Player Profile: Mike Occi
13 Feb 2014
by Benjamin Larsen of AmateurGolf.com

see also: , Mike Occi Profile

For Mike Occi, it's been a great last few years.

First, Mike enjoyed success at the association level in his home state of Maryland.

Then, it was immediate success at the national level.

The 58-year-old Occi has become one of the top seniors in the country with wins at the Kingsway Senior Invitational two of the last three years and no worse than a tie for 8th place since the 2012 season. In short, Occi has been dominant and after we caught up with him, it's clear he's having a blast.

Learn a bit about Occi, a member of amateurgolf.com in this player profile:

Amateurgolf.com: For starters, what's your background in competitive golf?:

Mike Occi: I was a really good junior player and earned a full scholarship to the University of Maryland. But I wasn't ready for college and stayed just one year. I didn't know anything but golf. I became an assistant pro at Montclair Golf Club in New Jersey and stayed for three years. After that, I was ready and went back to school at Rutgers. I quit golf for 10 years.

AGC: So, what brought you back?:

MO: In 1987, my dad wanted to play golf on Father's Day. We went to Rutgers Golf Course and I birdied the last six holes to shoot 69. The bug bit me again. I didn't play much competitive golf really and only once in a while played in state events. I moved to Maryland in 2001 and started playing competitively. I did OK but when I turned 55, I really started to have more time to play and got pretty good. I used to hit it all over the place and now hit it pretty straight. My minds more clear and don't worry about hitting too many bad shots, so I don't hit many of them.

AGC: When did your success at the national level begin?:

MO: I was playing friendly games with some good players back in Maryland and then won the Maryland Senior Amateur when I was 55. The guy I was playing with, John Register, and he convinced me that I could play with them. I wasn't sure but won the second event I played at the Kingsway.

AGC: With all the success, what's your favorite golf moment?:

MO: It's probably the most recent moment. This year at Kingsway was special. I shot 66 in the first round Steve Groom shot 69. I figured I'd have a big lead but only led by three. We got paired and both went low on the front nine but I shot 66 and he shot 73. The third day got rained out and I was 15-under after 44 holes. That had never happened to me! When I stopped worrying about what my swing looked like, I started playing well.

AGC: What events are always circled on your calendar?:

MO: I really only play in the national events that I can drive to from here in Bonita Springs (Florida) or in Maryland. I play five or six events and other guys play all over the country. I always make sure I play in the Corkscrew, Gateway, Kingsway and SOS Spring Classic. I always try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Senior Amateur.

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