Thad Hudgens Captures 33rd Mid-Amateur
Thad Hudgens defeated Don Bell, 2 & 1, in the final match to win the 33rd Mid-Amateur Championship held at The Loxahatchee Club, in Jupiter, October 9-12.
Thad Hudgens, of Longwood, earned the 8th seed after 36-holes of stroke play qualifying to advance to match play. In the first match, Hudgens went head to head against number 25 seed, Derek Camps. Hudgens defeated Camps 6 & 5 and continued to the Round of 16 matches where he would win again over Michael Weeks. In Hudgens’ third match he faced two time Champion, Steve Carter and once again moved forward to the Semifinals. In the Semifinals, Hudgens played strong against Mike Riley and posted a 6 & 5 win. Hudgens, last year’s Mid-Amateur runner-up, moved onto the Final match ready for redemption.
Don Bell, number one in the points rankings for Player of the Year, moved on to match play from the qualifying stroke play as the 6th seed. In the Round of 32, Bell, of Port Orange, stuck out a tough match of 21 holes to defeat Greg Eckels, of Tampa. Bell’s second match was against Edward Ortega where he moved forward with a 3 & 2 win. Bell defeated Rick Woulfe in the Round of 8 and went to the Semifinals to face Jon Alfieri, the 1999 Mid-Amateur Champion. Bell fired two birdies to seize the win over Alfieri and move straight into the Final match against Thad Hudgens.
The Final Match started with Hudgens 2 up after nine holes. Bell struggled through the front nine with three bogeys, which were defeated by Hudgens’ pars. Hudgens posted a strong birdie on hole number 10 to gain one on Bell, but fell back to 2 up after struggling with a double bogey on hole 11. After Hudgens’ double bogey, Bell went on a winning streak by winning three out of the next four holes to move the match to all square. Hudgens fought back and stood on the par three, 197 yard, number 17 tee box, 1 up. With a five iron in hand, Hudgens landed his shot three feet from the hole and with a trickle forward made a hole-in-one. Bell, having to make a hole-in-one to halve Hudgens, stuck his shot ten feet to the right of the hole, giving Hudgens’ a 2 & 1 victory.
The Mid-Amateur Championship marks Hudgens’ first individual Championship title. He has won several Four-Ball Championship titles, but was never named an individual champion. Hudgens’ Mid-Amateur runner-up finish in 2013 was followed by a Championship victory in 2014.