On August 25, in the USGA Mid-Amateur Sectional Qualifying Round at Sunnehanna Country Club, five players were tied at 72 for the third and final spot. Two of them, Brett Bergman, Oakmont, and Erik Bertrand, Pittsburgh, played nine holes in ‘sudden death’ to settle the matter. Both were under par. With them for three holes was recently reinstated Rick Stimmel, Pittsburgh, runner-up in the 1997 USGA Mid-Amateur at Dallas Athletic Club. His par wasn’t good enough to stay in the playoff.
After parring the first two, Bergman drove behind a tree, then chipped back into the fairway on the 3rd, a short par four. He then holed an 80-yard pitch shot for a birdie three. Bertrand, a 2010 Mid-Am qualifier who was reinstated to amateur status last year, nearly drove the green. His approach was about fifteen feet from the hole, and he made that putt to stay alive. The duo parred 4-8; both players hit the long par-five ninth in regulation. Bertrand holed a twenty foot leaving Bergman with a shorter one that he missed.
This is the longest playoff for a USGA qualifying spot locally in recent memory. The other qualifiers were medalist Dave Brown, Pittsburgh, with 67, and Massachusetts’ Mark McCormick with 71. The Championship will be played September 17-22 at Shadow Hawk Golf Club, Richmond, TX, near Houston.