Friday, October 09, 2015

VERO BEACH, Florida – Bolstered by a hole-in-one on the par-4 33rd hole, Sammy Schmitz, of Farmington, Minnesota, defeated Marc Dull, of Lakeland, Florida 3 and 2, in the Final to win the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur on the 6,855-yard, par-72 West Course at John’s Island Club.
Schmitz, a 35-year-old father of two who works in healthcare services, was angry when he walked to the tee of the uphill, 260-yard par 4 with a driver in his hands.
He had just lost the par-5 32nd hole with a bogey that resulted from plugging a short wedge shot into a greenside bunker. His lead stood at 2 up with four holes to play.
“That wedge shot got me fired up, missing the green from 110 [yards] and plugging it and giving the hole away,” said Schmitz, a 2003 NCAA Division III All-America player at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
After Dull hit his tee shot on the West Course’s 15th hole, Schmitz rifled his driver, which landed on the green 17 feet to the left of the hole, caught the slope behind the hole and rolled back in for an ace
It is believed to be only the second hole-in-one on a par-4 in USGA amateur competition.
“I can’t believe it,” said Schmitz, who advanced to match play in both of his previous Mid-Amateurs, losing in the Round of 64 in 2011 and the Round of 32 in 2012. “I’ve been hitting driver (on the hole) the entire tournament. I think I’ve hit the green four times. I just had a good feeling. I can’t believe it went in. It’s very surreal.”
Schmitz had one previous hole-in-one, an ace on a par 3 in a nine-hole scramble competition.
“I win [No.] 14 and I’m thinking maybe we can get back in this,” said Dull, who works at Streamsong (Fla.) Resort. “I didn’t hit a good tee shot, and when a guy jars it on a par 4, what are you going to do? You just shake his hand and laugh it off. It was an amazing shot that he hit.”
With a 3-hole lead, Schmitz calmly reached the green on the downhill, 233-yard, par-3 34th hole with a 3-iron. Dull, who has caddied at Streamsong for two years, followed with a tee shot which landed in the right greenside bunker. He blasted to 10 feet.
When Schmitz, a recreational hockey player, two-putted from the front of the green for a par, Dull was closed out and Schmitz was a USGA champion, with a likely invitation to the 2016 Masters Tournament in the offing.
Both finalists are exempt into the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and are exempt into 2016 U.S. Open sectional qualifying. The champion also receives a likely invitation to the 2016 Masters.



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