Each of the holes is inspired by something famous that exists elsewhere,
predominantly in the British Isles. The first, for instance, is supposed to resemble No. 1 at Royal Portrush. Not an exact replica, but in the vicinity. The biggest difference is a grass bunker in front of the green instead of sand, to cut down on the difficulty starting out. And you’re off. It’s not an easy assignment to pull off, and I’ve seen examples where it’s failed miserably, but Stephen Kay pulled it off rather well. He even
dedicated No. 7 to Alister MacKenzie (Augusta National, Cypress Point), who won an
award for the design but never saw it get built. Not shockingly, it’s the signature hole.
And so it proceeds along. There’s a rendition of the Biarritz hole that’s been redone
many times by C.B. Macdonald and Charles Banks. There are elevation changes here
that you rarely find in South Jersey, and some of the holes are downright hard. Usually
there’s a ton of wind going on, which only adds to the difficulty factor.
Some of the streteches that stand out are 8 and 9. The first is a par 4, where you’re
driving off an elevated tee to a wide fairway that has water on the left and garbage
on the right. It’s a dogleg right, to an open green with some decent undulation. Well
done, and based on the 10th at Turnberry. Next is a medium-length par 3 that’s all
carry, with wet stuff on the left. So there’s not much margin for error. And there’s four
bunkers in front. Like the 10th at Royal Dornoch.
The 10th is another Royal Dornoch (No. 14), it plays like a 41/2. The green is
treacherous, especially if they put the pin in the wrong spot. The 11th is a neat short
par 4, with a blind uphill tee shot. The 12th is a long par 4 with all kinds of sand
issues. Then comes a cool par 3, downhill kind of over water, to a two-tiered green.
You can’t go long, nor can you be short. And there’s a trap on the left.
I could play the 15th 18 times and call it a round. It’s a dogleg right par 4 of
about 285. A good player can try to drive the green. But there’s risk. The short or even
smart player hits it down the middle and wedges it up and might still have a great shot
at birdie. The green can give you fits, but hey, it’s only 285. Deal with it. And 18 is a
nice way to finish, a managable par 4 as long as you don’t push your tee ball right into
the water. It all depends how much of the dogleg you want to chew off. Shades of the
fourth at Prestwick, which I’ve played. I’m a lucky guy.
Greate Bay Country Club, in Somers Point just across the Ninth Street Bridge
from OC, is private. But they have a bunch of associate membership plans available for people who folks who might want to play there but aren’t full-time residents, etc.
If that sounds like you, it’s worth it. Greate Bay hosted the LPGA’s Shop-Rite Classic
for many years, and it’s way improved since those days. So by all means check it
out. When I played there the greens were in absolute pristine condition, as had been
promised. I mean, they rolled as well as anything I’ve played in some time. I wouldn’t
make that up. But the layout itself can stand on its own as well.
The 18th, a par 4 that bends slightly right and then downhill through treelines,
was also rated as the hardest finishing hole on the LPGA Tour. That’s a fact. I’ve only
made a few 4s there. And I’ve had plenty of opportunities. Some of my other faves are
No. 2, which I have trouble getting on in two anymore but where I once saw the club’s
head pro, who was playing in our scramble, drive the green (we made eagle). The fifth
is another tough two-shotter, which was made famous when Bob Clarke won a bet
with Steve Coates to have a tree guarding the right side of the fairway cut down a few
years back. Good thing, since Annika Sorenstam later told Mark Benavento, who runs
the place for Pat Croce, that it was the proper move. See, I can name drop with the
best of them. The 7th, which runs in the same direction, is equally imposing. And
9, one of the holes that have been added over time, is a picturesque par 3 over water.
The 12th, another addition to what was there when the women played, is a
wonderful par 4 that bends left around water. The second shot is uphill to a large,
well-protected green. And 14, which plays longer, offers a tricky approach into a green
that slopes from front to back. Even two good shots can leave you with a potential
3-putt. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Those, of course, are merely a sampling of what’s available. They were just the
ones I happened to play on my latest week away from home. If I had more time, I
would’ve have played till my arms fell off. Atlantic City, which is under new ownership,
has always been one of the places that literally get my heart pounding when I know I
have a tee time. It’s that indelible. And it’s always been in impeccable shape. I’m sure
that’s still the case, which is why I can’t wait for my next photo op. The holes along
the bay are particularly memorable. But there might not be a bad one on the premises.
If you’ve never been, it really should be on the old wish list.
I get to play the Bay Course at Seaview each spring as part of the annual media
day they hold for the new home of the Shop-Rite. It remains a taste treat, and not
because our group has won the scramble two years running. The setting across the
bay from AC is sublime, and so is the layout. The greens are small, the wind usually
blows, and you have to make shots. You can’t ask for much more. There are birdie
chances, but then there’s holes like the second, where you can be hitting 4-iron into
the green one day and maybe an 8 the next, thanks to Mother Nature. And the third,
a par 5, can become an eagle waiting to happen. Nothing wrong with that. And the
best lady golfers on the planet seem to enjoy it. The sister Pines course, which is inland
just across Route 9 in back of the resort’s timeless hotel, is quite a contrast. I think it’s
harder, even though they’ve taken out a bunch of trees to make it more playable. You
still have to hit a lot of shots through woods, and there’s an endless supply of doglegs.
There’s quite a few holes that’ll definitely test your skill level, particularly toward the
finish line. It’s the perfect place to do a 36-holer, sandwiched around lunch. I suggest
the crab cakes. But you could go almost any way and not be disappointed. Heck,
staying the night might be an unbeatable topper.
There’s two others I would heartily suggest, both of which are situated a little
further away from the beaches: Blue Heron Pines and the Vineyards at RenaultBlue Heron Pines Golf
Winery. But please don’t let the proximity factor deter you. I’m merely pointing it out. I’ve gladly made the drive to both, without thinking twice. Blue Heron was the course that was responsible for starting the higher-end public boom a little over two decades ago, and since Ron Jaworski took over in 2013 it’s dramatically benefitted.
He came in and removed most of the excess/unnecessary growth that had begun to make it a little too unplayable. Not only does it have a much cleaner look these days, but the pace of play has noticeably improved. The routing has never been a problem.
The back nine especially has some dramatic holes, such as 10 and 14. Me being me, I’ve always thought the short 7th was one of those holes you don’t see enough of but need more of. And No. 4 is a stellar par 3, followed by what might be the best par 4
there except for 14.
I’ve always had a fondness for Renault, which is subtle rather than overpowering.
Ed Shearon has done some real good stuff, such as Raven’s Claw. This is right up
there. He doesn’t knock you over the head nearly as much at the Vineyards, but the
experience is just as unique. There’s a lot of spots where the difference between a great
shot and semi-disaster is a few feet. And you have choices. There’s a lot of risk-reward.
There’s a hole with a dual fairway. There’s a par 3 where the teeing area keeps bending
around to the left to make it easier the more you move up. Why can’t more holes be
like that? I mean, there’s no reason for the 18-handicapper to be hitting over water
like the big hitter, even if it’s from 50 yards closer. Right? One of the best holes might
be 17th, which looks like a gimme. But looks can be deceiving. There’s a big falloff
on the green, and if you’re on the wrong side you’ll mostly be trying to avoid bogey
instead of going for bird. The 18th is a par 5 with a double dogleg and water to the
right of the green. There’s another hole on the front side that actually winds around
the vineyards. The fifth is another goodie, a short par 3 surrounded by bunkers with
perhaps the most difficult green on the course. But if you find the right slope off the
tee you’ll probably have a real good look at 2.
There you have it, some of my thoughts on heading down to the South Jersey
Shore. The fall is one of the best times to be there, since the weather tends to cooperate
and the tourists

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Speith Dons Masters Jacket

By MIKE KERN

So what does the Masters and the Lehigh Valley have in common?

Well, until the last two Aprils, probably not a whole lot.

But 21-year-old Texan Jordan Spieth has changed that. Forever.

The Dallas native became the second-youngest to ever win a green jacket, one year he nearly became the youngest in his Masters debut. And he did so by going wire-to-wire (no ties), something that hadn’t been done at Augusta National since Ray Floyd pulled it off almost four decades earlier. Despite a closing bogey he shot 18-under 270, which equalled Tiger Woods’ scoring record from 1997 when he was the same age, to beat 2013 U.S. Open champion and three-time winner Phil Mickelson by four. Which is what he’d led by after Saturday.

Along the way Spieth became the youngest first-round leader (64) and set records for lowest 36-hole (130) and 54-hole (200) totals. He also became the first since fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw — who was playing in his last Masters — in 1984 to win the year after coming in second.

It was surely epic stuff.

Last year Spieth was the co-leader going into the final day before finishing runner-up, three behind 2012 champ Bubba Watson. This time it was all his, all the way.

So why was it such a big deal in certain parts of Pennsylvania? Turns out there’s no shortage of reasons.

His father Shawn was an athlete at Saucon Valley High School. As was his mother, Chris. Shawn played basketball at Lehigh University, while Chris did the same at Moravian College. They eventually ended up in Dallas, where they had three children. Jordan is the oldest. Steven plays hoops at Brown. His sister Ellie is a special-needs teenager who Jordan credits with providing much of his inspiration as a person and competitor. All except Ellie were waiting to greet him after he walked off the 18th green on Sunday. So was his maternal grandfather, Bob Julius, a retired Bethlehem Steel engineer who lives in North Carolina. His uncle Stow, Shawn’s brother who lives in suburban Philadelphia, was there as well. In fact, he caddied for Jordan in Wednesday’s par-3 tournament.

His paternal grandfather Donald was watching at home in Bethlehem, with tears in his eyes. A music teacher and orchestra conductor, he attended last year.

So there are local connections. Obviously emotional ones.

“He’s just a good kid,” Donald said. “It’s really interesting. A lot of people feel like they know him, because they know me.

“It’s a given I am proud about how he played … (but also) as a young man and how he’s shown himself.”

As Crenshaw said during his pre-tournament interview: “He’s way more mature than I was at 21. I think the world of him.

You know, when I first met him, I’ll tell you I’ll never forget it. I looked right at him and he looked at me and I thought I was looking at Wyatt Earp. He just had that look about him.”

Golf is of course always looking for the next whatever. Especially since Tiger Woods, who played for the first time in two months and 73-69-68-73 — to tie for 17th with Sergio Garcia, has been mostly MIA for the past 14 months. Rory McIlroy, who’s only four years older than Spieth, would seem to have the inside track on being the most likely successor, since he’s got four majors already. He went 71-71-68-66 to get fourth, after playing with Woods in the last round. But he’s never won this major. He was trying to win his third grand-slam event in a row, something only Ben Hogan (1953) and Tiger (2000-01) have done in the modern era. When he was 21, in 2011, he led after 63 holes before pulling his tee shot at No. 10 into the cabins en route to a closing 43. It happens.

A year ago Spieth held a 2-shot lead early on Sunday. This time, his lead on the final day never dipped below three. And that was on the front nine. It looked like there could be a 2-shot swing on the par-3 16th, when Rose had a 15-foot birdie putt and Spieth hit it over the green, that would’ve cut the margin to a deuce. But Spieth got up and down, saving par by nailing an 8-footer, and Rose’s try slid just by on the low side. And that was pretty much it.

About the only thing Spieth didn’t do was break Tiger’s 72-hole mark, by hitting it into the woods on 18 and missing his par putt, although it didn’t seem to matter much to him. Maybe another time.

“I was already hungry from last year, watching it slip away,” said Spieth, whose three starts prior to Augusta had produced a win and two seconds. “You get reminded of it all the time. This is a different legacy.

“I took my mind off this moment the last week. But it’s very, very special to join the club.”

You think? Regardless of where his career takes him, he has a lifetime invitation to the annual Champion’s Dinner. As perks go, that might be impossible to trump.

“It’s the most incredible week of my life,” he went on. “This is as great as it gets in our sport. It’s a dream for me … I’m excited already about coming back. And being the Masters champion. That carries a heavy weight. I hope I’ll be ready for it, and what it means. I’m sure I’ll figure that out.

“I might not take the jacket off for awhile. To hear the cheoes at this place, it’s magical. This has always been my ultimate goal. I may have to change that.”

He’s the fourth to win in his second appearance. He broke the tourney record for birdies with 28. The high had been 25, by Mickelson in 2001 when he shot 275 to finish third, three in back of Tiger.

Spieth is also the eighth Texan to win at least once, and the first since Crenshaw in 1995. The list includes Jimmy Demaret (with three), Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson (two apiece). It’s always about the company you keep.

“It’s nice to get that major tally up and running at an early age,” said McIlroy, who got his first at 21, two months after he lost his chance at the Masters.

Added Rose: “Every time I thought there may be a chink in the armor, he holed (something). It really shouldn’t be that easy.”

And this, from Mickelson: “I just got outplayed. At the start of the week I would have taken 14-under. I thought that might win. But 18-under is astounding. It’s hard not to like (him).”

Some folks already knew. Feel free to spread the word.

“I thought (Sunday) might be easier (than Saturday),” Spieth said. “It wasn’t. Very nerve-racking. I didn’t get much sleep.

“The hardest part was just managing the situation, the mental side of it. There’s a lot of time to think through scenarios.”

Going forward, it’s hard not to be in awe of those possibilities.

U.S. Mid-Am at Saucon Valley C.C.

By MIKE KERN
So how often do the two players who tie for medalist honors in the qualifying
rounds at a USGA championship wind up facing each other in the closing match?
Well, almost never. Yet it happened at the 34th U.S. Mid-Am at Bethlehem’s
Saucon Valley Country Club, for the first time since 2010 and just the second
time ever. And Scott Harvey, a 36-year-old real estate property manager from
Greensboro, N.C., got the Robert T. Jones Memorial Trophy by beating Brad
Nurski, 35, a train conductor and switchman from St. Joseph, Mo., 6 and 5, in
the 36-hole final on Sept. 11 at the Old Course.
Both had shot 1-under-par 141 for two days on the weekend over the Old
and Weyhill, the other one of the facility’s three courses that was utilized, to earn
the top seeds. Then they proceeded to play like it.
“I just really can’t put it in words,” said Harvey. “This tournament has been
my No. 1 goal every single year.”
He’d reached the quarterfinals four years ago, when he also was co-medalist.
In the semifinals, he took out 2005 champion Kevin Marsh, 3 and 2.
The best perk about winning? Harvey likely will get an invitation from
Augusta National to tee it up in next April’s Masters.
Nurski, who was 3,994th in the World Amateur Golf rankings, was competing
in only his second Mid-Am. The first was 2008, when he lost in the first round.
This was the seventh consecutive year that Harvey has been in the Round of
32.
“I was tired, but you can’t let that stop you,” said Harvey, who was taking
medication for a sore back and admitted he’d hardly slept at all the night before.
My buddy Rocky (Manning, who caddied for him) was saying, ‘Look, you belong
here. Believe it.’ And that’s what I did.”
Harvey held a 4-shot lead after the morning round. Nurski made an early
run in the afternoon to cut the deficit to one hole, but Harvey quickly pulled
away again. He won it on the 30th hole, a par-4, by making a 15-foot birdie putt.
Nurski missed his chance to halve when his 8-foot par attempt slid by the left
edge.
Nurski was trying to become the first lefthander to win this title, and only
the sixth to win a USGA event.
“I just didn’t play good enough,” he said. “No regrets for me.”
Harvey’s father Bill passed away last October at the age of 82. He’d participated
in 23 USGA championships, including 15 Amateurs, where his best finish was
getting to the quarterfinals in 1973.
“He’d say I knew you could do it,” an emotional Harvey explained. “That’s
exactly what he’d say.”
His wife Kim, their young son Cameron, Kim’s mother and two family friends
made the eight-hour drive to watch him play after finding out he’d reached the
finals. They arrived as Harvey was playing the eighth hole of the championship.
“I had no idea (they were coming),” Harvey said. “My wife can be a little
sneaky sometimes. I was a little shocked (when I saw them).”
Kim added: “I have never told him not to go follow his dreams. He loves this
so much, and I get pleasure from watching his successes.”
And that’s what the Mid-Am is about, really. It’s for everyman who still thinks
he can, despite having a whole other life going on back home.
TAP-INS: The threat of inclement weather forced the afternoon round to
be moved up 45 minutes … The flags were flown at half-mast to commemorate
the 13-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which took place during the
playing of the 2001 Senior Amateur and Senior Women’s Amateur. The latter
was held that year at Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley in the western part of
the state … Saucon Valley had previously hosted the 1992 and 2000 U.S. Senior
Open, the 2009 Women’s Open, the 1951 Amateur, the 1983 Junior Am and the
1987 Senior Am … Matt Mattare, a 28-year-old Saucon Valley member and son
of Gene, the club’s director of golf, lost in the Round of 16 to Todd White, 2 and
1. White was a member of the 2013 Walker Cup team. Mattare was playing in
his third straight Mid-Am. He made it to the quarters in 2012 … Nathan Smith,
a Western Pennsylvania native and record four-time winner, lost in the second
round to Kevin Marsh in 20 holes … Defending champ Mike McCoy and last
year’s runnerup, Bill Williamson, also were eliminated in the Round of 32.