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20th hole is the charm for Courville in Mid-Am Quarterfinalist keeps winning on extra hole


The 20th hole has been good to Jerry Courville Jr., and as long as it means a win, the Walker Cup player from Norwalk, Conn., will settle for the extra work.

When he defeated William O'Connor and Pat Tallent in working through two rounds yesterday, it meant all three of his U.S. Mid-Amateur matches had gone to the second extra hole (No. 2 is 362 yards from an elevated tee, with a pond bordering the green) at Caves Valley Golf Club.

"To say I'm tired is an understatement," he said of his 40 holes over the rolling 6,685-yard layout off Park Heights Avenue.

Courville, 36, one half of the winning Chesapeake Cup team on this golf course in June, reached this morning's quarterfinals when he struck a second shot eight feet from the pin and never bTC had to putt it, as Tallent, who did not hit the green in regulation, eventually conceded.

"The 20th hole has been good to me, but I also got a little lucky," he said. "I really thought Pat was going to make that putt at No. 1."

Tallent was fortunate just to get to overtime, as he rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at the 17th and an eight-footer for birdie at the 18th after Courville, from just outside of him, saw his putt slip off to the low side at the last moment.

At No. 1, both were on in two at the 404-yard hole, Courville 20 feet right and Tallent 12 feet left. Both two-putted, Tallent narrowly missing his birdie try.

It was a fitting climax to a day in which 24 matches not only helped produce a final eight, but showcased some outstanding golf. All four area players won in the morning and lost in the afternoon.

The draw is a study in contrasts, as three of those in the upper half have never been this far before, and the fourth, Randy Haag, is this far for the third straight year but has never gone to the next level.

The lower half lists former Mid-Am titlists James Taylor, Danny Yates and Tim Jackson, plus Courville. Two rounds today (open to the public with no charge for parking and the championship) will reduce the field to two for tomorrow's scheduled 18-hole final.

Bob Kearney, from Houston, made it a USGA-record 15 straight years without a medalist's winning, as he rolled in a sliding 20-footer from behind the 18th cup to oust John Harris, former U.S. Amateur champion, Walker Cup player and medalist by four strokes.

In the afternoon, he took care of another U.S. Amateur champion, Mitch Voges, 2 and 1. He was 3-down to Harris after 12 -- "I didn't think I'd even see the 18th" -- then got on track with birdies at 14 and 15. Against Voges, he won 14, 15 and 16 to get the lead.

"Nerve-wracking -- that's heart-attack country, those holes," said Lillian Roberts, Kearney's girlfriend and caddy since being pressed into service Sunday after Kearney carried his own bag Saturday and decided that wasn't the way to do it.

The area's casualties were Marty West, a 7-and-6 morning winner, but a 6-and-4 loser to Haag in the afternoon; Tom Winegardner, who said he lost it on the greens with 36 putts for 17 holes in losing to Jim Spagnolo, 2 and 1; Doug Ballenger, who hung in after Yates won three of the first four holes, before going down 2 and 1; and Tallent.

Taylor was 5-under par in the afternoon in beating Damien Jamila, from Hawaii, the last of the 25-29-year-old group, 4 and 2.

Second round

Upper bracket

Bob Kearney (150), Houston, def. John Harris (139), Edina, Minn., 1 up; Mitch Voges (146), Simi Valley, Calif., def. Jeff Golliher (149), Knoxville, Tenn., 3 and 2; Randy Haag (147), Danville, Calif., def. Scot Regner (145), Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 6 and 4; Marty West (148), Rockville, def. Michael Goodes (145), Reidsville, N.C., 7 and 6; Jim Spagnolo (150), Norristown, Pa., def. Bill Brafford (148), Broken Arrow, Okla., 2 and 1; Tom Winegardner (149), Lothian, def. Gary Jacobson (146), Plymouth, Mass., 3 and 2; Warren Sye (147), Canada, def. Ken Kellaney (150), Phoenix, 2 up; Rick Dewitt (145), Arvada, Colo., def. Rick Cloninger (149), Orlando, Fla., 2 and 1.

Lower bracket

Damien Jamila (148), Waimanalo, Hawaii, def. Don Bliss (143), Chesterfield, Mo., 1 up; James Taylor (149), Madison, Conn., def. David Lucks (149), Manchester, Mo., 5 and 4; Doug Ballenger (148), Evans, Ga., def. Chris Johnson (150), Rancho Cordova, Calif., 2 and 1; Danny Yates (147), Atlanta, def. Jeff Thomas (145), South Plainfield, N.J., 2 and 1; Ron Schroeder (148), Pasadena, Texas, def. Pat Mahoney (150), Upper Grandview, N.Y., 6 and 4; Tim Jackson (149), Germantown, Tenn., def. Buddy Alexander (145), Gainesville, Fla., 1 up; Pat Tallent (144), Vienna, Va., def. Greg Jones (148), Mobile, Ala., 2 and 1; Jerry Courville Jr. (148), Norwalk, Conn., def. William O'Connor (149), Royal Oak, Mich., 20 holes.

Third round

Kearney def. Voges, 2 and 1; Haag def. West, 6 and 4; Spagnolo def. Winegardner, 2 and 1; Sye def. Dewitt, 4 and 3; Taylor def. Jamila, 4 and 2; Yates def. Ballenger, 2 and 1; Jackson def. Schroeder, 3 and 1; Courville Jr., def. Tallent, 20 holes.

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