White, 44, advances to match play at U.S. Mid-Am

Todd White watches his putt at No. 14 during the Round of 32 at the 112th U. S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Todd White could be the poster boy for the working class mid-amateur golfer.

Unlike the many whose day jobs are within the realm of finances, insurance, real estate, business owner or such executive type positions, White earns his paychecks in the classroom.

He’s in his second year as a history teacher at Hilton Head Island (S.C.) High School. Prior to that, he spent 12 years as a teacher and assistant football coach at Dorman High School in Spartanburg, S.C.

And, at age 44, he continues to be one pretty darn good amateur golfer.

Earlier this year, White tied for seventh at the Azalea Amateur, tied for 10th at the Northeast Amateur -- a tournament he won in 1990 -- was medalist at his U.S. Amateur qualifier, tied for sixth at the South Carolina State Amateur and advanced to the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club.

So far he’s keeping that roll going at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in the Chicago area. After opening with a 1-under 70 at Conway Farms Golf Club, White followed with a 1-over 72 Sunday at Knollwood to easily qualify for the 64-player match play field at even-par 142.

“I didn’t strike the ball nearly as well today as I did yesterday,” White said. “I sank a 30-footer for birdie at No. 9 to turn in 1 under and after making par on the first three holes on the back pretty much just told myself not to do anything stupid and just try to put myself in a good position for match play.

“These are two great, but difficult, courses and you have to be patient and play smart and I think I’ve pretty much done that the last two days,” White said.

For White, this is his second U.S. Mid-Amateur appearance, his only other being 2003 where he lost in the second round of match play.

He’s played in four U.S. Amateurs with his best showing also coming the 2003 when he advanced to the Sweet 16. He will represent South Carolina next week for the fourth time in the USGA State Team Championship.

“For some reason I seem to do pretty well in USGA events,” White said. “I really enjoy competing in them and it makes it even better when you can play well.”

Over the years, White has become a bit of a legend within his home state of South Carolina. He played in college at Furman University, graduating in 1990. After winning the Northeast Am and South Carolina State Am in 1990 and the South Carolina State Match Play Championship in 1991, he turned professional.

Over the next 10 years, it wasn’t very pretty. He got into a handful of PGA Tour events and a few in what is now the Web.com Tour tournaments, and qualified for the 1995 U.S. Open, where he missed the cut. Otherwise, he pretty much bounced around the various mini-tours.

“I was pretty much a minnow out there,” White said. “I finally decided enough was enough.”

White regained his amateur status in 2001. In 2004, he won the South Carolina State Mid-Am and the State Match Play Championship, which he also won in 2010.

He was inducted into the Furman Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, was named South Carolina GA and Carolinas GA Player of the Year in 2004, and repeated that South Carolina honor in 2010.

Last year, an injury to his left hand pretty much left him on the sideline.

“I hardly played at all,” he said. “Pretty much I put myself on the shelve for a while and just let is rest and heal.”

Obviously by the success he’s been having this year, the hand is well rested and well healed.

“I’ve been playing well this year and it’s been a lot of fun,” White said. “You have to be 25 to be a mid-am and that’s almost 20 younger than me. I guess I consider myself an upper mid-am.

“I really work had to stay in shape, not only for golf but for quality of life in general,” White said. “I know if I’m going to compete at this level (of amateur golf), I have to maintain my fitness.

“The thing about it is the golf ball and the clubs have no idea how old you are.”

If they did, the way he has been playing, it would be a good bet that White’s ball and clubs just might think he’s in a time warp from 20 years past.

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