Pierson Repeats at Westchester Mid-Am
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (October 3, 2017) -- A rollercoaster final three holes landed Pat Pierson of Hollow Brook and Dan O'Callaghan of Bedford Golf & Tennis club in a tie through 36 holes of play in the 8th Westchester Mid-Amateur at The Saint Andrew's Golf Club. However, a birdie on the first playoff hole--the par-five 7th--led Pierson to hoist the trophy for the third time in the last four years.
Pierson--playing steadily all day--appeared to lock up the championship with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-three 16th, having earned a three shot lead over O'Callaghan with just two holes to play. However, Pierson's drive on the par-five 17th settled in the indention of a root. On his lay-up, the ball shot high into the air, but did not advance far and left a long approach into the green. His third found a greenside bunker, while the next found the back left fringe. His putt had a hair too much pace, as the ball rolled all the way off the back level and down to the front of the green. His next putt wouldn't crest the slope and came back nearly to his feet, but he cozied his next to within a couple of feet to finish with a triple-eight.
Meanwhile, O'Callaghan nearly holed a birdie putt from the lower level of the green, safely securing par to pull level with Pierson headed to the final hole. Finding the last fairway bunker on the right off the 18th tee, Pierson hit a stellar approach to just five feet. From the left rough, O'Callaghan had a challenging look from which he had to keep the ball under trees but also fly the front-guarding bunkers. He pulled off the shot, his ball settling hole-high just inside of Pierson's length.
Pierson calmly holed his downhill birdie try, while O'Callaghan successful rolled in his putt as well to force extra holes.
Both players layed up on their second shots on the par-five 7th, both favoring the left side of the fairway and just finding the rough. Pierson's approach finished nearly hole-high of the back hole location, while O'Callaghan's spun back into the fringe on the right portion of the green. O'Callaghan's birdie-bid fell just wide, while Pierson quickly and confidently put a pure stroke on his 10-footer which found the bottom of the hole.
"I played well both days," said Pierson. "I made one mistake on the 17th hole today, but it's always good to win. Coming in, I have not been putting well, but I putted really well the last two days. So, that was the most important thing--especially on these greens."
There were several back-and-forth moments on the day, with O'Callaghan claiming the lead early behind six-consecutive pars, and Pierson tallying a pair of bogeys out of the gate. However, a bogey from O'Callaghan on No. 7 and back-to-back birdies by Pierson on Nos. 7 and 8 quickly flipped momentum into Pierson's favor. Pierson led by three following O'Callaghan's bogey on 11, but a two-shot swing thanks to an O'Callaghan birdie on the par-five 12th made it just a one-shot contest. O'Callaghan made bogey on the 14th, with Pierson pushing the lead to three--and setting up the ending--with his birdie on 16.
George Miller of host club Saint Andrew's claimed solo third behind a pair of 77s, while Rob Johnson of Trump National Hudson Valley and Philip Mintz of Century rounded out the top five at 12 and 13-over, respectively, for the 36-hole championship.
Players were tested from tee to green on The Saint Andrew's Club's championship layout, which demands accuracy off the tee and a deft touch around and upon its speedy, undulating greens. The course played to just over 6,400 both days of the championship.
To be eligible for the Westchester Mid-Amateur, competitors must have been at least 30 years of age by the beginning of the event and have an official Handicap Index of 8.5 or better.