My Year in Golf: Cassie Stein

Editor’s note: For our entire “My Year in Golf” series, click here.

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My year started in Las Vegas at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters and ended with the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational in Orlando, Fla., with many college and amateur tournaments in between.

Along the way many interesting stories jumped out, including Alabama winning its second consecutive national championship and a “Who is this guy?” U.S. Amateur champion in Gunn Yang, but the most interesting storyline for me was Golf Canada’s national team dominating amateur golf in 2014.

You have to give credit where credit is due and my friends to the north earned that this year.

Now, I’m originally from Lewiston, N.Y., a small town of approximately 3,000 and just a mere 5-minute drive from the Canadian border – some even say I am Canadian – so, that’s why I was so excited to write this year-end column, to give my friends to the north a little more acknowledgement to end the year.

At the end of the amateur summer in 2013, people had an idea of who was on Team Canada as Corey Conners advanced to the U.S. Amateur semifinals and Taylor Pendrith won the Porter Cup.

But the question remained, how good was their 2014 going to be?

It turned out magnificent.

In 2014, the team consisted of Conners, Pendrith, Adam Svensson, Garrett Rank and Chris Hemmerich.

Whatever tournament leaderboard you looked at, you can see one or many of their names near the top – whether it was an amateur tournament or pro tournament.

Breaking down the players top finishes in 2014:

Conners was a finalist at the U.S. Amateur, he tied for eighth at the World Amateur Team Championships, tied for fourth at the Canadian Men’s Amateur, was a finalist at the North and South Amateur and won the Jones Cup in February.

Pendrith won the Monroe Invitational in June and then tied for 43rd at the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open, placed second at the Canadian Men’s Amateur and made it to match play at the U.S. Am before jumping on Conners’ bag to help him advance to the finals.

(Not only does the team travel together from tournament to tournament, but the camaraderie between the players is astounding. Pendrith jumping on Conners’ bag at the U.S. Am – awesome stuff. Props to head coach Derek Ingram and the guys for making this a team atmosphere in an individual sport.)

Svensson, who plays golf for Division II Barry University, ended his sophomore year by winning eight (!!) times, won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top Division II player, finished second at the Monroe Invitational, tied for eighth at the Canadian Men’s Amateur and finished seventh at the World Amateur Team Championship.

Rank won the Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship – earning a spot in the 2015 RBC Canadian Open – finished sixth at the Canadian Men’s Amateur, tied for second at the Players Amateur and third at the Monroe Invitational, and added two more top-20 finishes at the Northeast Amateur and the Porter Cup.

Hemmerich had a top-five finish at the Monroe Invitational before playing in the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open and turning professional.

In 2014 all five made headlines at some point throughout the year. There’s another little something Ingram should be proud of.

Read more about Ingram right here.

He said this at the U.S. Amateur and it stuck in my mind: “I honestly believe that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. To me, coaching is about a relationship between a player and coach and it takes time to build that relationship or else there will be no coaching or learning in that. I spend a lot of time building that relationship and it’s all about timing. It’s not about knowledge.”

For 2015, the team will bring back two of four members, Conners and Svensson, while adding Houston junior Blair Hamilton and Arkansas signee Austin Connelly. Connelly has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada. With Connelly choosing to play on Canada’s national team, he gives up his right to play for the U.S. in future Walker Cups and possibly the Olympics (depending on what country he decides to play for.)

It’s safe to say that Canada is going to continue to bring the heat in many years to come.

Look out 2015, something is in the water to the north.

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