Lo­cal fa­vorite ousted at mid-am

McDer­mott ousted in quar­ter­fi­nals at mid-am

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

“Over the week­end, I said, ‘you know there’s a tour­na­ment that if you do well enough, it might be on TV. (Tues­day) night, I said I might be on TV if I play well one more time. — Michael McDer­mott

EAST NANTMEAL >> The feel-good story of the 36th United States Mid­dle-Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship ended on Wed­nes­day morn­ing when lo­cal fa­vorite Michael McDer­mott dropped a quar­ter­fi­nal de­ci­sion at Stonewall’s Old Course.

Thanks to the top-eight fin­ish – his best ever in a USGA event – McDer­mott will be ex­empt for the 2017 Mid-Am. but ac­cord­ing to the 41-year-old, one of the big dis­ap­point­ments at the McDer­mott house­hold in Bryn Mawr will come from his sons, ages three, six and eight, who missed out on see­ing their dad play golf on tele­vi­sion in the semi­fi­nals.

“Yeah, they’re into it,” McDer­mott said. “Over the week­end, I said, ‘you know there’s a tour­na­ment that if you do well enough, it might be on TV,’” McDer­mott said. “(Tues­day) night, I said I might be on TV if I play well one more time.

“But when I come home (Wed­nes­day) night and tell them I lost, they are go­ing to say, ‘come on, let’s play basketball.’ They will for­get about it quick and hope­fully it will help me do the same.”

De­spite get­ting off to a siz­zling start, McDer­mott wound up fall­ing 2-down to Cal­i­for­nian Ste­wart Hages­tad, with a berth in the fi­nal four at stake. The 25-year-old Hages­tad later earned his way into the fi­nal with a con­vinc­ing 4-and-2 win over Scott Strick­land in the semi­fi­nals.

Hages­tad’s op­po­nent will be Scott Har­vey, from Greens­boro, N.C., who needed 19 holes to fi­nally dis­patch Dan Sullivan. And for the first time ever, the 36-hole fi­nal will be not be played on the same course. Stonewall’s North Course will host the open­ing 18, and the Old Course the fi­nal 18.

“It is ex­cit­ing,” said Har­vey, who won the 2014 U.S. MidAm. “(The North) is a good golf course and to­tally dif­fer­ent from (the Old Course). It’s pretty open off the tee, pretty un­du­lated greens, and it plays shorter.”

McDer­mott put Hages­tad on his heels in the morn­ing ses­sion, rac­ing out to a 3-up lead through three holes thanks to birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 and a bo­gey from Hages­tadt on the 3rd.

“Un­for­tu­nately, from that point for­ward, I couldn’t keep the ball in play, and it re­ally cost me,” McDer­mott ex­plained.

A New­port Beach, Calif., res­i­dent, Hages­tadt even­tu­ally grabbed the lead for good with a par on the 13th. It was his fourth win in the pre­ced­ing eight holes, and McDer­mott helped the sit­u­a­tion my miss­ing make­able putts at 9, 12, and 13.

“When you are not hit­ting it well, you have to make all of those,” he said.

McDer­mott’s best chance to square the match came at the par-3 15th, but his birdie ef­fort wouldn’t drop.

“My putt hung on the high­lip,” McDer­mott said. “It looked like it could turn in, but it just didn’t. And then (Hages­tad) made his 6-footer, so credit to him. Those are the turn­ing points to matches. If he misses that, who know where we go?”

Look­ing for an­other mag­i­cal fin­ish like his come-frombe­hind round of 16 vic­tory the day be­fore, McDer­mott needed to win the 447-yard 18th hole to ex­tend the match. But his ap­proach shot caught the fes­cue around a green­side bunker, his chip was noth­ing spe­cial and his par putt slide by. With Hages­tad on the green, putting for birdie, McDer­mott con­ceded the hole and the win.

“I didn’t spend a lot of time in the fair­way and (Hages­tad) chipped away at the (early) lead quickly,” McDer­mott said. “It just wasn’t a good ball-strik­ing day and it’s tough to win against a great player when you hit it like I did (Wed­nes­day).

“I only hit about three fair­ways all day and that’s just not go­ing to get it done at this point of a na­tional cham­pi­onship.”

Nev­er­the­less, it was a mem­o­rable week for McDer­mott, who started things off with a cou­ple prac­tice rounds with his young­ster brother, Brian, who also qual­i­fied to make the 264-player field, but failed to make it out of the stroke play por­tion.

“I will take a lot of pos­i­tives from this, but it’s hard to com­pare a good show­ing to a win,” said McDer­mott, when asked where this week in Ch­ester County ranked in his lengthy golf­ing ca­reer. “But this cer­tainly ranks up there with the great ex­pe­ri­ences. And in my home­town, to do it like this is spe­cial.

“It was a fun week for our fam­ily. I’m sorry it’s over.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF UNITED STATES GOLF AS­SO­CI­A­TION

Ste­wart Hages­tad hits out of the bunker dur­ing his semi­fi­nal match at the U.S. Mid-Am Cham­pi­onship on Wed­nes­day.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF UNITED STATES GOLF AS­SO­CI­A­TION

Scott Har­vey, left, talks with Dan Sullivan in their semi­fi­nal match Wed­nes­day.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF UNITED STATES GOLF AS­SO­CI­A­TION

Michael McDer­mott tees off on the 16th hole at Stonewall’s Old Course in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the United States MidlleA­ma­teur Cham­pi­onship on Wed­nes­day.

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