|*Day One results|
**DAY Two - VIDEO COVERAGE
Michael McDermott takes third Mid-Am. title at windy Fieldstone GCGREENVILLE, Del.–Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club is making Middle-Amateur Championship victories a regular thing. The 33-year-old Bryn Mawr, Pa., resident became the first three-time winner in the 25-year history of the event, finishing the 36-hole tournament at 2-over par on Thursday at an extremely difficult and windy Fieldstone Golf Club (par 71, 6,687 yards).
Conditions made the day one of survival with the low second-round score being a 2-over-par 73.
The victory was also McDermott’s second straight Major Championship. He took the Patterson Cup (as well as the Silver Cross) at the end of last year.
Michael Domenick of Phoenixville Country Club displayed a ton of grit and finished in second at 4-over par. Domenick, 53, of Phoenixville, Pa., carded the lowest round of the final four groups, a 74.
"This was the best round of golf I played in competition in my life," said Domenick, who relies on his accuracy and short game. "Under the conditions and the way the wind was blowing, for me to be up there with all these great players. For me to be right around [the low score of the day] was unbelievable."
Rand Mendez of Fieldstone Golf Club, the reigning club champion, carded the day’s low round, a 73, and Raymond Thompson of Overbrook Golf Club, the Senior Player of the Year, tied for third at 6-over par.
McDermott’s comfortable victory, though, wasn’t always a given, especially after what transpired in the first four holes.
McDermott, one of the longest hitters in the Golf Association of Philadelphia, opened his final round with a two-shot lead, but bogeyed three of his first four holes to fall back to the field. He failed to get up-and-down on No. 1 (par 4, 440 yards), knocked a ball into the left lateral hazard on No. 2 (par 5, 602 yards) and struggled to hit a solid shot on No. 4 (par 4, 374 yards). A tremendous par save from the left greenside bunker on No. 6 (par 3, 184 yards) started to right the ship and he finally took one back on No. 8 (par 3, 185 yards) when he hit an 8-iron to 15 feet and made the birdie.
"If you are going to win a tournament you are going to have make a couple of those," said McDermott in reference to the bunker save on six. "[On No. 8] I hit a good putt and I made it. That was a key turnaround to get it back going in the right direction."
McDermott finished the front nine at even for the tournament.
At that time, Chip Lutz of LedgeRock Golf Club, the defending Champion, appeared to be McDermott’s main threat. However, Lutz, who moved to even-par after seven holes, called a penalty on himself when taking relief from an unplayable lie in which he stopped the ball he dropped while it was still rolling to its position on the course. Lutz, a stand-up individual, then incorrectly redropped and before all was said and done was assessed a total of five penalty strokes: one for the unplayable, two for exerting influence on his dropped ball before it came to rest or rolled more than two lengths from where it struck the course and two for playing from a wrong position of the course.
"I want to commend Chip. What he did [by calling the penalty on himself] is what golf’s all about," said McDermott. "It’s amazing."
McDermott’s closest pursuer after Lutz’s penalty was Domenick. Domenick trailed by four strokes and both matched 1-under scores for the opening three holes of the back nine. McDermott then increased his lead to five with a par on the 13th hole (par 3, 195 yards) but Domenick didn’t go away. He responded with a par on the long and treacherous 14th (par 4, 476 yards) as McDermott carded double bogey from the back left rough of the green.
On the downhill 15th hole (par 4, 440 yards), Domenick hit a 6-iron to 15 feet and McDermott’s approached stopped three feet short of the putting surface in the rough. McDermott knocked his chip to five feet and made the par save and Domenick just didn’t hit his birdie putt hard enough to go in.
"I was a little pumped up after 14," said Domenick. "I figured I was within a couple shots of the lead."
The 16th (par 3, 130 yards) provided the same scenario as the previous hole. Domenick had a good birdie look and McDermott had to get up-and-down to save par. The result was the same, two pars.
McDermott did bogey No. 17 (par 4, 436 yards) with a three-putt to cut his lead to two, but after finding the fairway with a 300-yard plus drive on No. 18 (par 5, 522 yards) the result was all but official.
This was Domenick’s second runner-up finish in the Mid-Am. In 1993, he fell to Carl Everett of Merion GC in a playoff for the crown.
The Middle-Amateur is for players 25 years of age and older.
The GAP Middle-Amateur started in 1984, three years after the USGA created the U.S. Mid-Am. as a formal championship for post-college amateurs. The Association followed suit with the USGA in creating a Mid-Am., but initially differed in its administration of the tournament in a couple of respects.
The most obvious difference was the age requirement. Prior to 2001, the GAP Mid-Am. was for players 30 years of age and older. That Committee reviewed and revised that age requirement in 2001 to match the USGA's guidelines of 25 years of age or older for eligible players. Also at that point, the Committee changed the format of the event to a two-day stroke play tournament (instead of a one-day medal play event) with a cut to the low 70 players and ties after the first round. Players must have a GAP/USGA Handicap Index of 7.0 or lower.