Uihlein keeps rolling at Dixie Amateur
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Here’s a holiday riddle for you: Name the only college golfer who’s delivering more than Santa Claus lately.
Easy, right? Answer: Oklahoma State sophomore Peter Uihlein, who won again Tuesday, beating his good friend Mu Hu on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff at the Dixie Amateur, finishing up a Florida Amateur Slam of sorts.
Over the past couple of years, Uihlein also has won the Florida Azalea, Terra Cotta Invitational, St. Augustine Invitational and New Year’s Invitational.
“It’s a good state; I think I’ll stick around,” said Uihlein, a Massachusetts native who lives in Orlando, Fla., following his high school days at the IMG/David Leadbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he met Hu and they became friends.
Uihlein finished the 54-hole, weather-shortened event at 11-under 205 and was the only player to shoot all three rounds in the 60s (68-68-69). Hu followed a first-round 72 with rounds of 66-67 to tie Uihlein in regulation, but hit his drive on the playoff hole, the 18th at Heron Bay GC in Coral Springs, Fla., into the water – allowing Uihlein an easy path to victory.
“I think Mu had been eating or something,” said Uihlein, who made par to win, topping a strong Dixie field that also included Alabama’s Bud Cauley (T-8), UCLA’s Gregor Main (T-3), OSU teammate Morgan Hoffmann (41st) and several other top collegians.
“Mu went right, into the water,” Uihlein said, “and then I just aimed left of left.”
Not that everything hasn’t gone right recently for Uihlein, the No. 1 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and No. 2 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com Player Rankings, since the end to his freshman year at Oklahoma State.
After fighting through a freshman slump and finally cracking the Cowboys' deep lineup late in the season, Uihlein, a two-time American Junior Golf Association Player of the Year, finished second at the NCAA South Central Regional and tied for 18th in the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championship, where he also won his first-round match in the Cowboys’ early exit to Georgia.
He followed with a solid summer that seemed to get better every week, ending with a quarterfinal loss at the U.S. Amateur, which was enough to earn him a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team. Once at Merion, Uihlein went 4-0 for the U.S. and earned the clinching point in the Americans’ steamrolling of Great Britain & Ireland.
Two of those points came in the foursomes sessions while paired with mid-amateur Nathan Smith, with whom Uihlein will team yet again in a couple of weeks at the 2010 Copa de las Americas, a biennial amateur team competition for countries in North, Central and South America. Uihlein and Smith leave for Argentina on Jan. 2.
“I’m going to enjoy playing with Nathan again,” said Uihlein, who had taken some time off lately due to Thanksgiving break and finals at OSU. During the fall season, Uihlein won the Ping/Golfweek Preview and the Gifford Collegiate at CordeValle.
“I was a bit rusty this week,” said Uihlein, “but this is nice leading up to Argentina.”