October is dominated by mid-amateur, senior, and college golf. The college golf fall season is in full swing, the mid-amateurs are busy, and Ryder-Cup-style team events (whether am vs. pro or am vs. am) are contested around the country.
Here's a look back at the 10 most interesting happenings in the amateur golf world for October 2017:
#10 Ams to earn more U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open Exemptions
At the U.S. Mid-Amateur Players Dinner, the USGA announced four new exemptions into the U.S. Men's and Women's Open Championships. Effective immediately, the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Junior champions will be exempt from qualifying for next year's U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, while the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur and U.S. Girls Junior champions will be exempt into the U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek. That meant junior champions Noah Goodwin and Erica Shepherd were in, and Matt Parziale would follow a few days later, winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur.
#9 Finster Breaks Mickelson's Course Record at World Woods
At the Florida Mid-Senior Four-Ball, a tournament that was postponed due to the effects of Hurricane Irma earlier in the fall, Mike Finster and Brian Armstrong won with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Their run to the title was kick-started in the first round with a 10-under 61,
with Finster shooting a 62 on his own ball. Finster's round set a new course record at the World Woods Pine Barrens Course, breaking the old mark of 63 set by Phil Mickelson in a Shell's Wonderful World of Golf match against David Toms in 2002.
#8 Four Walker Cuppers Lose on the Same Day
In Atlanta, big names fell in the first round of match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur. Four former members of U.S. Walker Cup teams made match play, and all four lost their first round match.
Defending champion Stewart Hagestad shot a 64 in stroke play qualifying the day before but was taken out by little-known Dusty Drenth of Davenport, IA who was playing in his first USGA championship. Four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champ Nathan Smith also suffered an early exit,
as did 2014 champion Scott Harvey and former Walker Cupper Todd White.
#7 Steven Fisk Attempts to Become College Golf's Mr. 59
Traveling to Hawaii to play college golf is nice. Becoming the first college golfer to shoot 59 is even nicer. Georgia Southern's Steven Fisk had a chance to do both at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational. Fisk went out in 6-under 30 at the Makai Golf Club in Princeville, then birdied the next three holes and eagled his 14th hole to move to 11 under. Standing on his 17th hole at 12 under for the round, and needing one more birdie for a 59, Fisk drove the par-four and had a putt to get to 14 under. Watch the video to see what happened from there.
#6 Walker Cupper Xiong, OU win Nike Golf Collegiate Titles
Played at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon, the Nike Golf Collegiate featured the strongest field of the fall college season: seven top-25 ranked college teams, and six Walker Cup team members. Norman Xiong of the University Oregon, a key member of the winning U.S. Walker Cup team, shot 13-under in a come-from-behind one-shot win over Brandon Wu of Stanford. In the team competition, the University of Oklahoma won their first tournament since capturing the NCAA Championship last spring.
#5 Harrell, Muehr play one of the best U.S. Mid-Amateur matches ever
Michael Muehr (Potomac Fallas, VA) was rolling through the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at the Capital City Club, shooting two rounds in the 60s to earn the #7 seed for match play, then winning his first two matches convincingly. He followed it up with his best round of the tournament: a six-under 64 (with the usual match play concessions) with no bogeys. But his tournament was over, because he ran into Mark Harrell (Lookout Mountain, GA). Two two players combined for 13 birdies, 23 pars, and 127 shots in a match that went down to the final putt.
#4 15-year-old Shoots 60 to win the Las Vegas City Amateur
15-year old Andrew Jung of San Diego traveled to the desert to play in a pre-qualifier for the PGA Tour's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He stayed in town to play in the Las Vegas City Amateur and, on the final day, produced a dream round: ten birdies and an eagle without dropping any shots to par. The result was a three-shot win. How do you shoot 12 under? Hit every green but one, chip in on the one green you miss, and make everything you look at. “It seemed like every putt I hit went in,” said Jung.
#3 Tyler Crawford wins Stocker Cup with Borrowed Clubs
Tyler Crawford's golf clubs never arrived at the Preserve Golf Club, so he played his practice round with a rental set. Wanting something more suited to his swing speed, Crawford was put in touch with local player Jeff Britton who has a home club fitting studio. Britton was able to cobble together a custom set of clubs, with several manufacturers represented, along with a pink Scotty Cameron “My Gal” that was borrowed straight out of the golf bag of Britton’s wife.
Three days later, Crawford won one of the most prestigious invitationals in mid-amateur golf.
#2 China's Lin Punches his Ticket to Augusta and Carnoustie
In just its 9th playing the Asia-Pacific Amateur has become one of amateur golf's most important championships. Organized in conjunction with the Masters Tournament and The R&A, the Asia-Pacific awards its champion exemptions into the Masters and the British Open. 17-year old Yuxin Lin, a long-hitting left-hander from China, birdied the 17th and eagled the 18th to win the championship to punch his ticket to Augusta and Carnoustie in 2018. Chinese golfers took for of the top five spots on the leaderboard.
#1 Matt Parziale is the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion
Matt Parziale, a firefighter from Brockton, MA squared off in the U.S. Mid-Amateur final match against Josh Nichols, a wedding caterer from Kernersville, NC. Nichols was trying to become the second U.S. Mid-Amateur champion in the last four years from Kernersville, NC, following Scott Harvey in 2014. But Parziale jumped ahead early and controlled the match throughout. How good was Parziale in the morning round? He took the equivalent of 63 shots (with concessions), making eight birdies against a single bogey. With the win, Parziale captured the Robert T. Jones Memorial Trophy and a spot in next year's Masters and U.S. Open.
>> Top 10 in Amateur Golf: September 2017
>> Top 10 in Amateur Golf: August 2017