McGatha scored eight birdies in a nine-hole stretch to come from behind and beat good friend Matt Rogers 4-and-3 in the quarterfinals of the Calhoun County Match Play Championship.
McGatha, the No. 3 seed, was two down after five holes when he made his charge. He birdied six holes in a row to take the lead.
“Thank God I was on my game,” McGatha said. “For Matt to shoot 4 under from the blue tees, if I didn't step up my game I was going to get my butt beat."
Rogers, the No. 6 seed, had the hot hand early with birdies on three of his first five holes. McGatha turned the tables with birdies on 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. He bogeyed the par-3 12th, then birdied 13 and 14 before closing out the match on 15.
“I knew he'd be hard to beat him out here,” Rogers said. “That was a heck of a string of holes. I couldn’t keep up. That was impressive.”
Together, the two played their 15 holes in a best-ball 12 under par. Last weekend, they teamed to win the Buddy Moore Memorial Scramble.
McGatha now plays No. 10 seed Grant Hockman in one semifinal. Neither of Hockman’s two matches have gone past the 15th hole.
Top-seeded defending champion Gary Wigington awaits the winner of No. 12 Clay Calkins and No. 13 Gary Wilborn for the other semifinal. Calkins and Wilborn are scheduled to play today.
Al Muskewitz covers golf for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.