Mercer claims Pennsylvania Middle-Amateur
By Mike Dudurich • September 24, 2019
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.
Yes, it was a home-course advantage, but no it really wasn’t.
Sure, it helped a little, but Mitch Mercer is quick to point out it wasn’t THAT big of a deal.
“I just joined earlier this summer and it’s only been a couple of months, but it’s been an amazing summer,” Mercer said after winning the Pennsylvania Mid-Am at Longue Vue Club. “I officially became a member at Longue Vue July 1. It wasn’t like I have years and years of experience there. I have the advantage of playing there for a few weeks.”
It was Mercer’s first state championship, but not his first big title. He won the 2017 West Penn Mid-Am at Green Oaks Country Club, not all that far from Longue Vue.
After posting a two-under par 68 in the opening round, he was two shots behind Jimmy Ellis and Ian Bangor. That 68 included him getting off to his best start ever by making birdies on the first four holes.
He played in next-to-last group in the second round Jimmy Ellis, a friend with whom he’s competed with in the past.
The two of them battled over the course of 17 holes and came to the 18th with Mercer holding a two-shot advantage, but his three putts, including a three-footer for par, and Ellis’ 15-foot putt for birdie forced a playoff.
Ellis hit it right into the trees behind an oak tree. Mercer pulled his drive into the left rough, but in a much better spot than Ellis.
For Ellis the only option was an unplayable lie, giving the big advantage to Mercer.
“Jimmy got a really bad break there in the playoff. It was unfortunate, but because of that, my mindset changed. It was like match play from then on,” Mercer.
His approach shot to the middle of the green and subsequent three-putt was good enough for the win.
“It’s a really big deal for me. I’m proud of the way I played,” Mercer, who became a father for the first time in June when his wife gave him a son, Cameron, said. “Sure, there was a little extra pressure. But the win is certainly big enough to get into some big state and WPGA events.”
Scoring generally were higher in the second round. The only player with an under-par round was Anthony DeGol, who fired a 67. Mercer finished with a 70, while Ellis had 72 and Bangor 73.
“We had five Longue Vue guys playing this week, and I wanted everyone to play well, but to bring it home myself is special,” he said.
Mercer, 32, who played in the U.S. Mid-Am at the Country Club of Birmingham in 2013 and the U.S. Four-Ball at Winged Foot in 2016, also had a bit more on the line.
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.