By RON BALICKI
BANDON, Ore. – It was classic Mickelson. A lob wedge shot, 24 yards from the pin, that landed on the edge of the green and rolled softly into the hole. It was the 18th hole. It was for eagle.
It was to win the match, 1 up.
Only this wasn’t Phil Mickelson, whose wedge game has made him one of the world’s top professional golfers.
This was lesser-known, younger brother Tim (pictured), the former pro who regained his amateur status in August of 2006 and is currently in his fifth year as head men’s golf coach at the University of San Diego.
Click here for coverage from the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur.
Mickelson’s chip-in eagle ended a roller-coaster third-round match with Nathan Smith Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
“I used my trusty L-wedge, 61 degrees. It’s been my go-to club,” said Mickelson, who advanced to Wednesday morning’s quarterfinals. “You know, I’m pretty one dimensional. I mean, hey, I’m a Mickelson,” he added with a laugh.
“It feels pretty good right now,” Mickelson, 30, playing in his first USGA event since the 2000 U.S. Amateur. “It feels good to win a few matches, get to the quarterfinals and do my players back home proud.”
Mickelson, who earlier in the day went 19 holes before beating Arnold Cutrell of Greensburg, Pa., will now face 26-year-old Dan Whitaker of Cle Elum, Wash., in the quarterfinals.
Whitaker, a greenskeeper at Suncadia Resort in Washington, defeated former U.S. Mid-Am champion Danny Green in 20 holes in the second round and turned back Michael Pearson of Alpharetta, Ga., 3 and 2, in the afternoon’s Sweet 16 round.
Five former U.S. Mid-Amateur champs advanced to match play. One remains – Kevin Marsh of Las Vegas.
Marsh, the 2005 winner, has been on a tear. After a 6-and-5 opening-match victory over Doug Stiles of Athens, Ga., the real estate developer came back Tuesday with a 4-and-3 conquest of Nathan Tyler of Tucson, Ariz., and followed with a 3-and-2 win over Jarrett Grimes of Columbia, S.C.
Marsh will face Ty Cox of Fort Worth, Texas, in the quarterfinals. Cox, playing in his first Mid-Am, made six birdies and an eagle in beating Pat Tallent of Vienna, Va., 4 and 3, in the morning. He defeated 1996 U.S. Public Links champion Tim Hogarth of Northridge, Calif., 3 and 2, in the afternoon.
The lower half of Wednesday’s quarterfinal bracket will pit Jordan Byrd of Clemson, S.C. against Scott Hardy of Pleasant Hill, Calif., and Trip Kuehne of Irving, Texas, against Steve Sear of Washoe Valley, Nev.
Byrd, the men’s assistant golf coach at Clemson and older brother of PGA Tour player Jonathan Byrd, turned back Brandon Kearney of Bend, Ore., 3 and 2, in the second round, then breezed past Jason Rudquist of Peyton Colo., 6 and 4.
Hardy, the men’s head golf coach at St. Mary’s College (Calif.), won on the 20th hole in his second round match against Gene Elliott of West Des Moines, Iowa, after sinking an 18-footer for par on the 18th hole to extend the match. He won at the par-3 second hole with a 12-footer for birdie, as Elliott’s 40-footer hit the hole and finished on the lip. Hardy later beat Skip Berkmeyer, 4 and 3, to advance to the quarters.
Kuehne, who last month helped lead the U.S. to victory over Great Britain and Ireland at the Walker Cup at Royal County Down in Ireland, defeated his former Dallas Highland Park High School teammate Michael Cooper of Austin, Texas, 2 and 1, in his morning match. Kuehne built a 3-up lead after four holes, then beat Jim Lehman, older brother of PGA Tour player Tom Lehman, 3 and 2, in the Sweet 16. Kuehen also beat Lehman last year in the first round.
For Kuehne, runner-up at the 1994 U.S. Amateur and a quarterfinalist at last year’s Amateur, his quarterfinal showing is his best in six Mid-Amateurs.
“It’s the farthest I’ve been in this tournament,” said Kuehne, a member of the 2006 U.S. squad at the World Amateur Team Championship. “If I can continue to play well, I have a chance. But there’s a long way to go. You really just have to stay focused so you don’t give your opponent any advantage.”
For Lehman, it was the end of a long day. He had only finished nine holes of his opening match Monday before play was stopped due to darkness. He came back and defeated Jeff Daniels of Harrisburg, Pa., on the 19th hole, then turned back Todd Mitchell of Bloomington, Ill., 2 and 1, in the second round.
“It’s been a long day. I just wish it would have ended on a better note,” said Lehman. “But it’s hard to beat one of the best when you are not one of the best.”
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Ron Balicki is a Golfweek senior writer. To reach him e-mail [email protected]
Results from the thirdround of match play at the U.S. Mid Amateur, played Oct. 2 at the par-72, 6,966-yard Bandon (Ore.) Dunes GolfResort:
ROUND OF 16
Tim Mickelson def. Nathan Smith 1 up
Dan Whitaker def. Michael Pearson 3 and 2
Ty Cox def. Tim Hogarth 3 and 2
Kevin Marsh def. Jarrett Grimes 3 and 2
Scott Hardy def. Richard Berkmeyer 4 and 3
Jordan Byrd def. Jason Rudquist 6 and 4
Stephen Sear def. John O'Donnell 4 and 3
Trip Kuehne def. James Lehman 3 and 2
Nathan Smith def. Packard Dewitt 1 up
Tim Mickelson def. Arnold Cutrell 19 holes
Dan Whitaker def. Danny Green 1 up
Michael Pearson def. George Marucci Jr 3 and 2
Tim Hogarth def. Eric Spencer 20 holes
Ty Cox def. Patrick Tallent 4 and 3
Jarrett Grimes def. Tripp Davis 2 up
Kevin Marsh def. Nathan Tyler 4 and 3
Richard Berkmeyer def. Glenn Przybylski 4 and 3
Scott Hardy def. Gene Elliott 20 holes
Jordan Byrd def. Brandon Kearney 3 and 2
Jason Rudquist def. David Schnider 1 up
Stephen Sear def. Culley Barragan 1 up
John O'Donnell def. Alan Bratton 20 holes
Trip Kuehne def. Michael Cooper 2 and 1
James Lehman def. Todd Mitchell 2 and 1
Nathan Smith def. George Zahringer III 1 up
Packard Dewitt def. Michael McCoy 5 and 3
Arnold Cutrell def. Blake Johnson 3 and 2
Tim Mickelson def. Dan Horner 4 and 3
Dan Whitaker def. Tim Tucker 20 holes
Danny Green def. Stan Payne 20 holes
Michael Pearson def. John Adams 4 and 3
George Marucci Jr. def. Donnie Cooper 2 and 1
Tim Hogarth def. Steve Kline 19 holes
Eric Spencer def. Thomas Gocke 2 and 1
Patrick Tallent def. John Ehrgott 1 up
Ty Cox def. Tevis Upton 4 and 3
Jarrett Grimes def. Austin Eaton III 3 and 2
Tripp Davis def. Jeffrey Hedden 2 and 1
Nathan Tyler def. Douglas Clapp 3 and 2
Kevin Marsh def. Doug Stiles 6 and 5
Richard Berkmeyer def. Bert Atkinson 5 and 4
Glenn Przybylski def. Bill Brown 2 up
Scott Hardy def. Roger Newsom 7 and 5
Gene Elliott def. Matt Adcock 3 and 1
Jordan Byrd def. Thomas McGraw 4 and 2
Brandon Kearney def. Chip Lutz 3 and 2
David Schnider def. Ryan Parnell 2 and 1
Jason Rudquist def. Jay Blumenfeld 5 and 3
Stephen Sear def. Steve White 5 and 4
Culley Barragan def. Ryan Abbate 1 up
John O'Donnell def. Jeffrey Scohy 1 up
Alan Bratton def. Doug Manor 3 and 2
Trip Kuehne def. Ken Kellaney 1 up
Michael Cooper def. Alan Hill 2 and 1
Todd Mitchell def. Jason Bittick 3 and 2
James Lehman def. Jeff Daniels 19 holes
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Click here for results from stroke-play qualifying.