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30 Sep 2022
by Jim Young of

The crux of the amateur golf season concluded in a resounding fashion during the month of September.

Mid-amateurs took center stage in the year's final two USGA events, Rose Zhang of Stanford was doing Rose Zhang things at Pebble Beach, and two amateurs from opposite ends of the globe tested their games in the professional ranks, with one earning more than a passing grade.

• • • • •'s Players of the Month for September 2022

After reaching the final of the U.S. Senior Amateur, the Savannah, Ga. native bounced back to post wins at the Society of Seniors (SOS) Super Senior and Georgia Senior Championship in back-to-back weeks. His win at the SOS Super Senior at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C came by six shots and a week later, he outlasted a field filled with some of the top-ranked senior amateurs in the world at Green Island Country Club in Columbus to win his fourth Georgia Senior Championship.

While her Virginia Cavaliers came up short in their quest for the team title, Sambach her second collegiate individual title at the ANNIKA Invitational with 9-under score of 207 (65-68-74) against a field that included 11 of the 25 players on the ANNIKA Award Preseason Watch List. She followed up that performance with a T7 at the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate.

McClean, a 29-year-old optometrist from Belfast, defeated countryman and close friend Hugh Foley, 25, of Dublin in an all-Irish final at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, which was held at, appropriately enough, Erin Hills in northern Wisconsin ("Erin" means Ireland in Gaelic). McLean became the second USGA champion of 2022 from Ireland, following Padraig Harrington, who claimed the U.S. Senior Open in June at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.

The third-year graduate student at New York University scored a victory for all golf-playing mothers when she won the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur with a 2-and-1 triumph over Aliea Clark in the 18-hole final on the Long Mean Course at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla. With her mom Suzanne, husband Mitch and two-year-old son following her every step, the Eugene, Ore. native earned the No. 5 seed in stroke play and proceeded to plow her way through the bracket to become the first mother to win this title since Ellen Port in 2011.

The Japanese sensation finished second in the World Amateur Team Championships and then became the second successive amateur to win the Panasonic Open on the Japan Tour to move up to No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Starting the day as one of the three joint leaders, the 21-year-old fired a 66 to seal a one-shot victory over Aguri Iwasaki with a 22-under total.

Every time the world's No. 1 female amateur in the world tees it up, there's a chance something special is about to happen. The Stanford sophomore carded a 9-under 63 in the second round of the Carmel Cup to set a new women's course record at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links. Her round consisted of seven birdies and an eagle on Pebble Beach's par-5, 463-yard sixth hole. A day later, Zhang finished off her fifth collegiate victory to help the top-ranked Cardinal to a season-opening victory.

Thorbjornsen claimed medalist honors at Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, leading Stanford to a dominant 12-stroke victory against one of the strongest fields of the fall. Thorbjornsen, who won the 2021 Western Amateur at nearby Glen View Country Club, began the final round five back of Adrian Dumont de Chassart at 3 under, lit up the back nine with birdies on No. 11, 13, 15 and 18 to pull off the come-from-behind to collect his first collegiate win.

The 14-year-old shot 7-under in rainy conditions to gain entry into the inaugural Kroger Queen City Championship at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, marking the third consecutive Monday the Warren, Ohio native had qualified for an LPGA event. Her run began when she earned one of the final four spots in the CP Women's Open qualifier on July 22, shooting an even-par 72 to share co-medalist honors for her first LPGA start and Monday-qualified again for last week’s Dana Open in Sylvania, Ohio, when she rebounded from a late double with two birdies to shoot 3-under 69 and win the qualifier. According to, Clemente is the youngest player ever to Monday qualify for three consecutive LPGA Tour events.

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