LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Three-time champion Nathan Smith advanced to the championship match in the U.S. Mid-Amateur, winning two matches Wednesday at Conway Farms Golf Club.
The 34-year-old Smith, from Pittsburgh, will face 25-year-old Canadian Garrett Rank in the 36-hole final, with the winner in line to get the Masters spot traditionally awarded to the champion.
Smith, the 2003, 2009 and 2010 winner in the event for players 25 and older, beat Corby Segal of Santa Clarita, Calif., 1-up in the morning quarterfinals, and topped 1994 and 2001 winner Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn., 3 and 1 in the semifinals.
Rank, an Ontario Hockey League referee, beat Matthew Mattare of New York 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals, and edged Todd White of Spartanburg, S.C., 1-up in the semifinals.
Smith is attempting to break a tie with Jay Sigel for the tournament victory record.
"That would be unbelievable," Smith said. "Obviously, I am a long way from that. I'm going to have my hands full (against Rank). I am going to have to play great just to stay with him.
"I'm honored now to have three, with the company I am in (with Jay Sigel). It's a fun event and I have enjoyed playing it through the years. But anytime you can say something that nobody else did, that would be great. This championship means a lot to me because I care so much about amateur golf."