AmateurGolf.com's Players of the Month: August 2022
02 Sep 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

With the playing of premier tournaments such as the Western and U.S. Amateurs, the games of top amateurs crested at the right time on the biggest stages.

Stretching from University Place, Wash. to Paramus, NJ with stops in Marion, Mass., Kettering, Ohio, the Sandhills of North Carolina and Paris, France, the performances of several amateurs caught our eye, including three who can now call themselves USGA champions.

AmateurGolf.com's Players of the Month for August, 2022

Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com world No. 2 defeated Ben Carr, 1 up to win the U.S. Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, NJ. Bennett's road to the championship took him through a gauntlet of highly-touted players, as the Texas A&M standout recorded five wins against players at No. 27 or better in the world rankings, including three opponents ranked in the top-10. A native of Madisonville, Texas, Bennett is the first player from Texas A&M to lift the Havemeyer Trophy and the first Texan since Kelly Kraft (2011) to win the championship.

The 17-year-old from Japan put on a clinic at the U.S. Women's Amateur, where she feated Monet Chun of Canada, 11 and 9 to lift the Robert Cox Trophy at Chambers Bay. Baba’s 11-and-9 win is the largest margin of victory in a U.S. Women’s Amateur final since Anne Sander in 1961. Baba played 106 match-play holes during the championship, tied for the second-fewest by a champion since 1973, matching Morgan Pressel (2005) and behind only Carolyn Hill (103) in 1979. After winning the U.S. Amateur, Baba helped Japan to a tie for third at the Women's World Amateur Team Championships held in France.

Strawn admitted his goal at the U.S. Senior Amateur at The Kittansett Club was simply to qualify for match play, which he did. But then something else happened. The McDonough, Ga. native ran the table and defeated fellow Georgia and good friend Doug Hanzel in the final to win the Frederick L. Dold Championship trophy. The new U.S. Senior Amateur champion has something in common with Ben Carr, the 2022 U.S. Amateur runner-up at Ridgewood. They are both Georgia Southern graduates. Strawn joins four other Georgia Southern Eagles as USGA winners - Gene Sauers (2016 U.S. Senior Open), Jodie Mudd (1980 and ’81 U.S. Amateur Public Links) and Stewart “Buddy” Alexander (1986 U.S. Amateur).

Though he didn't get a win in August, the Pepperdine standout performed exceptionally well in two of the biggest amateur events in the world, reaching the quarterfinals of the Western Amateur and the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur. Statistically, Hitchner was 456-6-4 (W-L-T) against the field at the Western and U.S. Amateurs.

The world's top-ranked female amateur won the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield and tied for individual honors at the Women's World Amateur Team Championships in France, where she helped the U.S. squad to a second-place finish via a tiebreaker with Sweden. She also won her third consecutive Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading women’s player in the 2022 World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®). At the time of the award, Zhang had spent 101 consecutive weeks at number one, leaving her behind only Maguire at 135 weeks and Ko at 130 in the overall record.

The native of Peachtree Corners, Ga. won the North & South Super Senior Amateur at Pinehurst, finished third at the Reynolds Super Senior Invitational and placed eighth at the Georgia Super Senior Championship. Benefield made five birdies on Pinehurst No. 7 on his way to a three-day total of 2-under 214, good enough for a two-shot win.

Ehrhart not only claimed low amateur honors at the U.S. Senior Women's Open which wrapped on Sunday at NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio, but the Birmingham, Ala. resident also recorded a top-20 finish, tying for 15th at 9-over 301 (74-75-75-77). She was one of six amateurs to make the cut at the NCR Club. As low amateur, Ehrhart is exempt into next year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore.

With her five-shot victory in the 2022 Super Senior Women’s North & South Amateur, Pinehurst Country Club member Patty Moore became the winningest female player in Pinehurst history, eclipsing Carolyn Cudone. Moore now has eight North & South titles to her credit (3 Seniors; 5 Super Seniors). She won her eight Putter Boys in a span of 22 years, winning her first Senior title in 2000. She prevailed again in 2005 and 2007, then won Super Senior championships in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2020 and 2022. Moore’s eight trophies inch her closer to amateur golf legend Paul Simson, who has won nine between his two Men’s North & South Amateurs and his North & South Senior victories.

Past Players of the Month, 2022

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