AUGUSTA, Ga. – Steven Fox got a peek at Phil Mickelson’s little black book for Augusta and called it phenomenal. For an amateur who has seen the place a dozen times, having a three-time champion share his short-game secrets is sacred stuff.
“He would show me putts that nobody knows about really but Phil,” said Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion. Mickelson didn’t just tell Fox to “be smart,” he showed him how to be smart, explaining where to miss in his Augusta debut. Fox played a practice round with Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner on Saturday. It was a fantastic warmup for his Thursday date with reigning Masters champ Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter.
Fox, 22, earned his way into the field with a U.S. Amateur victory that stretched 37 holes against Cal’s Michael Weaver. It hasn’t exactly been a dream run since then, however, as Fox tried to tweak his swing in response to “what people said.”
“I just wanted to get better at ball‑striking and instead, you know, it brought me down and made me worse of a player,” he said.
His Chattanooga coach Mark Guhne took him aside and ...
AUGUSTA, Ga. – How does a player – especially an amateur making his Masters debut - arrange a practice round with Tiger Woods at Augusta National? Just ask. It worked for T.J. Vogel, the U.S. Amateur Public Links champion.
Vogel set up the pairing with Woods when he saw him at Augusta National two weekends before the Masters began, scheduling it for the following weekend. When Vogel returned to Augusta National and saw Woods on the driving range, “I went up to him, introduced myself and was like, 'You ready?'
“He said, ‘Let’s do it. We have to wait for Strick (Steve Stricker), though.’ I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity. It’s once-in-a lifetime.”
Woods’ advice to Vogel? “He told me to be patient and slow down,” Vogel said. “The week goes by very fast.” Vogel said he’s been hitting his clubs “ridiculously far” because he’s so excited for the week.
Vogel played with Stricker again Tuesday in a foursome that also included Fred Couples and Jim Furyk. A patron asked Vogel on the 18th tee, “Are you beating these old guys?” Stricker holed a 50-foot birdie putt ...
NAPLES, Fla. Nathan Kimsey captured the Terra Cotta Invitational on April 7 at Naples (Fla.) National Golf Club. It was a tough battle between Kimsey and 36-hole co-leader Robby Shelton, as nobody in the groups in front could pose a serious charge.
Kimsey and Shelton bogeyed the par-3 17th after both players missed the green on the 183-yard hole and stood at the 18th tied. Kimsey's par was enough to do the trick, as Shelton suffered another bogey, and a 54-hole total of 4-under 212 gave Kimsey the title.
To say Kimsey was warmed up coming into the Terra Cotta and due for a victory would be an understatement.
Kimsey, 20, is a member of the prestigious 2013 English squad and represented his country in the Eisenhower Trophy in Australia in January. Kimsey and his teammates also played a number of major individual events like the Australian Amateur (round of 32) and Master of the Amateurs (T-20) and several prestigious regional events during the same trip. He was runner-up in both the Lake Macquarie Amateur in Australia and the Avondale Medal Play, both top-level events at beautiful courses. In March, Kimsey represented England at the European Nations Cup.
The 16th annual Georgia Cup tees off Thursday at the Lakeside Course at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, Ga. The event is an 18-hole match between the reigning U.S. Amateur and British Amateur champions in advance of their appearances at the Masters.
U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox and Alan Dunbar, the 2012 British Amateur winner, will face each other in this year's Georgia Cup. Sharing the stage with the two golfers will be Hall of Famer Billy Casper, who will serve as the honorary captain.
The two players are tied for 13th in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Rankings.
Last year, 2011 British Amateur champion Bryden Macpherson knocked off U.S. Amateur winner Kelly Kraft to break a streak of victories for the U.S. Amateur winners.
Many big names have participated in The Georgia Cup, including Sergio Garcia, Ryan Moore, Ricky Barnes, Edoardo Mollinari, Matteo Manassero, Peter Uihlein and Matt Kuchar, the inaugural winner of the event.
Seventy-eight players, including many of the nation’s top juniors and mid-amateurs, will play the Terra Cotta Invitational on April 5-7 at Naples (Fla.) National Golf Club.
Thirteen AJGA All-Americans, including five first-teamers, are in the field, led by top-ranked junior Jim Liu. The Stanford-bound New York native recently tied the Country Club of Charleston's competitive course record with a 63 in the second round of the Azalea Invitational. He’ll be joined by No. 2 Robby Shelton, No. 4 Cameron Champ, No. 6 Brad Dalke, No. 7 Tae Wan Lee and No. 10 Jack Maguire.
Beau Hossler and Andy Zhang, who became household names to golf fans at last year’s U.S. Open, and U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up Garrett Rank of Canada are also among the contestants.
Other top players include England's Nathan Kimsey, who's No. 19 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Player Rankings; mid-am Bobby Leopold, who made the Round of 16 at the past two U.S. Amateurs; 2005 U.S. Mid-Am winner Kevin Marsh and Porter Cup winner Richy Werenski of Georgia Tech.
Matt Kuchar, Casey Wittenberg, Peter Uihlein, Bud Cauley, Justin Thomas and Emiliano Grillo are notable past champions of ...
Two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Hideki Matsuyama announced he will turn pro next month, according to Japanese media reports. Matsuyama, who made the cut in the past two Masters, is scheduled to make his pro debut at next month’s Token Homemate Cup on April 18-21 in Nagoya, Japan.
Matsuyama already has won on the Japan Tour, the first amateur to do so since Ryo Ishikawa. Matsuyama was the low amateur at the 2011 Masters (T-27) and finished T-54 last year. He’s No. 156 in the Official World Golf Ranking, eighth-best among Japanese players.
Matsuyama played six Japan Tour events last year and finished in the top 10 four times, including two runners-up. He was second to Luke Donald at last year’s Dunlop Phoenix.
Matsuyama is No. 3 in the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
The Azalea Invitational, considered the official kickoff of the amateur golf season, took over headlines across the country this weekend as one of the year’s top fields took aim at The Country Club of Charleston.
Torrential rain in the third round made the course unplayable, forcing the tournament committee to shorten the event to 36 holes. The victory, however, was still meaningful for Clemson-bound Austin Langdale.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “It feels weird with the last shots hit on Friday, but it’s a great feeling. To look at the names on the locker room wall and see Webb Simpson and names like that, it’s pretty cool to have my name next to last year’s U.S. Open champ.”
Langdale held the lead after the first two days of play and was declared the winner Sunday. He opened play Thursday with a 5-under 66 and shot 69 Friday to take a two-shot lead into the weekend.
Scott Harvey, a top mid-amateur from North Carolina, finished alone in second place at after his second-round 67. Will Long, another junior, finished in third place after back-to-back rounds of 69 to open the event. Jim Liu, who fired ...
Steven Fox, the U.S. Amateur champion, made his second PGA Tour start of the year, missing the cut in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill with rounds of 78-81. Fox, 22, a senior at Chattanooga, also missed the cut earlier this year in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. His next appearance on Tour will come at the April 11-14 Masters.
Thoughts on the week?
I was really looking forward to this week. I was hitting it well, and I got out there and made too many mistakes, too many mental errors. I need to learn how to play golf again. I struck the ball solid, putting was streaky, but I thought going into the week that I was ready to go, and I just didn’t play anywhere near where I wanted to. I didn’t drive the ball well all week. At least at Augusta National, you can hit it a little bit of everywhere.
What are your thoughts on your upcoming Masters appearance after this week’s play?
I still feel confident. I like Augusta National. I’ve played well out there (Fox estimates he has played eight practice rounds). I’m still excited ...
The Azalea Amateur was shortened to 36 holes on Sunday, and Austin Langdale of Townville, S.C., was declared the winner. Langdale, a Clemson signee, finished two shots ahead of North Carolina mid-amateur Scott Harvey.
Langdale opened with rounds of 66-69 at the Country Club of Charleston to get to 7-under 135. A three-hour rain delay during Round 3 prevented the players at the top of the leaderboard from finishing that round. The tournament was then shortened to 36 holes.
“It’s pretty cool,” Langdale said of his victory. “It feels weird with the last shots hit on Friday but it’s a great feeling. To look at the names on the locker room wall and see Webb Simpson and names like that, it’s pretty cool to have my name next to last year’s U.S. Open champ.”
Langdale got up-and-down on all six of the greens he missed in his first-round 66 and took an early lead. On Friday, Langdale managed to keep pace with the surging field.
“I was just trying to put together another solid round,” he said. “I missed a few putts that could have gotten me low again but I didn’t lose ...
ORLANDO, Fla. – It was a rough day on the course for recent Dartmouth graduate Peter Williamson.
In his first PGA Tour start, Williamson shot an 11-over 83 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge during Thursday's first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He was exempt after winning the 2012 Southern Amateur.
Although he shot four strokes higher than any other competitor in the morning wave, Williamson, a participant in the Walker Cup practice session in December, is just taking it all in.
“This is a lot of fun,” he said. “I came out working on a lot of things over the winter to try and get used to that 12-month golf season. But obviously I didn’t have it in the cards today.”
His scorecard consisted of two birdies, seven bogeys, one double bogey and one quadruple bogey.
“I’m just not on top of my game right now,” Williamson said.
He said that playing competitors Ross Fisher and Erik Compton were accommodating to his play. As golfers know, it’s hard to play with someone who is struggling.
“They were both very nice,” Williamson said. “I was a little apologetic today because I didn’t play that well, but ...
The prestigious Azalea Invitational begins Thursday at the historic Country Club of Charleston (S.C.), which will host the U.S. Women’s Amateur later this year. The Azalea, a 72-hole, stroke-play event will conclude Sunday.
Walker Cup candidate Mike Miller, who finished third at the recent Portuguese Amateur, is the highest-ranked player in the event. The Brewster, N.Y., native is No. 6 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com rankings.
Four-time U.S. Mid-Am champ Nathan Smith, who’s weeks away from his fourth Masters appearance, is one of several strong mid-ams in the field. Scott Harvey, Nick Gilliam, Bobby Leopold, Tim Jackson, Patrick Christovich, John Engler, Brady Exber, Kevin Marsh and Walker Cup candidate Todd White also are in the field. White and Smith were the only two mid-amateurs invited to December’s Walker Cup practice session. The USGA has mandated that two mid-ams will be selected to this year’s Walker Cup team.
Leopold advanced to the Round of 16 at both the 2011 and 2012 U.S. Amateurs. Engler, a former PGA Tour player, won the 1997 Azalea while at Clemson. Kevin Marsh is the 2012 California Amateur champion.
The college ranks will be represented by players ...
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Jacksonville freshman Cyril Suk won the Florida Azalea Amateur by one shot after holing an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Osten Waite, the son of former PGA Tour winner Grant Waite, holed out from 90 yards for eagle on the final hole to finish one shot back.
Suk and Waite both shot 69-68 over the first two rounds at Palatka (Fla.) Golf Club. Suk nipped Waite, 65-66, in the final round.
Tyler Hock finished third after a final-round 65.
Here is the updated Palmer Cup Rankings as of March 6. The top six golfers in the new ranking at season's end from both the United States and Europe shall be among the 10 in the selection for each team.
• • •
Rank, Name, Year, School, Percentile
1. Michael Kim, Sophomore, California, 0.9992
2. Trevor Simsby, Junior, Washington, 0.9935
3. Daniel Berger, Sophomore, Florida State, 0.9935
4. Justin Thomas, Sophomore, Alabama, 0.9911
5. Michael Weaver, Junior, California, 0.9863
6. Brinson Paolini, Senior, Duke, 0.9862
7. Jace Long, Senior, Missouri, 0.9839
8. Kevin Penner, Senior, UNLV, 0.9838
9. T.J. Vogel, Senior, Florida, 0.9838
10. Patrick Rodgers, Sophomore, Stanford, 0.9823
11. Yi Keun Chang, Freshman, USC, 0.9822
12. Evan Beck, Senior, Wake Forest, 0.9781
13. James Erkenbeck, Senior, New Mexico, 0.9757
14. Anthony Paolucci, Sophomore, USC, 0.9756
15. Talor Gooch, Junior, Oklahoma State, 0.9756
16. Cody Gribble, Senior, Texas, 0.9739
17. Ollie Schniederjans, Sophomore, Georgia Tech, 0.9724
18. Bobby Wyatt, Junior, Alabama, 0.9797
19. M.J. Maguire, Sophomore, North Florida, 0.9699
20. Trey Mullinax, Junior, Alabama, 0.9698
21. T.J ...
Remember the name Reeve Whitson. The 23-year-old Irishman might just play himself into this year’s Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team.
Whitson beat experienced Englishman Neil Raymond 4 and 3 in the 36-hole final of the Spanish Amateur Championship at La Manga Golf Club in Southern Spain. It could be the start of Whitson’s journey to the National Golf Links in Southampton, New York, September 7-8 to help GB&I try to retain the Walker Cup.
Raymond was the favorite to defeat Whitson in Spain. The 28-year-old Englishman successfully defended the English Amateur Stroke Play Championship (the Brabazon Trophy) last year at Walton Heath. He won the 2012 Titleist & FootJoy Order of Merit as the leading English amateur, and represented his country at the World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey.
Despite Raymond’s pedigree, Whitson was two up at lunch, and never faltered in the second 18 to take the title.
Barring a total collapse mid-season, expect Raymond to represent GB&I in this year’s Curtis Cup. Other Englishmen expected to bid for a place in the 10-man GB&I team include Raymond’s Eisenhower teammates Craig Hinton and Garrick Porteous. Throw in reigning British Boys’ Champion ...
In an effort to attract more U.S. Amateur participants, the Cardinal Amateur dates have been moved. Traditionally, the tournament is played the week before the U.S. Amateur, but the final round of the Cardinal falls on the reporting date for the U.S. Am.
The 2013 Cardinal Amateur will be played three weeks earlier than normal. It will be conducted July 19-21 insitead of Aug. 2-4. The event will be played at the Pete Dye-designed Cardinal Golf & Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Past Cardinal Amateur participants include Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, David Duval, Bill Haas, and Tim Clark, who still holds the tournament record of 15 under par.
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