KIAWAH ISLAND - There could not be a sharper contrast in the resumes of the twofinalists who will meet today for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Kiawah Island Club's Cassique course.
Nathan Smith, 31, of Pittsburgh, is a former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. This is his fifth U.S. Mid-Amateur, and he has played on the U.S. Walker Cup team.
Tim Spitz, 33, is playing in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur; his only other U.S. Golf Association appearance was the 1996 U.S. Amateur, while he was in college at Furman. He did help the Paladins win the 1997 Southern Conference championship.
In Thursday's semifinals, Spitz beat Patrick Carter of Huntington, W.Va., by a 3 and 2 margin. Smith, the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur champ, beat another former Furman golfer, Robert Gerwin of Cincinnati, 1-up.
Smith and Spitz are both aware of that the winner receives an invitation to play in the Masters.
Smith did that in 2004, and said he tries not to get caught up in thoughts of Augusta National.
"I'll just go out and play hard," he said. "It makes it kind of tough, winner take all. I'm playing great, and I'll try to do it again tomorro."
"I think all 4,000 people who fill out (U.S. Mid-Amateur) applications think about it," Spitz said. "It's something special. Each time the thought comes up, I try to kick it out as fast as possible. I'm going to try to do that again tomorrow."