Top amateur golf moments of 2018, No. 11: On fire
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
Matt Parziale at the U.S. Open (Photo illustration)
If there’s one thing about golf fans, it’s that they embrace amateur storylines – particularly in the majors, and particularly in the Masters and the U.S. Open. Matt Parziale
, a 31-year-old firefighter from Brockton, Mass., played both in 2018 courtesy of his 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur victory.
Parziale missed the cut and bowed out early at Augusta National, but at the U.S. Open, he was one of just three amateurs to play the weekend. Twenty amateurs started the week at Shinneock Hills in Southampton, N.Y. Parziale was consistent all week, and with rounds of 74-73-74-75, tied for 48th and shared low-amateur honors with Luis Gagne.
“This is what I put all of the work in for,” Parziale said. “Can’t guarantee it’s going to happen, but this is why I’ve done what I’ve done my entire life.”
As a kid, Parziale aspired to be a pro golfer. But after turning pro out of Southeastern College in 2009, he needed only three years to discover that he didn’t enjoy grinding it out on the mini-tours and not having any money.
He decided instead to follow in the footsteps of his father, Vic, who caddied for his son this week, and become a firefighter. It’s a different storyline than we’re used to, and thus one told often.
(AmateurGolf.com caught up with Parziale in March for a feature interview that reveals many of his thoughts on the game in his own words.
Despite his finish at Shinnecock Hills, Parziale said he wasn’t tempted to give professional life another shot.
“I’m not going to turn pro,” he said. “I’ve done that before. If they want to give me a Tour card, I’ll go play, but I’m not going to go back to playing mini-tours.”
He makes a good point, especially when you give the rest of his summer a quick look. Parziale was T-15 at the Northeast Amateur and T-12 at the Porter Cup, then scored a runner-up at the Francis Ouimet Memorial, a staple in his native New England. He teed it up at the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, but failed to make the match-play cut.
Parziale advanced to the quarterfinals of the Crump Cup, an event played at hallowed Pine Valley Golf Club. He was T-6 at the Crane Cup at the Floridian in Palm City, Fla. And those are just the highlights.
It’s not a bad life, playing the mid-amateur circuit, especially when you excel at it the way Parziale does.