Warren Sye and Jerry Courville Jr., backed by golfing success at home and abroad, found different ways to achieve the same end at Caves Valley Golf Club yesterday.
In reaching the championship match of the 15th annual U.S. Mid-Amateur championship, Sye, from Brampton, Ontario, lost most of a 4-up margin on the back nine before recovering to defeat Bob Kearney, 2 and 1.
Courville, 2 down after three, won four straight holes in the middle of the match and stopped James Taylor, 6 and 4.
The scheduled 18-hole final match will begin today at 9:30 a.m.
Courville, one-time co-holder of the competitive course record, extended a birdie barrage to three successive matches. The Walker Cup player from Norwalk, Conn., was 5 under par in beating Pat Tallent Tuesday afternoon. He was 4 under in knocking out defending champion Tim Jackson yesterday morning, 3 and 1, and 5 under again in applying the knockout rTC punch to Taylor, the 1989 champion.
"There's no strategy; I just want to keep playing the way I have been," Courville, 36, said. "You have to concentrate because it can turn on you quickly. . . . I'm tired, mentally and physically."
Where Courville has been lighting it up, Sye has been stroking along, doing whatever it took to advance. When he birdied the 16th hole for what proved to be the winning margin against Kearney, it marked the first time he had been under par at the end of any of his five matches.
Curiously, both of Sye's matches yesterday went the same way -- a big early lead, then an opposing rally that turned out to be too little and too late.
Against Jim Spagnolo in the morning, Sye, a two-time Canadian Amateur champion and a veteran of four World Amateur teams, built a 3-up lead through 11 holes, then lost the 13th and 17th before halving the last hole.
Against Kearney, who had eliminated past USGA champions John Harris and Mitch Voges earlier, and Randy Haag in the morning on the 20th hole, Sye was 4 up at the turn. Kearney rallied to within one through No. 15, but as he told Sye later, "I let you get too far ahead."
At Caves Valley GC
Bob Kearney (147), Houston, def. Randy Haag (147), Danville, Calif., 20 holes. Warren Sye (145), Canada, def. Jim Spagnolo (150), Norristown, Pa., 1 up.
James Taylor (149), Madison, Conn., def. Danny Yates (147), Atlanta, 1 up. Jerry Courville, Jr. (148), Norwalk, Conn., def. Tim Jackson (149), Germantown, Tenn., 3 and 1.
Sye def. Kearney, 2 and 1. Courville def. Taylor, 6 and 4.