Michael Brennan wins Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase
Michael Brennan (AmateurGolf.com photo by Conner Penfold)
Michael Brennan (AmateurGolf.com photo by Conner Penfold)

We love professional events that provide amateur and collegiate golfers with the opportunity to earn a spot in their field. As part of our continued partnership, Golfweek and AmateurGolf.com shared coverage of today's Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase. Todd Kelly of Golfweek did the writing, and Conner Penfold of AmateurGolf.com was behind the camera. We'll leave coverage of the professional side of the Genesis up to Todd and Golfweek, but we will be watching to see how the lone amateur in the field performs.

Here's Todd's story:


How does a golfer who's never played Riviera Country Club before shoot a 5-under 66, with his only bogeys coming off three-putts, to win the Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase, in the process earning a spot in the Genesis Invitational?

It's simple.

"I drove it straight today, that helps a lot," said Wake Forest sophomore Michael Brennan, the second Demon Deacon to win the event in its eight-year history.

He was also driving it long.

Brennan gets a hug from Will Zalatoris
"He moves it," said former Wake Forest golfer and the winner of the first Showcase in 2015, Will Zalatoris, who played in his group. "I've obviously gained some distance and he was hitting it 10, 15 [yards] by me. I'm one of the longer drivers on Tour and he's hitting it by me, so, especially on a 7,300-yard golf course, that helps a lot."
The one-day, 18-hole event had a 17-player field, its largest yet. Brennan is the second Demon Deacon to win it and Wake Forest is the first school to produce two winners. Brennan, a sophomore who's won four times already in college, is just like many others in this next wave of young golfers.

"It's kind of the same thing you're seeing now on the Tour: no one's scared," said Zalatoris. "We saw Tiger do it and we're seeing a lot of other guys follow his footsteps.

"He shot, what, 66 today, on a golf course that I would argue is probably one of the tougher regular-season events all year, so that's pretty cool to see."

Brennan opened with a birdie and made the turn in 33. He then went birdie-eagle-bogey-birdie on Nos. 10-13. He had one final birdie on No. 16 to win by two over RJ Manke of Washington and by three over both David Puig of Arizona State and Soren Lind of San Francisco. They were the only golfers to break par.

Jason Gore, the U.S. Golf Association's Managing Director of Player Relations, played with Puig and sees the same things Zalatoris does in these young players.

"I just see maturity. They're just so far ahead of where we were," Gore said.. "Better trained. Talk about equipment all you want but they know... they're better fit, they're bigger, stronger, faster. They know how to, they're just well-trained, even with putting chipping... really fun to watch."

Jerry Haas, Wake Forest's head coach, caddied for Brennan Monday.

"He's almost a pro in how he conducts himself," he said. "He's a really good kid. I'm lucky to have him."

2022 Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase Fellow former Wake Forest golfer Cameron Young played the Showcase three years and said he shot 80.

"I got to come play in this my senior year. I was playing with Bill Haas. It was snowing in Winstom-Salem [North Carolina], so I hadn't played any golf. I had putted inside, I had hit some balls off a mat and I got to the first tee with Bill Haas, who obviously is our head coach's nephew, they're very close and all that. I was intimidated. I was nervous. And it's not the most fun first tee shot either. It's Riviera Country Club off a cliff. It's quite an experience."

As for Brennan, he gets to stick around sunny Los Angeles for at least four more days. After a couple days of practice rounds, the Genesis Invitational stars on Thursday.

"My favorite golfer is Tiger Woods. To be playing in his event is pretty dang cool. Maybe I'll get to see him out here this week."

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ABOUT THE Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase

The Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase was founded in 2015. It is a chance for collegiate players to play with PGA Tour alumni from their respective schools. Two simultaneous competitions take place:

In the individual competition, the collegiate players will play their own ball to record an 18-hole score. When the Collegiate Showcase was founded, the winner experienced the excitement of playing in the Genesis Invitational that same week at Riviera. With the status of the Geneisis Invitational changed to "elevated" the showcase changed to awarding a playing spot in the Genesis Scottish Open, a co-sanctioned PGA TOUR & DP World Tour event played in July.

In the team competition, the professional and the two amateurs (playing at a specified percentage of their most current and verified handicap) will team up to play a best ball format (one-ball). The low Professional and Amateurs team will take home the Champions Trophy for their school and a nice check going to their university's golf program.

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