Zach Atkinson Wins 2016 Mid-Am Match Play
Zach Atkinson Wins 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play
Dallas – Zach Atkinson won the 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play over Colby Harwell by a 1 up victory at Northwood Club. It was Zach’s first Mid-Am Match Play title and second overall state championship to go with his 2004 Texas Amateur title.
Zach Atkinson, Colleyville, came into the Championship Match having played a tight match in his semifinals but knew that his opponent in the final would be a much tougher fight. Colby Harwell, San Antonio, is a good friend of Atkinson and the two have played numerous rounds together.
The championship match commenced at 7:30 am on the first tee at Northwood Club in Dallas. With the sun rising into their eyes, both players missed the fairway and scrambled right out of the gate. Despite giving themselves a look at birdie after their approach shots, both birdies tries slide by and the pair we’re square after the first.
Despite reaching the greenside bunker in two on the par five, 5th hole, Atkinson couldn’t convert a short birdie opportunity to take a lead early. Both players recorded pars on the third before Harwell drew first blood when he converted a 10 foot downhill putt for birdie.
That lead didn’t last long as Atkinson’s par on the 5th, was good enough to get back to even ground. The 467 yard, par four, 6th hole saw both players having to escape the trees on opposite sides of the fairway. Just as the day had started, their scrambling proved to be on point as both would record pars.
On the seventh hole, Atkinson flared his tee shot right into the eighth fairway but an excellent punch shot allowed Zach the chance to make birdie. Harwell though, knocked his approach to just under 10 feet to press Zach to make his birdie. When it slide by, Harwell drained his and took a 1 up lead.
Zach though, had short memory and blasted his drive on the par four 8th. His approach was even better though when he only had a foot for birdie. Harwell’s approach landed about 15 feet out and his putt slide by to bring the match back to All Square.
That didn’t last long as Zach’s shot into the 201 yard par three, 9th hole clipped a tree and fell well short of the green. Harwell, trying to reapply the pressure, knocked his tee shot in tight setting up another birdie. Atkinson had to navigate around a greenside bunker to front hole location but failed to do so. His long putt teased the hole, but when it missed, he conceded the birdie and Harwell was back to 1 up.
Steady play continued as the opponents made the turn, which saw both par the 10th hole before Atkinson made up ground with a birdie on the 11th, bringing the match back to All Square.
Atkinson had the honor on the par three 12th but his shot found the left bunker. Harwell reached the back of the green but was 20 feet away still for a birdie. Atkinson blasted out of the bunker to 10 feet and converted a clutch putt to keep the match level.
Zach had the advantage when he nearly drove the 13th green, however he missed a short birdie try in an effort to gain an advantage over Harwell.
Players stepped on the 506 yard par five, 14th level with just five holes to go looking to break the deadlock. The player that stepped up was Atkinson, when he dropped a ten foot birdie from the back of the green to gain his first lead of the day.
They parred the par four 15th hole before they reached the difficult uphill par three 16th hole. Still with the honor, Atkinson had the tee and missed the green by 20 yards right in the trees. Harwell, looking to capitalize on a window of opportunity hit his approach on the green and knew that a two putt might just be good enough. Atkinson chipped out and left himself 15 feet for par but watched it miss on the high side. Harwell left himself five feet for par and victory on the hole but his putt lipped out on the right side and Atkinson maintained his 1 up lead headed to the 17th tee.
The players both missed the green on the 17th hole but their chips ran around five feet past in opposite directions. Atkinson converted his first leaving all the pressure on Harwell to stay in the match. When Harwell’s putt dropped, it sent the match to the 18th tee, with Atkinson dormie.
Zach took iron off the tee and found the right hand side of the fairway while Colby’s iron hit a tree and settled into a tough lie in the rough. Zach hit first and landed 15 feet right of the flag on the safe side of the green. Colby knowing that it was time to make something happen, punched from the lie only to watch the ball sail to the rough behind the green. Needing to make his chip, Colby nearing jarred it but it slipped by and was in for four. Zach just needing a two putt, almost got it done in one but with just inches remaining, Colby removed his hat and congratulated Zach on this title.
The final match featured great golf from two great players. Both players were one-under-par for the day despite scrambling from the rough outside the fairways all day.
The Texas Golf Association would like to thank the Northwood Club all of their efforts in hosting the 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play. In particular, the TGA would like extend its sincere thanks to the professional staff, maintenance crew, food and beverage teams and the members of the Northwood Club. For complete results of the 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play, please click here