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Zahringer Reaches Semifinals in the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship

WILMINGTON, DEL. – A former professional on the PGA European Tour and PGA Tour, forty-four-year-old Bryan Norton of Mission Hills, Kan., dispatched defending champion George Zahringer, 50, of New York, N.Y., 3 and 1. Earlier in the day, Norton came back to defeat 35-year-old Pat Carter of Lesage, Va., in 19 holes.


Norton has played in four U.S. Opens and one British Open, tying for 28th in 1990 at St. Andrews. Earlier this year he was the medalist at the British Mid-Amateur before losing in the second round. The championship this week marks just the fourth individual tournament he’s played all year.


Except for a couple of missed 3-foot putts, Norton didn’t look rusty Wednesday. In the match against Zahringer, Norton never trailed. He grabbed the lead on the fifth hole, pushing the advantage to 2 up by the turn.


In all, he had two birdies, the last of which came on the par-3 17th hole where he stuck his drive to within 7 feet of the hole. But there was a reason for the shortage. Wind gusts of up to 30 mph played tricks with the ball all day.


Case in point: In Zahringer’s quarterfinal match against 31-year-old Rick Reinsberg of Lafayette, Calif., Reinsberg called a penalty on himself on the 18th green after the wind moved his ball while he addressed it.


“We went straight from summer to fall,” said Smith. “There were times you wanted to put it on the tee, quickly address it and hope it didn’t move.”


Zahringer, who made it to the finals the last two years, cut the deficit to 2 down when he knocked his 140-yard approach shot to 2 feet on No. 15 to win the hole but he couldn’t sustain the charge back.


On No. 17, with the match dormie, Zahringer hit the fat part of the green for a 30-foot putt. He opted to chip, but the ball only went 12 feet. Soon after he conceded.


“Looking back, [Norton] played steady all afternoon,” said Zahringer. “He had a very good ball-striking round.


“It was pretty tough. I was kind of fighting my swing all week.”


In his quarterfinal match, former US Mid-Am champion and 2002 runner-up Jerry Courville, Jr. of Shorehaven, lost to Nathan Smith of Brookville, PA 3 & 2.


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