If at first you don’t succeed, try, try (and try and try) again. It’s a lesson Todd Mitchell and Scott Harvey will be professing for the foreseeable future after it helped them claim a USGA championship title on Wednesday.
In the first four editions of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, the pair of 40-year-olds—Mitchell a former minor league baseball player from Bloomington, Ind., and Harvey, the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champ from Kernersville, N.C.—qualified for the nascent championship and were among the 32 two-man teams to advance to match play before being bounced out of the bracket. The farthest they’d ever gotten was the semifinals in the inaugural championship in 2014.
Prior disappointments didn’t keep them from coming back for a fifth time this past week at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Resort, where finally things broke their way, winning the 18-hole championship match on the Old Macdonald course against East Carolina teammates Logan Shuping and Blake Taylor, 2 and 1.
How solid was Mitchell and Harvey’s play as they set up shop along Oregon’s beautiful Pacific coast? Through the first 71 holes of stroke and match play, all the way into their quarterfinal tilt with Michael McCarty and Derek Ackerman, the eventual champs played without counting a bogey. They then proceeded to make one more the rest of the week—on the 10th hole in the championship clash.
The rare stumble allowed Shuping and Taylor to tie the match up, and it would remain knotted for the next two holes before a birdie on the 13th hole by the collegians got them a late (and rare) lead.
From there, the veterans of USGA championships didn’t shirk from the pressure, letting their experience shine. Birdies by Mitchell and Harvey on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes turned the match from on 1 down to 2 up.
When the two teams tied the 17th hole with pars, Mitchell and Harvey had become the second mid-amateur duo (after maiden winners Nathan Smith and Todd White in 2014) to claim the championship.
Their victory was also impressive given the varying weather conditions they faced all week. On Monday it was overcast skies. Tuesday was sunny but breezy. Wednesday proved more like Monday, players decked out in long sleeves and jackets.