Locals Shine as Field is Trimmed to Eight
Local knowledge is important on any golf course, but at San Antonio Country Club this week, being familiar with the course is proving to be more of an advantage than previously thought. As the 2017 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play field was trimmed from 32 players to eight, half of the remaining players hail from San Antonio.
Unsurprisingly, No. 1 seed Colby Harwell leads the way for the four San Antonians. He cemented his place in the quarterfinals with a 4 and 2 victory against Kevin Doskocil in their afternoon match. But it wasn’t always easy for Harwell on Friday. He had to play 21 holes in the morning wave to defeat Ted Waldrip after a poor start to the round. He also fell behind in his afternoon match with Doskocil. Shaky ball-striking was to blame for the poor starts.
“I wasn’t hitting quite as many fairways as I was yesterday,” Harwell said. “I found myself playing out of the rough – not hitting short irons into the greens. I had to make four and five footers for par. That’s not a good way to start the round.”
Harwell’s opponent in the quarterfinals also hails from San Antonio, and his path to the final eight might be the biggest surprise from day two. Gene Williams blitzed both his opponents – Adam Lowe in the morning and Anthony Estorga in the afternoon — as he breezed his way to a date with Harwell in the quarterfinals.
Williams began the day 2-down through two holes in his early-morning match. He then proceeded to win 16 of his next 22 holes – both matches ending before the 15th hole.
“Whenever I had opportunities to make birdies, I made them,” Williams said. “Just a good putting afternoon.”
The longtime San Antonio resident has lots of tournament experience at San Antonio Country Club. He has played in numerous USGA qualifiers on the links, which has helped him gain valuable knowledge on the grainy Bermuda greens.
“I’ve played a lot of golf out here,” Williams said. “I’ve got a bit of history out here.”
In the other half of the top bracket, No. 5 seed, and San Antonio resident, Danny Simmerman will match up with No. 6 seed Will Osborne. The match should be one of the most competitive of the day with numerous accolades between the two golfers. Osborne won the Texas Four-Ball earlier this summer and Simmerman is the reigning TGA South Regional Player of the Year.
No. 2 seed Scott Abbott will play No. 7 seed Barrett Sandefur in an all-chalk match-up for the two highly ranked players. Abbott cruised during his morning match winning 6 and 4, but needed 20 holes to defeat Nikolai Esau in the afternoon. Sandefur had a smoother path to the quarterfinals, winning 3 and 2 in the morning, and then 5 and 4 in the afternoon.
Another San Antonian, No. 14 seed Ross Wilhelm, upset No. 3 seed John Pierce 3 and 2 to advance to Saturday. He will face off with No. 22 seed Dave Davis. Davis needed 20 holes to take down San Antonio Country Club member Mikey Vaughan to keep San Antonio from another quarterfinal participant.
The biggest key from players on having a successful quarterfinal match? Hitting fairways and taking advantage on the greens. But being from San Antonio can’t hurt.
Starting times for the quarterfinal matches will begin at 7:30 a.m. on the 1st tee. After all the morning matches are complete, the semifinals will begin at approximately noon. For complete results and updated brackets, click here.