Connor Schmidt captures WPGA Amateur at Oakmont
Connor Schmidt got his revenge at Oakmont Country Club on Wednesday but needed some help to do so.
A year ago, Schmidt lost a five-hole playoff to Tyrone pro Jimmy Gillam at the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Open Championship at Oakmont.
Schmidt, 21, played three solid rounds at the 119th WPGA Amateur Championship, shot even-par 71 on the final day and watched Greensburg native Mark Goetz struggle on his final four holes.
When the dust settled, the Peters Township native, who finished 4-over, saw his name atop of the leaderboard.
Goetz, who will be a junior at West Virginia, had a seemingly comfortable lead with four holes left. But he found out no lead is safe at Oakmont.
The Kiski School grad had bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 then a quadruple-bogey eight on No. 18 after hitting his tee shot into the practice range to the right of the fairway.
“I didn’t really know what was going on,” Schmidt said. “When I looked at the leaderboard after 16, I saw Mark was even. I didn’t change my approach the final few holes because I knew the finish with tough.
“After I signed my scorecard, I heard Mark was having problems on No. 18. That’s a tough way to lose because he and Palmer (Jackson) are such good golfers.”
Jackson, Goetz and the Pittsburgh Field Club’s Jack Katarincic tied for second at 6-over.
“I really didn’t play poorly until the end,” Goetz said. “You’re going to have your bad holes at Oakmont. I just had a horrible swing on No. 18.”
Jackson, who began the day leading by two shots, caught a bad break on No. 3 when his ball was ruled out of bounds, and he ended up with a double-bogey six. He never recovered.
“If my ball was out, it was by an inch or so,” Jackson said. “I felt it should have been ruled in, but I had a lot of holes to make that mistake up.”
Schmidt said he was with his grandparents after his round. He was trying to take it all in after playing three good rounds.
“I was kind of in a similar spot last year where I kind of finished badly. So I know how they feel,” he said. “I did play great, and walking off No. 18 I was proud of myself and how I played.
“I didn’t feel comfortable with my putting, but overall I played a smart game. I was a little excited to get revenge on his course.”
Schmidt had two birdies and two bogeys during his round.
Goetz took the loss well.
“I played good golf all day,” he said. “I was pretty jacked up all day, and I was worried that I’d hit over on No. 16 and No. 17. I hit 2-iron in the bunker. I’ve had some tough finishes in the past. I just have to man up.”
The best round of the day was by David Brown, who shot a 4-under 67 and finished fifth at 7-over.
Tying for sixth were Latrobe’s Brady Pevarnik and Indiana’s Kyle Grube at 8-over.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .