Joseph Deraney

Joseph Deraney, who lives in Belden, will play for the U.S. Mid- Amateur title today.

A magical season for Belden’s Joseph Deraney has carried him into today’s finals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur in Colorado.

For the second day in a row, the 36-year-old Deraney, a former Mississippi State golfer, won a pair of matches at the Colorado Golf Club in Aurora on Wednesday.

He defeated Yaroslav Merkulov of New York 2 and 1 in the morning quarterfinal and Jason Schultz of Texas 1 up in the afternoon semifinal.

“I’ve been playing well,” Deraney said. “The main thing is trying to stay consistent.”

The 36-hole match play championship against Australia’s Lukas Michel will be today, starting at 7 a.m. local time.

The 25-year-old Michel defeated seventh-seeded-seeded Stewart Hagestad 2 up in the other semifinal.

“It makes for a very long day,” Deraney said, looking to the challenge of playing 36 holes in one day. “This course plays very differently in the morning compared to the afternoon. As the course dries out, it gets faster, firmer and harder. And it’s set up by the USGA to be a challenge.”

With seedings set up by two rounds of weekend stroke play, only three of the top 10 seeds made it to the Round of 16 on Tuesday – and 12th-seeded Deraney knocked out the best of those, fifth-seeded Paul McNamara. Michel, was seeded 46th.

Winner of the last two Canadian Mid-Amateur tournaments, Deraney moved to Lee County late last year. He’s also the reigning Mississippi Amateur and Tupelo Amateur champion.

“All parts of my game have come into play,” Deraney said. “There are days when I might be struggling in one area and something else is solid. I know I’ll have to play my best in this final.”

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