Colby Harwell Wins 2017 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play
Last year at Northwood Club in Dallas, Colby Harwell lost a heartbreaker in the championship match of the Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play to Zach Atkinson. The hard-fought match came down to the final hole, with Atkinson eventually prevailing. On Sunday morning, Harwell again found himself in the championship match. This time, he didn’t let the match come down to the 18th hole. Harwell avenged last year’s loss and became the 2017 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play champion with a 3 and 2 defeat of Scott Abbott at San Antonio Country Club.
Harwell said his loss last year to Atkinson “lit a fire” underneath him, and he certainly played like it all week.
In the championship match, Harwell never trailed and was always in control of the match. The match was all square at the turn, but the back nine was all Harwell. He won holes 10, 11 and 12 to go 3-up, capitalizing on two Abbott bogeys. Abbott responded by winning No. 13 to trim the lead to 2-up, but with Harwell’s putter heating up, there was never a doubt.
“Just making those couple putts (on 11 and 13) really helped,” Harwell said. “It was just solid golf. That’s all it was.”
On No. 16, Harwell hit his approach 20 feet short of the hole. The ball never left its line, and Harwell walked it in the hole — a move that has been his signature on the clutch putts he’s made this week.
He took medalist honors with a 5-under 67 during stroke-play qualifying on Thursday to nab the No. 1 seed. Then he outlasted Ted Waldrip in a 21-hole match in the Round of 32. He then easily dispatched his next two opponents to reach the semifinals against Danny Simmerman.
Harwell controlled the match early, but a flurry of birdies on the back nine from Simmerman gave him a 2-up lead with four holes to play. It looked like the revenge tour might be cut short. But Harwell battled back to win three of the final four holes to advance to the final match.
Familiarity with the course certainly helped Harwell claim the title. He is a member at Oak Hills Country Club, but with renovations underway across town, Harwell has been playing frequently at San Antonio Country Club.
“I was really just trying to play just like I was when I would come out and play the couple of rounds a week I play out here,” Harwell said after the round. “Just keep the ball in the fairways, get it on the greens and try not to three-putt.”
Next up for Harwell is the U.S. Amateur at Riviera Country Club, which he qualified for two weeks ago. Although the competition will be a little stiffer, his game certainly seems to be rounding into form at the right time.
“This really gives me a lot of excitement going into the U.S. Amateur here in a couple weeks,” Harwell said. “I’m ready to go.”
San Antonio Country Club is a founding member of the TGA from 1906. The Alex Findlay-designed course, which has seen renovations under the eye of A.W. Tillinghast, Jay Morrish and Joseph Finger, has played host to a slew of notable non-TGA events throughout the years. It welcomed Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in 1913 for an exhibition match, was a favorite of Dwight D. Eisenhower when he was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston prior to World War I, and hosted the Trans-Mississippi Amateur in 1967.
The Texas Golf Association extends its warmest and most sincere appreciation to the staff, Board of Governors, and the membership at San Antonio Country Club, as well as our volunteers, for their integral part in making the 2017 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play a memorable and successful event. For more information about this championship, click here.
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