Michel misses match play in the US mid-amateur defense

by | Sep 28, 2021 | Driving Ranges

Yaroslav Merkulov’s championship record of nine under par held on Sunday as more than half of the 264-player field played the stroke play on Monday at Sankaty Head and co-hosted Miacomet Golf Course.

Garrett Rank, an NHL umpire and runner-up in that championship in 2012, and Harvin Groft both scored 36-hole totals of seven under to win numbers 2 and 3, respectively.

The field was trimmed to 64 on Monday afternoon with a 13v7 playoff that took place on Nov.

Defending champion Lukas Michel of Victoria missed the playoff for the last places by four shots after finishing 36 holes in stroke play in six-over. His second round of 72 hurt with double boweys on par 4 holes 10 and 18.

Hayes Brown took the final match-play spot in a dramatic way by placing a wedge on the second play-off hole for Eagle. PHOTO: USGA.

Six players parried 10th place to win places, while one was eliminated with a double bogey and six players had to fight for 64th place.

Brown turned a 58 ° wedge shot back into the hole from 96 yards to make an eagle on the 411 yard 15th hole and win a matchup with number 1 seeded Merkulov.

Merkulov was leading her match, 2-up, through seven holes when play was suspended for the day.

Groft, the number 3, a 2008 Penn State University graduate, is making the most of returning to the game after a nearly 10-year hiatus.

The father of four children, including a four week old son, helps raise his family during the school year, while his wife Andrea teaches Spanish in high school. Groft also grows vegetables as part of an initiative launched by local chefs and farmers called the Heirloom Harvest Project.

“My wife is home for the summer which gives me a little golf time and she’s very supportive of that,” said Groft, who returned in 2016 after several months of hitting balls in the New Hampshire Mid-amateur twice a week on a self-service -Driving range near his home. “It was such a long hiatus that I didn’t know where my game was going or how it was doing at the national level.”

Groft received a barometer of performance when he qualified for the 2018 US Mid-Amateur and missed the cut by just a few strokes. Most recently, he worked with trainer Scott Hacker on his mental approach.

“It really helped me stay present, just enjoy the day and the challenge with every shot,” said Groft. “I’m a much better golfer mentally than when I was in college.”

On Monday, three Round-of-64 matches ended with No. 17 Richard “Skip” Berkmeyer, No. 33 Sam Straka and No. 49 Josh Nichols. Nichols was runner-up in this championship in 2017.

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