Fists, sandplay and a 12-putt: the craziest stories we've covered
17 Jan 2022
by AmateurGolf.com Staff

The 2020 U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes
The 2020 U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes

At AmateurGolf.com, we have been all over the amateur golf landscape for over 20 years, and our coverage of amateur golf has gone broader and deeper as the years have gone by. We've seen a thing or two.

But occasionally a story comes along that really grabs our attention as something we've never seen before. From the shocking to the mysterious, the six articles below come straight from the vault of most bizarre stories we've ever covered.

Gale force winds, WDs, and a 12-putt: the story of the SCGA TOC
Club champions from across the region had no idea what would hit them before they arrived at Rustic Canyon Golf Club for the 2020 Southern California Tournament of Champions, but when the winds kicked up, eventually hitting 40 mph, chaos ensued. How hard was it? More players had rounds in the 100s (nine) than broke 85 (six). Another six players gutted it out to sneak in at 99 and avoid triple figures. Video shows a +1 handicap player hitting a 4-footer that finishes 40 feet...behind him.

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Florida Mid-Am Final Ends in Concession and Call to Police
The 2018 Florida Mid-Amateur final ended in a cloud of controversy with a plotline plucked straight from a mystery novel. All square with two holes to go in a tension-filled match, Jeff Golden conceded the championship and called the cops. According to the police report, there was an altercation in the parking lot during the rain delay that stemmed from a ruling that occurred earlier in the match on the 9th hole. Or was there?

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Player DQ'd after purposely running up score in U.S. Am qualifier
Can a player be disqualified for shooting too high of a score? Trey Bilardello found out that the answer is "yes" at the 2019 U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Mayacoo Lakes qualifier in West Palm Beach, Florida. He parred the first two holes, but his goals changed abruptly after recording a triple-bogey at the third hole. Telling his playing partner that he wanted to shoot the highest recorded score in USGA history, Bilardello set out to do just that, taking over 200 shots during the round and prompting tournament organizers to call the USGA for a most unusual ruling.

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Leading the tournament on the 18th hole, a player makes eagle...and loses...on the 18th hole
In the 2020 Maine Junior, Armand Ouellette stepped onto the final tee of the 36-hole stroke play tournament tied for the lead at 6 under with his playing partner Caleb Manuel. The two players had battled all day for the lead and the final hole would prove decisive, just not in the way anyone could have foreseen. On the the par-5 finishing hole at Gorham Country Club, Ouellette reached the green in two and rolled in his eagle putt. And yet it was he who was congratulating the winner Manuel after a finish that Manuel later told local reporters was "something you don't see every day".

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Out of nowhere, Alex Ross shoots the single lowest round in the history of competitive amateur golf
At the 2019 Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta, Davidson College golfer Alex Ross was on his way to missing the cut after rounds of 75-73 at Druid Hills Golf Club. As the third round approached, Marc Mitchell, Ross' bagman and lifelong golf buddy, suggested trying to birdie every hole. He nearly succeeded. Before the day was over, the course record that had been held by Webb Simpson would be shattered, and Ross' playing partners would turn into cheerleaders as the birdies kept coming. His final score looked like a typo.

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U.S. Amateur: 18th hole penalty shocker helps set Elite Eight
Tyler Strafaci's 2020 U.S. Amateur win was the realization of a dream, as he joined his paternal grandfather Frank Strafaci as USGA champions. There were ups and downs along the way, but nothing more bizarre than how his third-round match ended. He and his opponent Segundo Oliva Pinto of Argentina came down the 18th hole at Bandon Dunes all square. Oliva Pinto hit his approach shot into the greenside bunker, and practically before he could even size up his shot, his tournament was over because of his caddy, whose actions in the sand were caught by TV cameras.

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