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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Nathan Smith tallies two match wins

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Texas -- Nathan Smith remained on pace to win a record fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship with a pair of match victories Tuesday in the 31st annual tournament at Shadow Hawk Golf Club.

Smith, of Pittsburgh, is also trying to become the first player to win three Mid-Amateur titles in a row. Smith has won a record 15 consecutive matches in U.S. Mid-Amateur play.

Smith had six birdies over the final seven holes in his early morning round to beat Billy Jackson of The Woodlands, Texas, 5 and 4.

He returned in the afternoon for a 2 and 1 victory over Nicholas Biesecker of Staunton, Va.

Joining Smith in Wednesday's quarterfinals is medalist Mike McCaffrey of League City, Texas. McCaffrey scrambled from near defeat to three victories on Tuesday.

First, he finished off his first-round match that started on Monday with a 1-up victory on the second playoff hole over Chad Bolt of Bellefontaine, Ohio.

McCaffrey then moved on to a 3 and 2 victory over Chris Congdon of Foxborough, Mass., and 7 and 6 over Anthony Barrera of San Jose, Calif., to earn a place in the quarterfinal round.

Sixty-year-old Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C. lost his second match of the day, 2 and 1 to Mike Stamberger of Plainfield, N.J.

Simson was trying to become the oldest player to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur. George Zahringer of New York won the event at age 49 in 2002.

Smith won titles in 2003, 2009 and last year. Smith and Jay Sigel (1983, 1985, 1987) of Berwyn, Pa., are the only three-time winners of the event. Smith was a member of the 2011 Walker Cup team.