2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Preview: There's a first time for everything

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Beginning May 2 at Olympic Club in San Francisco, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will kick off its inaugural tournament, and teeing off on the prestigious club's two courses will be a slew of unique and intriguing pairings.

From former USGA champions to top- ranked high-schoolers, the 256-player field should be fun to watch. In fact, the final two days will be televised on Fox Sports 1, the first of many USGA events to be covered by the Fox Sports networks in 2015 and beyond.

Here is a look at some of the notable teams headed to Northern California this weekend:

Todd White
Nathan Smith

Todd White, the reigning Azalea Invitational champion, and four-time U.S. Mid- Amateur winner Nathan Smith will form the mid-amateur super-pair. White himself has done well at recent U.S. Mid-Amateurs, reaching the semifinals in 2012 and 2014. Smith's most recent USGA win came in 2012, though Smith and White did not match up against one another in the semifinals. White's win at this year's Azalea was historic as he was the first mid-amateur player to win the event since 2000.

Mike McCoy
Gene Elliott

Another high-touted mid-amateur team will represent West Des Moines, Iowa as Mike McCoy and Gene Elliott will team up. McCoy will be fresh off his third Coleman Invitational title, winning by seven shots for his third victory at Seminole in the last five years. Elliott's last big win came at the 2013 Crump Cup where he defeated Matthew Sughrue of Arlington, Virginia. Elliott is also a former Coleman winner, taking the crown in 2007 and 2009. McCoy is a USGA winner, claiming his elusive U.S. Mid-Amateur title in 2013. The Iowa duo will be paired with Phil Mickelson's brother Tim and his playing partner Jake Yount in the 36- hole qualifying stage.

Scott Harvey
Todd Mitchell

Rounding out the mid-amateur features are the group of Scott Harvey and Todd Mitchell. Harvey, who is currently the raining champion of four national events, including the U.S. Mid- Amateur and South American Amateur, will join Mitchell, the 2008 U.S. Mid- Amateur runner-up from Bloomington, Illinois. Harvey and Mitchell qualified in St. Louis at the renowned Bellerive Country Club.

Sam Burns
Austin Connelly

The most fascinating group in the field might be the team of Sam Burns and Austin Connelly — the two top-ranked junior golfers in the nation. Both Burns and Connelly are high-school seniors and will join their respective SEC universities this fall, with Burns headed for LSU and Connelly for Arkansas. Connelly fought through a playoff in January to win the Jones Cup, just a year after he was on the losing end of a playoff at the same tournament. Burns' best amateur finish in 2014 was a runner-up showing at the Sunnehanna, but the Shreveport, La. has countless junior accomplishments like the 2014 Junior PGA Championship, which earned him an exemption into the 2015 Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour.

Bryson DeChambeau
Austin Smotherman

Southern Methodist University teammates Bryson DeChambeau and Austin Smotherman, both from Northern California, will pair up at Olympic Club to represent their Mustang team. The collegiate juniors both competed this month at the Terra Cotta Invitational in Florida where DeChambeau tied for third and Smotherman tied for 26th. Smotherman has USGA experience, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links and qualifying for last year's U.S. Amateur. DeChambeau also played at Atlantic Athletic Club in 2014 where he reached the round of 16. DeChambeau's most notable victory came in 2013 at the Trans-Miss Championship.

Those are just five of the 128 teams set to descend upon The Olympic Club this Saturday, where 36 holes of stroke play qualifying will give way to the top 32 teams qualifying for match play. May 6 will conclude the inaugural event, with semifinal and championship rounds taking place on Thursday on the Lake Course.

For a full list of groups and pairings, please click here.

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 5.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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