Top amateur golf moments of 2019, Nos. 1-5
As 2019 draws to a close, AmateurGolf.com takes a look back at the 25 most interesting stories of what was another banner year for amateur golf.
Last week, we took a look at stories No. 6-10
, which included a caddie loss and USGA win, a carbon copy major repeat, the summer of Wu, an under-the-radar champ, and omg those pants!
The series concludes with the top amateur golf moments of 2019, Nos. 1-5:
No. 5: Stewart Hagestad did what no amateur had in 34 years
His 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur win propelled him to a Masters low amateur finish the following spring. Last year he made deep runs at both the U.S. Amateur (Final 16) and the U.S. Mid-Amateur (Semifinals). But at U.S. Sectional qualifying, Hagestad put himself in position to do what no am had done since Jay Sigel in 1985.
No. 4: The graduating class of 2019 makes an immediate impact on the PGA Tour
Oklahoma State teammates Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff, along with Collin Morikawa of Cal, made the transition from college to pro golf look easy. Just over a month after the NCAA Championship, Wolff won the PGA Tour's 3M Open
, beating Morikawa on the final green. Three weeks later, Morikawa had his first PGA Tour win at the Barracuda Classic. Hovland hasn't won yet, but he did set the PGA Tour record for most consecutive rounds in the 60s with 19. All three will have Tour cards in 2020.
No. 3: The mid-amateurs are back
When Kevin O'Connell won the Monroe Invitational in 2018 (he would go on to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur later in the year), it had been three years since a mid-am had won an important national event. But the new generation of mid-amateurs has arrived, with players like Hagestad (see No. 5 above), Matt Parziale and Garrett Rank, whose win at the Western Amateur
was the biggest for the over-25 set in many years.
No. 2: For Alex Ross, lights-out 57 ends a long day at the Dogwood
In the third round at the Dogwood Invitational, Alex Ross needed to shoot a 10-under 62 to make the cut for the final round. After asking the starter what the Druid Hills course record was, he embarked on a round so good it was scary: 13 birdies and an eagle for a 15-under 57 left him, his caddie, his playing partners, and everyone watching wondering if it was real.
No. 1: Amateurs get a tournament of their own at Augusta National
The club founded by the greatest amateur golfer ever, Bobby Jones, has long held amateur golf in such high esteem as to extend regular Masters invitations to its champions. But in 2019, amateur golf got a tournament of its own at Augusta National, with the debut of the Augusta National Women's Amateur (ANWA), held immediately prior to Masters week. After much anticipation and hype, the inaugural playing of the event was pure theater, with the game's top two female amateurs (and their contrasting personalities) dueling on the back nine. In the end, the shots that Jennifer Kupcho hit into 13 and 15 were reminiscent of what we see on Masters Sunday, and allowed her to hold off the colorful Maria Fassi to become the first-ever ANWA champion