The Texas North team shot 14-under 634 to defeat Arizona and Tennessee by one stroke on Sunday, winning the U.S. Mid-Am Team Championship at Creekmoor Golf Club in Raymore, Missouri.
It was a dramatic conclusion to a tournament with an expanded field. Formerly called the Midwest Cup and featuring teams from eight states, this year’s tournament went to 20 teams of four players each. The format is three rounds of stroke play with the top three scores counting toward the team’s total each day.
The Texas North squad – Texas was the only state divided into two teams due to its size – came out firing on Day 2 with a 10-under 206. Draegen Majors led his side’s efforts throughout the tournament by shooting 72-68-68, which put him as the runner-up in the overall individual competition. Travis Woolf, John Pierce and Marcus Jones were the other team members who paced Texas North to victory. All four teammates had at least two of their scores counted over the three days.
Tennessee made a valiant comeback effort after a horrid 6-over 222 start on Friday. The team of Philip Lee, Robert Garland, Dan Crockett and Whit Turnbow went 19-under the final 36 holes as Lee shot 66 in both the second and third rounds. Had Lee not shot 77 in his opening round, he likely would have won the individual competition.
Instead, Chris Kovach of the Missouri team took home the individual title, finishing two strokes ahead of Majors and three ahead of Lee. Kovach shot 67-66 to open and only needed a 73 the last day to finish as the winner.
A former player at Truman State, Kovach won the Griesedieck Championship in 2018 and 2019. He qualified for the 2019 U.S. Mid-Am in Colorado but missed the cut.
The U.S. Mid-Am Team Championship is expanding again for 2022, and this time it will be even more significant. The event will be held Aug. 4-7 at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, and 40 state teams will be represented. There will be a women’s division for the first time – the women will have 40 three-women teams for amateur players aged 23 and older, while the men will have 40 four-man teams for amateur players aged 25 and older.
Each state can only have one team unless that state has two golf associations. States are encouraged to select their teams based on the State Mid-Amateur Points List, and states which do not have one can appoint a team captain to select the team. Exemptions are permitted for American mid-amateurs who are named to the Global Golf Post All-Amateur team to be unveiled later this year.
“We believe this event will provide a spark to men’s and women’s mid-amateur golf, by creating a reason to participate in more state championships in order to earn the right to represent their state,” said tournament executive director Eric Hjortness. “The states will hopefully, in turn, add more mid-amateur events to their schedule, thereby growing their state associations. The increased number of events will inspire mid-amateur golfers to participate in these events, thereby growing the number of tournaments and giving players a reason to improve their games by playing more golf.”
Chris Francoeur of Amesbury, Massachusetts, shot 4-under 207 to become the first repeat winner of the Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament since Frank Vana did so in 2001-02.
As is tradition, the first two days of the Ouimet are played at Charles River Country Club in Newton, Massachusetts, before the tournament shifts to nearby Woodland Golf Club for the last round on Friday. Ouimet, who famously won the 1913 U.S. Open, held his first golf membership at Woodland.
Francoeur, a University of Louisville graduate student who recently transferred in from the University of Rhode Island, carried the lead all three days on his way to a second consecutive Ouimet title. The margin was cut down to two strokes by the time he reached the 18th hole of the third round, but a closing par sealed a two-stroke victory over Kevin Gately and Dillon Brown.
Francoeur is playing in the Rhode Island Amateur next week before returning to school. He’s had a strong summer to this point, finishing third in both the Massachusetts Amateur and the Porter Cup.
Raja Captures Pacific Northwest Am
Alfred Raja of Corvallis, Oregon, defeated Jordan Lee, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final match to win the Pacific Northwest Amateur on Saturday at The Idaho Club in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Raja, originally from Indonesia and now a rising sophomore at Oregon State, held a 5-up lead through the first 18 holes before holding on for the narrow victory.
“It’s been a really long week,” said Raja, “I honestly didn’t know that I was going to make it this far, but being able to win the whole thing is pretty unbelievable for me.”
The tournament’s former champions include Tiger Woods in 1994. More recently, PGA Tour players Zac Blair (2011), Jeff Quinney (1998, 2000) and Ben Crane (1997) have won.
The tournament was not contested in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Staff and Wire Reports