Ty Gingerich (First Tee of North Florida photo)
For Ty Gingerich, perhaps the most important transition from junior golf to college came on an off weekend. When the Cincinnati freshman didn’t make the lineup for the Crooked Stick Collegiate, he followed through with Plan B: Hop a plane, fly to Florida and tee it up in the St. Augustine Amateur.
Gingerich didn’t just win it, he made a statement in doing so. His opening 8-under 62 at St. John’s Golf Club on Oct. 11, which included no bogeys, separated him immediately. He played the next 36 holes in 2 under to win by three.
Interestingly, this was the first time Gingerich, from Kokomo, Ind., had ever seen the course. Considering that he had played the qualifier with his team on Thursday and the tournament began Friday, it was a tight turnaround.
“It was definitely a cool way to turn something that seemed like a negative,” said Gingerich, who made the trip south with his dad Rex.
If Austin Squires, a two-time U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist, was the man to put University of Cincinnati golf on the map over the past two years, then Gingerich represents the next generation that will help keep it there. Gingerich, 19, is still in the transition period.
“I knew who he was, I knew he was a great player,” Gingerich said of Squires. “We met up this summer and I tried to take in as much advice as I could from him. . . . He came out for one of our qualifying rounds and he played with us.”
Gingerich has reached out to Squires from time to time for advice or input. Between Squires and Cincinnati head coach Doug Martin, Gingerich has plenty of mentors to guide the way. Martin, who played collegiately at the University of Oklahoma before an eight-year PGA Tour career that included two victories, was a big reason Gingerich chose Cincinnati.
“I just really liked their program and I was drawn to him,” Gingerich said. “He was a guy who could really help out my game.”
Winning doesn’t happen often in golf, and Gingerich calls his St. Augustine Amateur title the second-biggest in his career. Gingerich also won the Indiana Boys State Junior in July, a match-play event. He won six matches over the course of three days at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind., to claim the title.
In St. Augustine, Gingerich learned an important lesson about how his game travels, and how it stacks up. Gingerich knows he can win at this stage of the game because he’s done it.
“I’m definitely learning how to adjust and adjust my game and being on the road, different types of grass. It’s definitely an adjustment,” he said. “I didn’t think too much about it, I just went out and played.”
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FOUR-BALL QUALIFYING UPDATE:
The USGA season is over, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2020 championship schedule, which begins April 25 with the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. Allow us to point out a few formidable teams already filling the field.
Earlier this week, two-time defending U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur champion Lara Tennant combined with seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port to take a qualifying spot out of Willamette Valley Country Club in Canby, Ore. They came in second to frequent U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur competitors Amanda Jacobs and Gretchen Johnson.
Also in the USGA-champions-joining-forces category, former U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions Kelsey Chugg (2017) and Julia Potter-Bobb (2013, 2016) combined to win their qualifier in Bristol, Ill.
Also of note: Meghan Stasi and Dawn Woodard have qualified again and are prepared to tee it up for the sixth time together, which is as many times as this event has been played.
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TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH
Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, GC of Georgia, Alpharetta, Ga., Oct. 18-20
There’s quality golf in Atlanta and Georgia Tech isn’t shy about sharing it. This tournament has been running since 2006, and is widely considered one of the best stops on the calendar. The home team has won it twice, but not since 2012 – that could change this year.
Tavistock Collegiate, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla., Oct. 20-22
One of the closing events of the fall takes collegians to the home of many a Tour player. The Tavistock event traditionally draws another stacked field.
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TWEET OF THE WEEK: Keeping tabs on the former U.S. Am winner