Featuring 83 golfers from across the great states of Arizona, California and Utah, the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships held the third of four qualifiers at Annandale Golf Course in Pasadena, California on Monday.
The winner earned a spot in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the top three finishers qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships at Charlotte Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Finishing in a third-place tie and qualifying for the event in Charlotte is Valencia resident Brad Uptgraft, who shot an even-par 70.
“I have been playing some decent golf lately,” Uptgraft said. “And I wanted to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I have played that course a few times before so I knew that if I stayed with that game plan, I could be there in contention for the top three finish.”
Uptgraft got off to a hot start after birdying the first hole, which was a par-4. He then bogeyed the second hole to put him back to even par.
Heading into the 13th hole at even-par, Uptgraft was able to birdie the 532-yard par-5 13th to put him 1-under.
“It was kind of a tight shot but I decided to hit a driver and go for it,” Uptgraft said. “I hit it pin high and then followed it up with a good chip shot and made the birdie.”
He hit his third birdied of the round at the par-4 17th to put him 2-under heading into the 18th and final hole.
Double-bogeying the longest hole of the course (539 yards), Uptgraft fell to even-par 70 to force a playoff.
Regrouping, Uptgraft birdied the first playoff hole to push him up into the top-3 and into the U.S Mid-Amateur Championship, which features golfers age 25 and older.
“It was a relief when I made the birdie. I played in the U.S. Amateur in 2004 and one of my goals was to get back and play in a national championship. Once I sealed it up, it felt really good,” Uptgraft said.
Uptgraft finished the day shooting an even-par 70 for a third-place tie with Joseph Benedetti of Playa Vista, California.
“When I play golf I don’t really keep score too much and I try to play one hole at a time. I can always play better but my score got me in and that’s all that matters,” Uptgraft said.
On the day, Uptgraft parred every hole aside from the three birdies, one bogey and the double-bogey on the par-5 18th hole to advance.
Corby Segal of Santa Clarita and David Lebowitz of Santa Monica also shot an even-par 70 but will serve as the first and second alternates.
Damon Krause of Los Angeles shot a 2-under 68 for first-place and Adam Walicki of Phoenix, Arizona shot a 1-under 69 to finish as the runner-up.
Krause and Walicki will join Uptgraft and Benedetti as the four qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, which will take place from September 22-27.
“There’s nothing else that I can do in the next three or four weeks that I can change,” Uptgraft said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I do and I’m happy to be out there.
“I have to travel for the next week and a half so I’m not touching a golf club until then.”