BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Michael McCoy won the U.S. Mid-Amateur on Thursday for his first USGA title, routing Bill Williamson 8 and 6 in the 36-hole final at the Country Club of Birmingham.
The 50-year-old McCoy, from West Des Moines, Iowa, is the second-oldest winner in the event limited to players 25 and older. Randal Lewis won the 2011 tournament at 54.
"It's a great day for me," said McCoy, playing his 38th USGA event. "And I'm very thrilled to finally have won a championship. I've been trying for a long time. And I've had a lot of friends over the years that have won the championship along the way. They've all encouraged me to kind of keep battling, keep trying. And so that's kind of what I've done. I really chased the dream for a long time. And it kind of came true today."
An insurance agent, McCoy was reinstated as an amateur after a brief pro career following his college days Wichita State. He earned a spot in the Masters with victory.
"When I got dormie, I have to admit it crossed my mind a few times, but I was really trying to stay present," McCoy said.
McCoy was 5-up after the morning 18 holes and was in control throughout. He won the 23rd and 24th holes, the par-4 sixth and par-4 seventh, in the afternoon, to extend his lead to 8 up. McCoy made a pair of two-putt pars while Williamson's mistakes led to consecutive bogeys.
"Mike did what he had to do," said the 36-year-old Williamson, from Cincinnati. "He's such a good player. I wish I would have played a little bit more of my game. I don't know if I would have won, but it probably would have been more competitive."
McCoy used his short game to stay out of the trouble. He got up and down from behind the 27th hole, the 321-yard, par-4 ninth, by pitching from heavy grass to 4 feet to halve hole.
McCoy saved par on the following hole, the par-5 10th, by nearly making a 45-footer with his putter from a closely-mown area. He continued at the next hole when he made a sand save for par from a greenside bunker.
"Putting is one of those things, some weeks you have it and some weeks you don't," McCoy said. "When I stepped foot on the property, everything seemed to feel pretty good, the speed, my hands were soft, and I felt the ball rolling off — coming off the putter nicely."
Williams had 10 bogeys and one double bogey in the final.
"I didn't play as well as I wanted," Williamson said. "I didn't putt as well as I wanted. The greens were tough and the pins were in tough spots. The ball just didn't go in."