Bangor claims 33rd Mid-Amateur title
By Mike Dudurich • September 5, 2018
Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.
PITTSBURGH – If you’re going to win your first big championship as an adult, you might as well on a day where conditions were difficult.
That way when you’re recounting the story years from now, it will sound much better.
Ian Bangor is the champion in question in this instance. The 26-year-old graduate of Carnegie Mellon University overcame a slow start in the 33rd WPGA Mid-Amateur Championship to blister the South Hills Country Club course Tuesday afternoon.
After an opening-round 70, Bangor went on a birdie binge in the afternoon. He made seven and just two bogeys for a 66 that was good for a two-shot victory over Erik Bertrand of Chartiers Country Club and Drew Beimel of The Kahkwa Club.
“It was a lot of fun, really rewarding,” Bangor said. “I hit a lot of fairways and greens and with this course being a little short (just under 6,500 yards), you have a lot of holes where you have a wedge in your hands. It’s tough making putts here because of the slopes in the greens but I managed to get a few to go in on the final nine.”
Indeed, he did, making birdies on 10, 14, 16 and 18.
Those were enough to get outlast Bertrand and Deimel.
“I had it going on that last nine,” Bertrand said. “I had it to 6-under (after making birdies on the second and third holes on his last nine) but couldn’t keep it there. It was the best 36-hole day I’ve had. I’ve been working on some light breathing techniques. I was getting really fidgety with the putter and it’s helped. Now I’m using it throughout the bag.”
He made bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes.
Like Bertrand, Deimel posted identical 69s. Over the course of 36 holes, Deimel racked up 13 birdies, but neither could catch Bangor, whose father, Paul, is the legal counsel for the WPGA.
This is the first summer Bangor has played much golf since college, when he played at Carnegie Mellon.
“After I graduated I went to New York to work and then moved back here to work at Federated (where he’s a financial analyst),” Bangor said. “When I came back here, I had no status with the West Penn, but they gave me an exemption into the Open and I’ve started playing well.”
Included in the “playing well” category was his qualifying for the U.S. Mid-Amateur later this month in Charlotte. But that won’t be his first experience with the Mid-Am.
“I was an alternate last year,” Bangor said. “I went to Atlanta and stood on the putting green for nine hours, but nobody dropped out. I won’t have to worry about that this year.”
Bangor and the rest of the field will remember Tuesday’s event for many reasons, the most memorable being the heat.
With temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, high humidity and almost no breeze, it was a tough day for everybody. WGPA officials had 48 cases of water on hand throughout the course and most of that was gone by the end of the day.
“Sure, the heat was a factor, but the pace of play was pretty good, so it wasn’t as bad as if we were standing and waiting all day,” Bangor said.
“It was brutal,” Bertrand said. “There was plenty of water around and it sure was nice to get off on one of the earlier tee times in the morning.”
David Brown, who finished at 3-under par, agreed with Bangor.
“I birdied the first four holes of the afternoon round, but I just didn’t get it done,” he said. “As long as the pace of play is good, the heat really doesn’t bother me.”
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.