E.A. Sports Today

Burgess waits

Anniston CC golfer finishes as first alternate in U.S. Mid-Am qualifier, won’t know chances of getting a spot in main event until later this month
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
CAMDEN, S.C. – And now for Garrett Burgess the long wait begins.
The Donoho golf coach and Anniston Country Club player was the odd-man out in a 5-for-4 playoff in U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying at Camden Country Club Thursday. He tied for the low round of a day – a 2-under-par 68 – but made a bogey on the first playoff hole to head back to Alabama as first alternate from the site.
The four qualifying spots went to two birdies and two pars. The main event is Sept. 14-19 at Colorado Golf Club and CommonGround Golf Course outside of Denver and now Burgess must wait it out to see if he’ll be a part.
“I called today to find out how it all worked and basically the guy told me to wait until the 22nd or 23rd of August and they’ll have a list of how the prioritized alternates rank,” Burgess said. “He can kind of tell me then what it’s looking like – if I have a chance, if I don’t, that kind of deal – so we’ll wait a couple weeks and see what happens.
“There’s nothing else I can do until then. Now it’s just kind of waiting and hoping when I talk to them again I get some kind of good news.”
Burgess was encouraged about playing in the event by stories shared by another Anniston CC player, Freeman Fite, who played in two U.S. Mid-Ams and raved about the experience. He could have picked anywhere to play his qualifying round and there were some venues closer to home, but he chose the South Carolina site because it was close enough with a qualifying date that fit his scheduling window and some early recon indicated a favorable layout.
The playoff hole (No. 18) was a 416-yard dogleg right that’s not all that difficult but required a bit of strategy. A straight 3-wood would keep you out of the trees, but leave you with a 200-yard shot to an elevated green guarded by bunkers. He had an 8-iron into it during his practice round. 
Burgess went with driver and hit it straight but through the dogleg. He punched back into the fairway to 70 yards, hit his third shot to 10 feet and missed the putt. He played it the same way in regulation, only there he got up and down for his par to preserve the 68 that looked to be a lock until a player in the final group came in with the fifth 68 of the day.
“I’m going to be bummed if I don’t get in,” he said. “You get that close, golly, that’s the worst outcome you could possibly have. It’s no different than missing the playoff by one, but I’m going to say I’m hopeful of getting in and getting a shot and if it doesn’t happen I’ll be bummed.
Still, it was the first time in a while Burgess, a former college player and mini-tour pro, has been in that type of pressure situation. He said it was a “good” feeling.
“It’s been a minute since I’ve been in any kind of situation like that; it was good,” he said. “I was a little nervous. You want to play good. You don’t want to go out there and shoot 80.
“I didn’t drive six hours to come up here and goof off. I didn’t want to come up here and not do well. Then I assure you everybody would say why did you go all the way there for.”

Cover photo of Garrett Burgess from the Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational by B.J. Franklin

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