Taylor Funk gets big win at Southern Amateur
18 Jul 2015
by Conner Penfold of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Southern Amateur, The Honors Course, Taylor Funk Rankings

Taylor Funk (right) fired 69 on Saturday for the victory
Taylor Funk (right) fired 69 on Saturday for the victory

WEST POINT, Miss. — Charging from behind on the inward nine, University of Texas sophomore Taylor Funk won the 109th Southern Amateur by a stroke on Saturday at Old Waverly Golf Club.

Funk joins a special list of former Longhorns to have won the Southern Amateur, including Justin Leonard (1993), Mark Brooks in 1981, and Ben Crenshaw (1973).

In and out of the lead most of the day, Funk, son of PGA Tour veteran Fred Funk, made a key birdie on the 15th hole when he lashed out of the rough to within a foot of the cup.

A hole earlier, Funk had made a disappointing double-bogey at the par-4 14th hole when his tee shot found hazard on the left side of the fairway. But he rebounded triumphantly with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16.

"I just had one bad swing with my 5-wood off the tee," Funk said of his lapse at the 14th. "It's probably one of my best clubs in the bag. I always hit that one well.

"I knew if I just stayed composed and kept grinding, I had a par-5 coming up and birdied that one and then judged a flier really well on 16 and ended up making that for birdie, as well. Getting those two after the double was big."

Funk fended off second-place finishers Taylor Hancock, a senior at the University of North Florida, and Ben Suarez, a former golfer for McNeese State, by a single shot. His lead on the 18th tee box was two.

"I felt it was mine to lose at that point," said Funk, who played the dangerous 18th hole cautiously for a bogey 5 to close out a final-round 69, and the victory.

Hancock fired one of the lowest rounds of the day in his final round, a 67, to jump into the runner-up position while Suarez carded 69 with three birdies in his last four holes.

Funk's experience around his father during his combined 17 wins on the PGA and Champions tours surely came into play during Saturday's victory.

"I've been able to witness a lot of those wins up close. I even caddied for him for one of them," Funk said.

"He told me last night it was all about composure," he added. "I was composed today and didn't let anything get to me."

Now entering his second year as a Texas Longhorn, Funk will look to excel on a team dripping with top collegiate talent, including 2014 Western Amateur winner Beau Hossler, 2015 Western Intercollegiate and Big 12 Championship winner Scottie Scheffler, and 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up Doug Ghim. With the team losing key senior Kramer Hickok, Funk can certainly fill the void.

"It's really helped improve my game, showing me where I need to be to make it on Tour some day," Funk said. "It's good to get this win to represent the Longhorns even better."

Tying for fourth place were two stars on the 2015 season — Matt NeSmith and Bryson DeChambeau. NeSmith, the South Carolina senior, won last week's Players Amateur while DeChambeau, a senior at Southern Methodist, was crowned the NCAA individual champion at The Concession Golf Club at the end of the spring season.

Third-round leader Jarryd Felton, a 19-year-old Aussie from Perth, birdied three holes in a row from 4 to 6 but failed to make another red number the rest of the day. He bogeyed four of his final 12 holes and posted 73 on Saturday to finish three shots back in a tie for sixth place.

The Southern Golf Association contributed to this report.

Results: Southern Amateur
1FLTaylor FunkPonte Vedra, FL120070-65-69-69=273
T2FLTaylor HancockClearwater, FL90070-69-68-67=274
T2LABen SuarezSulphur, LA90071-66-68-69=274
T4SCMatt NeSmithNorth Augusta, SC70069-71-66-69=275
T4CABryson DeChambeauClovis, CA70072-68-67-68=275

View full results for Southern Amateur

ABOUT THE Southern Amateur

The Southern Amateur, which dates back to 1902, is one of two competitions held by the Southern Golf Association (the other is the Southern Junior). This is a 72-hole stroke play championship with a cut made after 36 holes. Entries are open to any male amateur golfer who has a current USGA Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4 under the USGA Handicap System. Non-exempt players must pre-qualify at one of the qualifying sites held across the southern U.S. in the two months leading up to the championship.

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