As the only player to card all three rounds under par this week at Bakersfield CC, Nick Geyer held off two past champions on the final day to secure the 40th Mid-Amateur championship at Bakersfield CC.
“This has been one I’ve been thinking about for a while,” said Geyer. “It’s early in the season, so the date is always good and some of my best golfing buddies have won this tournament. I’m really, really excited.”
This is Geyer’s first individual SCGA title since he took home the 2016 Public Links Championship, and one that surely did not come easy. Tasked with erasing a two-stroke deficit established by 2021 Mid-Amateur champion Stephen Hale after 36 holes on Monday, Geyer knew he was in for an intense 18 holes heading into the final round, especially with 2020 Mid-Amateur champion Torey Edwards on their heels.
Hale’s championship-low second round 6-under 66 helped him grab the overnight lead at five-under, while Edwards sat in third place at two-under. Geyer joined them in the final pairing at three-under. Geyer shot an even 36 on the front and found himself deadlocked with Hale, who posted a pair of bogeys, at three-under as they made the turn.
“Being patient was really, really helpful this week,” said Geyer. “Torey and Stephen are excellent players so it was a good group and certainly a little back and forth.”
Geyer took advantage of the scoring opportunity that the 515-yard par-5 eleventh hole presented, sticking his third shot inside of ten feet and rolling home a go-ahead birdie. His lead extended after Hale bogeyed No. 14. Geyer remained consistent with pars then put the finishing touches with a birdie on the par-4 eighteenth, impressively sticking his approach shot to a couple feet after an errant tee shot.
As Hale and Edwards fell out of contention, Ryan Slater put together a charge on the back nine that nearly caught Geyer. Slater, the youngest player in the Mid-Amateur field, posted four birdies to get himself back in the red at one-under and two strokes behind Geyer as Slater headed to the eighteenth tee box. Though Slater bogeyed the final hole to finish in third place, one stroke behind Hale’s runner-up finish.
“I knew if I could be patient, I’d hang around. Maybe not win, but be close and I was patient enough,” said Geyer. “I’ve got a really supportive core around me…Not as much practice as I’d like and not as much play as I’d like but I think the beautiful thing about Mid-Am golf is everybody’s got a job out here. I’m not the only one out here that still has to go to work tomorrow morning.”
The win for Geyer means a 10-year exemption to the Mid-Amateur Championship, an exemption to the SCGA Amateur Championship and an exemption to the California Amateur Championship.