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.
Michael Brennan (AmateurGolf.com photo by Conner Penfold)
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?
"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."
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."View results for Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase
ABOUT THE Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase
The Genesis Invitational Collegiate Showcase was
in 2015 and it is a chance for collegiate players to
with PGA Tour alumni from their respective schools.
simultaneous competitions take place:
In the individual competition, the collegiate players
will play their own ball to record an 18-hole score.
The low collegian is awarded a playing spot in the
In the team competition, the professional and the
two amateurs (playing at 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 check for
$50,000.00, going to their universities golf program.
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