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Top amateur golf moments of 2018, No. 21: Defending titles
Zach Bauchou after each of his Canadian Am victories (Photo illustration)
Zach Bauchou after each of his Canadian Am victories (Photo illustration)

At AmateurGolf.com, we admit to loving the amateur sector of this game for the stories, the depth of the players, the remarkable courses, the history of the tournaments and the sheer love of the game displayed by amateur golfers. As 2018 comes to a close, we’ve gathered the year’s best stories for a countdown to the end of the season. Be sure to come back each day to relive the moments that made amateur golf great this year.

Click here to see the whole list as it is revealed

Winning golf tournaments is an accomplishment at any level, from high school to college to state amateurs to national amateur events and beyond. That said, defending a title is even rarer. That happened twice in 2018.

For Zach Bauchou, it happened outside the U.S. The Oklahoma State senior successfully defended his title Aug. 9 at the Canadian Men’s Amateur. Bauchou became just the third American ever to go back-to-back at the event, and also tied the tournament scoring record with his 18-under total. The record was set in 1970 by Allen Miller.

“I think the feelings are a lot different for me this year,” Bauchou said that week at Duncan Meadows in British Columbia. “Today I was playing to defend, and you have a little difference in responses and I was a lot less nervous today than I was last year, which was the different this year.”

Bauchou’s Canadian Amateur victories stand out as the only major amateur victories of his career. He was runner-up at the 2013 North & South Amateur.

Bauchou was 22 and a seasoned veteran of a dominant Oklahoma State squad – fresh off the 2018 NCAA team title, by the way – when he pulled of his repeat. The summer’s other notable repeat winner falls into a vastly different category.

Michael Brennan
Michael Brennan was 15 years old when he completed an improbably run to the 2017 Middle Atlantic Amateur title, and was 16 in October when he defended it.

Brennan started the last round of the 72-hole event with a three-stroke lead but was tied for the lead after No. 10. He promptly untied it with successive birdies and went on to shoot 72 for a 283 total, winning by four strokes. In the process, Brennan became the first to win two straight titles (he set a record as the youngest champion, 15, last year) since Deane Beman won in 1962-63. For the tournament, there were five who did it in the first 56 years and none in the last 56 until this one.

“I’ve had a coach working with me with what he calls an “attitude rating” system, helping me to stay positive [in tough situations],” Brennan, a Tuscaurora High School junior, said later. “I’d had trouble before [getting upset] and this was a good time to show improvement. I had three 3-putts — 9, 10, and 13 — but overall my putting is much improved over the last couple of years. He [his coach] has me pointing my attitude forward.”

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