Newly minted professional golfer Tyler Merkel from Fort Myers, Florida, captured the 3rd annual United States Match Play Championship in strong fashion, as he defeated third-seeded Nyasha Mauchaza 2 & 1 in the championship match played December 5 at Indian Hills Golf Course in Fort Pierce, Florida. Merkel, whose swing coach is USGTF Master Teaching Professional Michael Wolf, defeated a field of 18 finalists winning 4 matches on his road to victory. Merkel, who qualified as the #9 seed after stroke play qualifying, defeated #8 seed Frank Lostaglio, top-seeded Dominic Foti, and thirteenth seed, Michael O’Connor who scored major upsets before being eliminated in the semi-finals, prior to the final match. The championship match featured Mauchaza picking up a 2-up lead through the first 4 holes but Merkel fought back strongly, winning 5 of the next 10 holes to take a 3-up lead with 4 holes to play. After a halve on #16, Mauchaza stuffed his tee shot on the par-3 seventeenth hole to one foot for a conceded birdie. Merkel, needing a twelve-foot putt to win match, calmly rolled it in to claim victory and the $10,000 1st place check. Mauchaza, who is originally from the country of Zimbabwe, now makes his home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He will be playing on the 2015 Tour, and his runner-up finish earned him $1,000.00. Merkel, originally from Evansville, Indiana graduated from Ball State University earlier this year and turned pro shortly thereafter. Wolf, a longtime USGTF member, has been Merkel’s only swing coach since he started playing in the 8th grade. The United States Match Play Championship is sponsored by the United States Golf Teachers Federation, and is the only national championship match play event open to both professional and amateur golfers. Next year’s championship is scheduled for the week of November 30-December 4 at Indian Hills Golf Course.
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