September is a transition month in the amateur golf world. The summer amateur schedule is over, the college golf fall season begins, and the mid-amateur and senior golf schedule starts to get very busy.
Here's a look back at the 10 most interesting happenings in the amateur golf world for September 2017:
#10 17-year-old Amateur Goes on the Ultimate Birdie Train
Indian teenager Rayhan Thomas tied Mark Calcavecchia's all-time record for consecutive birdies in a pro event. Playing in the Mena Tour’s Dubai Creek Open, Thomas fired a 10-under 61 at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club that included birdies on nine straight holes, from No. 2 through No. 11. “It was fun,” Thomas said. “It was a good run of birdies. I just stayed pretty much in the moment and let it happen. It just felt natural.” Calcavecchia set the original mark at the 2009 RBC Canadian Open.
#9 Brennan is Youngest Ever Middle Atlantic Amateur Champion
15-year-old Michael Brennan, a sophomore at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, VA, became the youngest winner in the history of an event that started in 1902, as he won the Middle Atlantic Amateur at Laurel Hill Golf Club. Brennan grabbed the lead after rounds of 69-67 but fell back with a 74 in the third round. In the final round, he shot a 69 with a birdie on the 18th to get into a playoff with 45-year-old Scott Shingler, and then birdied the hole again in the playoff to win.
#8 Scott Harvey wins NC Mid-Am, Equals Father's CGA Win Total
Scott Harvey won the 24th North Carolina Mid-Amateur at High Point Country Club, marking his 8th Carolinas Golf Association win, and tying him with his father Bill, an amateur golf legend who passed away in 2013. "I was trying to make the Walker Cup team, so I didn't play in any CGA events," said Harvey, the third ranked mid-amateur in the world. "All year I was thinking, 'I really need to play in a CGA event. I want the same amount of wins as my dad'. That personally, to me, means a lot."
#7 Tour Player, Caddie Swap Roles to Qualify for U.S. Mid-Am
Geno Bonnalie is a PGA Tour caddie who happens to be a pretty good golfer himself. So when he saw that there would be a U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier held close to an upcoming tour stop, he decided to enter. With his boss, tour player Joel Dahmen, on the bag for the qualifier, Bonnalie shot a 71 at Jug Mountain Ranch Golf Club in McCall, Idaho to earn medalist honors and qualify for his first USGA championship. The two then headed to the Albertson's Boise Open, where Dahmen finished T25.
#6 The USGA Says Good-Bye to the U.S. State Team Championships
The USGA championship calendar has seen a significant shake up in recent years. The U.S. Amateur Public Links is gone, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championships for men and women are here, and the U.S. Senior Women's Open begins next year. The USGA has also eliminated the U.S. State Team Championships for men and women, with the final men's tournament played last year, and the final women's championship played in Santa Fe, NM with an all-teen team from Tennessee retiring the trophy.
#5 Michael McDermott Wins the 2017 Crump Cup
42-year-old Michael McDermott won his second Crump Cup at Pine Valley, edging out Bill Williamson in a thrilling final match. On the road to the final, Williamson had already beaten U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, the defending champion Jeff Knox, and two-time champ Michael Muehr. He was on his way to taking out another Crump Cup champion, leading McDermott 1 up in the 17th fairway. But McDermott holed an audacious wedge shot to a tucked pin, then parred the difficult 18th to win the match.
#4 Iowa Senior Am: Elliott Rebounds from U.S. Senior Knockout
Gene Elliott was cruising along in the U.S. Senior Amateur, easily advancing through stroke play qualifying and winning his first match in a rout over a former U.S. Senior Champion. He was on his way to winning his next match, three up with five to play, when suddenly everything turned and he was knocked out of the tournament. So he got a late entry into the Iowa Senior, headed five hours south from Minneapolis to Burlington, and teed it up in the first round the next day. Two days later, he was a three-time champion.
#3 61 at Pebble Beach: Long Sets Course Record at Carmel Cup
Playing in the first big college tournament of the 2017-18 season, Texas Tech's Hurly Long shot a dream round at Pebble Beach, taking only 61 shots and setting the course record. Long, a senior from Germany, had 10 birdies and an eagle on the day. Long made a 15-footer for birdie on the famed par-five 18th to get the record. He would suffer no letdown in the final round, making another 15-footer on the final hole to shoot 67 and get into a playoff with Hayden Wood, which he won on the first extra hole.
#2 Hurricane Irma Alters the Amateur Golf Schedule
Hurricane Irma rolled up the West Florida Coast and into Georgia, affecting millions of people, and inflicting significant damage to life and property. As a result of the hurricane, the damage it inflicted to golf courses, and the associated travel disruptions, many golf tournaments were cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. A USGA championship was moved, and the cancelled tournaments included a senior major, a national four-ball, and several college,
state, regional and local events.
#1 USA Reclaims The Walker Cup
Still smarting from a 16½-9½ loss in the 2015 Walker Cup at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England, the USGA and U.S. Team Captain John "Spider" Miller assembled a loaded and highly-motivated team to take on Great Britain and Ireland at Los Angeles Country Club. After splitting the Saturday foursomes, Team USA won every session afterward, pulling away for a dominating 19-7 win. Collin Morikawa, Doug Ghim, and Maverick McNealy all went a perfect 4-0 for the U.S.
>> Top 10 in Amateur Golf: August 2017