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Mickelson's fabulous run ends in quarters of U.S. Mid-Amateur

Oct. 3, 2007

(Bandon, Ore.) - USD men's golf coach Tim Mickelson saw his terrific run at the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur come to an end today in the quarterfinals with Dan Whitaker of Cle Elum, Washington, beating him 2 up in the prestigious match-play event. Mickelson found himself 2-down through eight holes, but birdied the par-5 9th to pull to within one as he made the turn. The two golfers matched each other shot for shot until the 16th when Mickelson squared the match with his second birdie of the day on the 305-yard par-4 hole. Whitaker closed out the match with a par and birdie to best Mickelson 2-up. By reaching the quarterfinals, Mickelson is exempt from qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Mid Amateur at Milwaukee County Club.

Mickelson reached the quarterfinals by winning two matches on Tuesday. In the morning match he bested Arnold Cutrell of Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 19 holes. In the third round match, Mickelson holed a 24-yard chip shot on the 558-yard, par-5 18th to defeat 2003 champion Nathan Smith of Pittsburg, Pa., 1 up. Mickelson, who advanced to the round of 16 at the 1999 U.S. Amateur, was 3 down through six holes against Smith. He won the next three holes to square the match. Smith birdied the 10th for a 1-up lead, but Mickelson sank a 15-foot birdie on 11 to negate Smith's lead. They each won two of the next four holes and halved two to keep the match square.

Playing the 18th with the match all square, both playes laid up on their second shots on the downwind hole. Mickelson was in the short rough near the hazard line on the right side and Smith was in the pot bunker fronting the green. Smith blasted to 12 feet, setting up Mickelson's winning flop shot. It marked the second straight match that he eagled the 18th, having done it in the morning against Cutrell.

The U.S. Mid-Amateur is for golfers who have reached their 25th birthday on or before September 29, and who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 3.4, are eligible. Sectional qualifying was conducted at 67 sites between August 27th and September 7th. The starting field consisted of 264 golfers, with 64 advancing to the match play format.

(some copy courtesy of USGA, Pete Kowalski)