Young claims Mid-Amateur Championship
By Mike Dudurich • September 9, 2020
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.
VERONA – The act of finishing off a victory in a major championship, at whatever level, is never easy. Just ask any professional golfer who has been in that position and they’ll tell you just that. And there are plenty of stories about pros who haven’t been able to handle all that goes into that process.
On a hot and still day at Longue Vue Country Club Tuesday, it wasn’t particularly easy for anyone competing in the 35th West Penn Mid-Am. Especially those who were in contention for the title throughout the 36-hole day.
Four players finished under par, one at even par. The biggest lead of the day was two shots and was held at various times by Rick Stimmel and Kevin Koerbel. In the end, Brett Young wasn’t one of those with a lead of two shots.
But he was the one holding the championship trophy, having put together rounds of 71 and 66 to edge out Jimmy Ellis, who shot 71-67.
“There were so many good players in the field, probably the strongest field they could put out,” Young said. “I played well at Allegheny CC (site of the West Penn Amateur couple weeks ago). But it’s been an up and down year for me. But it felt good to win one like this.”
Stimmel had the lead after the morning round, posting a 65 and holding a one-shot advantage over Kevin Koerbel. The only other player under par after 18 holes was Nathan Smith, a two-time previous champion, who posted a 69.
But things changed in the second round and for some it was good, for others not so much.
“I don’t know what happened after lunch,” Stimmel said. “I shot 65 on the front and was feeling pretty good. After lunch, it was a struggle to even break 80.”
Young shot 66 in the afternoon, on the strength of five birdies and an eagle. That came on the fourth when he hit his best drive of the day, hit a pitching wedge from 150 yards to five feet. His afternoon round completed Young, the son of former Penguins’ winger Warren Young, nervously waited for the other contenders to finish their rounds to see if his lead would hold up.
One by one the contenders made their way back to the clubhouse, but nobody could overtake Young. Jimmy Ellis, who finished with a 67, one shot behind Young.
Koerbel and Stimmel shot 73 and 74, respectively.
“Rick and I got a little messy out there this afternoon,” Koerbel said. “It wasn’t pretty out there at times.”
This was Young’s second big victory of the year, the first coming in the spring at the 78th Dressler Memorial Championship, a Pennsylvania Golf Association event.
But he’s also played in two U.S. Amateurs (2017 and 2018) and a pair of U.S. Mid-Amateurs (2018 and 2019) as well as competing against some top-flight college players, like Connor Schmidt, also a member at Nemacolin Country Club.
“I think it definitely helps my game to compete against guys like Connor and play in these big events,” Young, who is 27, said. “I haven’t made the cut in those national events but I’m kind of figuring it out.”
Based on the way Young has been playing and played Tuesday at the course that will be the second course for the U.S. Amateur next year (Oakmont CC), that seems to be the case.
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.