Interview with 2018 SCGA Mid-Am champion Kyle Bearden
Bearden wins SCGA Mid-Am championship
Kyle Bearden took full advantage of perfect scoring conditions at the Greenville Country Club’s Riverside course to win the South Carolina Golf Association’s 37th annual Mid-Am Championship.
Bearden finished the 54 hole event at 15 under par and was four shots in front of the field. The championship is the most significant win recorded by the former Winthrop University golfer in his amateur career.
“The course was in amazing shape,” said Bearden. “To go out and play well for three days in a row, thjs is probably my greatest accomplishment as an amateur golfer,” said the Barnwell resident.
When current Greenville County Amateur champion Danny Brock opened the tournament with an 8-under par 63 to hold the first round lead it served notice that the winner was going to have to go really low to win.
“I knew some good scores where out there because I missed four or five birdie putts within 15 feet, but at the same time a 63 is a 63 and that was impressive. I knew that if I wanted to get the job done, I would have to put the peddle to the metal for the next two days,” he said.
Bearden opened the tournament with a 6-under par 65 and followed it up with a 5-under par 66 in the second round. The way he finished his second round helped him to a 2-shot lead going into the final round.
“I played the back nine first on Saturday and finished on the front. There are back to back par-5s on that side and I knew if I could make a couple of birdies it would put me in great position for the final round,” he said.
Bearden birdied both the par-5s as well as the eighth and ninth holes to finish with four straight birdies to make a good round even better.
“It was a great way to go into Sunday,” he said.
While Bearden moved to the top of the leader board, the rest of the field was engaged in a battle for the second spot.
Former Clemson golfer Brent Delahoussaye, who recently returned to amateur golf, shot rounds of 65 and 68 to be in second place going into the final round. He shot a final round 1 -under par 70 to finish in third.
First round leader Danny Brock could not match his opening round 63 and posted a second round 72. His final round 70 earned him a fifth place finish.
Holly Tree golfer Robert Lutomski fired a 5-under par 66 to move up from 18th to tie for third after the second round. In the final round Lutomski shot a 2-under par 69 to finish in fourth place
Jon Weiss shot an opening round 64 to be one shot behind Brock. The Florence golfer also shot a 72 in the second round to start the final round in a tie for sixth.
However, Weiss, who with his partner won the recent SCGA Mid Am Four Ball title, was the only golfer who was able to stay close to Bearden in the final round.
“I started five back and I knew it would be difficult to catch him. I got to four-under par for the day by the turn, but I couldn’t keep it going on the back nine,” said Weiss. “I was hoping to win the Mid-Am to go with the Mid-Am Four-Ball,” he said.
With the lead Bearden didn’t play safe, but he also didn’t take many chances.
“I hit a lot of hybrids off the tees and played to the fat part of the green. The last thing you want to do is get cute and make a bogey and then another one and maybe a double. I just stuck to the same mind set I had all week,” he said..
The tournament is often called the ‘working man’s championship’ since the players must be at least 25 and usually have full time jobs. Bearden, who is a shipping manager at a company in Barnwell, fits the profile perfectly.
“We are very busy at work right now and I couldn’t get away to play a practice round. When I played the first round, it was the first time I had seen the course. Sometimes that isn’t all bad,” he said.
In the final round Bearden didn’t make a bogey and only missed one green. His 4-under par 67 left him on top of the field with a 15 under par 198 total.
On the final hole Bearden sank a six foot par saving putt to wrap up the win.
“Making that put on the last hole was a great way to cap off the tournament,” concluded Bearden.
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