Hilton Head teacher White ousted in semifinals at US Mid-Amateur

mmccombs@islandpacket.comSeptember 13, 2012 

Todd White's run at the U.S. Mid-Amateur came to an end Wednesday at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.

After downing Casey Boyns, 2 and 1, in the quarterfinals, the Hilton Head Island High School history teacher lost, 1 up, to 25-year-old Canadian Garrett Rank in the semifinals.

"There's a tremendous amount of disappointment," White said.

While Rank had breezed through the first couple of match play rounds -- he had not had to play the 17th or 18th holes until Wednesday -- White kept it close, never trailing by more than a hole.

"I look at it in a couple of different ways," White said. "Both of us played really well. That kind of buffers the disappointment. But not reaching your ultimate goal, that really hurts."

When the pair came to the 18th hole, their match was all square. But Rank was just shy of the green after his second shot, and White's tee shot found some nasty rough.

"I asked my caddie, can I put a club on it or do I need a weed-eater," White told "He said, you probably need a weed-eater."

Ultimately, White's long birdie try was short and Rank's birdie putt was good, ending the match.

In today's 36-hole final, Rank will face three-time champion Nathan Smith, who eliminated two-time winner Tim Jackson, 3 and 1, in the semifinals. Rank, an Ontario Hockey League referee, will be looking to become both the youngest winner and the first winner from outside the United States.

"I'm almost 45 years old," White said. "And the young man that beat me just turned 25 three days before the tournament started. But that's no consolation. You lose and it hurts."

Despite the loss, it's been a stellar year of golf for White. He tied for seventh at the Azalea Amateur in April, finished in the top 10 in the Northeast Amateur, reached the Round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur and reached the semifinals in the U.S. Mid-Amateur.

"It's been a great 2012 thus far," White said. "It's not by chance. I work hard. I work hard to stay in shape. It's not a hobby to me. The good Lord blessed me with great ability and it's allowed me to meet wonderful people and go to some amazing places."

And expect White to miss some more classroom time the next two falls. As a result of reaching the semifinals, White is guaranteed a spot in the next two U.S. Mid-Ams.

"I hope people (at Hilton Head Island High) understand, I'm not out here playing 18 holes and drinking beer with my buddies," White said. "I'm playing for a national championship. I'm hoping they'll be proud."

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