Joe Scheffres overcame a case of nerves to pull off a routine par at the first playoff hole (No. 18) to defeat Mike Stackus and capture the 32nd Mid-Amateur championship of the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association, ending a title-winning drought.
At the 378-yard 18th, Scheffres drove the middle of the fairway, put his approach shot on the green, 30 feet from the hole, from where he hit his first putt to tap-in range. Stackus drove into the rough and — to avoid several trees near the green — struck a low shot that ran off the back of the green, leading to a bogey.
Asked about the last time he had won a major individual championship, Scheffres, 34, had to think about it before deciding that this was his first since his Junior years.
The new champion, from North Potomac and a Woodmont CC member, finished 69-70–139 and Stackus, from Ellicott City and the University of Maryland GC, 71-68–139. The Golf Club at South River was played at 6,467 yards to a par of 36-35–71.
Starting the afternoon round on the back nine, each shot 33 and Scheffres, retained the 2-shot lead he had from the morning round. The pivotal holes turned out to be Nos. 2 and 3, as Scheffres came out of a green-side bunker to 15 feet and missed the par putt, and Stackus, 35, created the tie with a birdie putt at the 184-yard third. The two halved the last six holes.
Later, Scheffres said he though he drove the ball exceptionally well — something he does not always do — with a lot of 3-woods and kept the ball in play.
“At 9, we both had putts from about 9-10 feet and neither scared the hole,” Stackus said of the respective putts that came up short at the end of regulation.
Coming down the stretch, ” I was nervous,” Scheffres said. ” I had not been in a situation to win in a while,” and had to stay in control. “I knew the scores and I knew the last putts [at the ninth] were for the win.” In contrast, Stackus thought somebody was ahead of him so, obviously, he was surprised and pleased to discover the actual situation in the scoring area.
For the two rounds, Scheffres had seven birdies, four bogeys, while Stackus had eight birdies, three bogeys, and one double-bogey, the last coming in the morning when he found water on the 17th.
The top two were followed at 140 by Mark Cusic, 70-70, and first-round leader Randy Sroka, 68-72. Tom Wharton had 73-68–141, and Joe Rice, IV, 74-68, as the last three shared the day’s low score with Stackus. A total of 50 players returned 36-hole scores.
Notes — Cusic, fifth a year ago after a second-round 76, was in position to finish at 139 following a birdie at the 17th, but bogeyed his last hole (the 18th) to miss the playoff by a stroke. . .Sroka eagled the 534-yard seventh and added three birdies in his morning round. . .Nathaniel Hoopes also eagled the seventh (driver-3-wood to five feet) and said the afternoon 5-footer was his first of the day [from that length]. . .Curiously, the top eight scorers in the morning started at No. 1, and the first six in the afternoon were all off No. 10. This last group included four from the morning [Scheffres, Stackus, Cusic, and Sroka] plus Wharton and Rice.
Final Results ⇒ WMGA-2018-MidAm-Final Results
Past Winners of Mid-Am ⇒ HERE