Manor Country Club members Ben Warnquist and Bart Mease were poles apart in winning their semi-final matches of the 98th Washington Metropolitan Amateur championship over their home course in Rockville, August 6.
Warnquist, who consistently drives the ball more than 300 yards that set up possible birdie opportunities, won the first hole against defending champion Evan Santa, from Crofton CC, with a par, then put the game out of sight when he took five holes in a six-hole stretch to turn 6 up. Three holes later it was over and the reigning Maryland State Amateur champion was a 7-and-6 victor. He was 4 under par for the 12 holes, including a conceded eagle-3 at the 517-yard ninth,
One of the highlights was making a winning par on the 462-yard seventh hole from right of the adjoining sixth fairway.
Matt Starobin, also from Crofton CC, led Mease for the first eight holes, but Mease cut a two-hole deficit to one with a winning par at the seventh, then drew level with a birdie at the ninth. The two struggled through the back nine, each player’s game a mirror image of the other. They scrambled to eight successive halves, two of them with bogeys, to set up a climactic 18th
Starobin drove it wide right, was just short with his approach and barely got it on the green in three. Mease was just short of the green in two and pitched it tight to the pin and Starobin then was just wide with his bid to extend the match. Manor CC 2; Crofton CC 0.
“I’m just happy to survive,” Mease said. “I had a lot of putts not go in, but I hung in there.”
The Warnquist-Mease final pairing will be a reprise of their Maryland State final of two months ago, won by Warnquist, 6 and 5, at Columbia CC..
In the morning quarter-finals, Warnquist was never behind against Blake Micholas, Congressional CC, building a 2-up edge (1 under par) at the turn, then shooting the back 1 under in 4 and 3. Santa moved on in that half of the bracket with a 3-and-2 decision over Evan Katz; Starobin chipped in on No. 8 and got a conceded birdie at the ninth for 2 up against Will Rosenfield, from the University of Maryland GC, then was 2-up after 16, lost 27, and won 18 for a 2-up decision, while Mease was 2-down after 12 against Pieter DeGroot, from TPC Potomac, but drew even with par-birdie at 13-14, and won it with a 20-foot birdie at 17.
The scheduled 36-hole final will start at 7 a.m., August 6.