There were any number of pressure situations for those seeking qualifying places in this week's U.S. Mid-Amateur championship. Then, there was the real pressure endured by Joel Kaye.
Long before sectional qualifying events were held to determine the final field, Kaye knew the championship sites would be Caves Valley Golf Club and Woodholme Country Club. And he was the club champion at both of them.
For much of this season, Kaye had been not playing as well as in recent seasons, but improvement could not have come at a better time. Within the past three weeks, he eagled the last hole at Cattail Creek CC to win the Maryland State Mid-Am championship, his first state title, then shot 2-over-par 73 to tie five others for the final spots in sectional U.S. Mid-Am qualifying at Army Navy CC in Arlington, Va.
Other qualifiers at Army Navy who will have local cheering sections are Larry Storck, from Baltimore and the CC of Maryland; Lee Martinson, a Hillendale CC member from York, Pa., and Buddy Peoples, a former Maryland State Amateur titlist from Crofton.
The other area qualifiers are Mike Cox, Lusby; Congressional CC members Ben Brundred III and Pat Tallent; Marty West III of Rockville and Tom Winegardner of Lothian.
A five-time qualifier for previous USGA championships, including three U.S. Amateurs, Kaye, 47, a partner in Ellin & Tucker Chartered, a large regional CPA firm, said he is more than geared up for this week's championship. "Of the years I have tried to qualify for both, this was the only time I wanted the Mid-Am more."
He recently won a third successive Woodholme club title, then lost his Caves Valley championship when he three-putted the 22nd hole in a semifinal match against Henry Blue. Still, Kaye has a "home-field" advantage like no other player, putting him in yet another pressure situation.
Qualifying for the full field will be Saturday and Sunday at both sites, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play beginning Monday at Caves Valley.