College Adviser: Amer Ari features stacked field

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 6, 2013, 5:34 pm

The spring college season begins in earnest Wednesday with the Amer Ari Invitational, which features seven of the top 15 teams (and nine of the top 25) in the country. Chief among them is defending NCAA champion and No. 2-ranked Texas, which no longer can turn to Jordan Spieth (turned pro) or, apparently, highly prized recruit Beau Hossler, who is sitting out the spring to get acclimated to college life. 

But the Longhorns aren’t the only team to watch this week at the Waikoloa Kings’ Course in Hawaii, what with fellow top-10 teams UCLA (No. 4), Washington (No. 7), Georgia Tech (No. 8) and USC (No. 9) also looking to knock off the rust and improve their ranking. The three-round event ends Friday.

No doubt, the best team in the country thus far has been top-ranked Cal, which won its first five starts of the season before a third-place finish last week in Arizona. But Washington may be the team best positioned to challenge the Golden Bears. 

After an impressive fall campaign, the Huskies became just the third team ever to produce three players on the Hogan Award watch list. Senior Chris Williams is the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, and he’s finally healthy after a months-long bout with mononucleosis during the fall. In the offseason, he represented the U.S. at both the World Amateur Championship in Turkey and the Copas de las Americas event.

Sophomore Cheng-Tsung Pan was the top-ranked college player in the fall, according to Golfstat, compiling a head-to-head record of 271-4-10 and finishing no worse than third in four college starts. Trevor Simsby, a junior, was eighth in the country after the fall on the strength of three top-5 finishes, including a victory at the Pac 12 Preview.

Don’t be surprised if either Washington or UCLA emerge with a victory this week.

What else happened on campus this week?

On Sunday, North Florida senior Sean Dale shot a final-round 69 to rally from four shots back to win the Jones Cup, one of the most prestigious events on the amateur schedule. The 23-year-old didn’t play for the Ospreys in the fall as he pursued a PGA Tour card via Q-School; he failed to advance past second stage. Alabama junior Cory Whitsett began the final round of the Jones Cup with a three-shot lead, but a closing 75 dropped him into a share of second.

Fresno State coach Mike Watney – the uncle of PGA Tour player Nick Watney – will retire this spring after 35 years at the helm of the Bulldogs’ program. Watney, 62, was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tennessee senior Rick Lamb won his second consecutive start Tuesday with a wire-to-wire, six-shot victory at the SeaBest Invitational. He also propelled the Volunteers to the team title, their first of the season, as they edged Texas A&M by four shots on the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Here are the top 10 men’s teams in the country, as ranked by Golfstat (click here for the full rankings):

1. California: Next event is Feb. 20-22 John Burns Intercollegiate 

2. Texas: Starts spring season at this week’s Amer Ari Invitational

3. Florida: Starts spring season at Gator Invitational (home event), which begins Saturday 

4. UCLA: Starts spring season at this week’s Amer Ari Invitational 

5. New Mexico: Next event is Feb. 20-22 John Burns Intercollegiate 

6. Alabama: Starts spring season at Feb. 17-19 Puerto Rico Classic 

7. Washington: Starts spring season at this week’s Amer Ari Invitational 

8. Georgia Tech: Starts spring season at this week’s Amer Ari Invitational 

9. USC: Starts spring season at this week’s Amer Ari Invitational 

10. Georgia: Starts spring season at Feb. 17-19 Puerto Rico Classic

Getty Images

Masters champ Reed: 'I definitely had a chance'

By Will GrayJune 17, 2018, 11:55 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Patrick Reed’s Grand Slam bid made it all the way to the closing stretch of the final round at the U.S. Open.

Reed had never cracked the top 10 in a major championship before a runner-up finish at last year’s PGA Championship, and he followed that with a convincing victory at the Masters in April. In the U.S. Open, despite starting the final round three shots behind a quartet of co-leaders, he made a concerted effort to add a second major title.

With Shinnecock Hills declawed in response to third-round conditions that bordered on unplayable, Reed birdied each of his first three holes and five of his first seven to move to 1 over and within a shot of Brooks Koepka’s lead. He could get no closer, though, as three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on Nos. 9-12 effectively ended his title bid.

Reed finished alone in fourth place at 4 over, three shots behind Koepka after closing with a 2-under 68.


U.S. Open: Tee times | Full coverage


“Of course, Grand Slam would have been nice. But you know, I mean honestly, to me, that was really the last thing on my mind,” Reed said. “It was go out, play some solid golf, try to post a number and see if you can get the job done. I had a chance. I definitely had a chance.”

It’s the third top-15 finish at the U.S. Open in the last four years for Reed, who tied for 13th at Chambers Bay and finished T-14 last year at Erin Hills.

Reed was bidding to erase a nine-shot deficit after 36 holes, which would have been the second-largest comeback in tournament history. He was also looking to join Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth on the short list of players to capture the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year.

“Of course it’s disappointing,” Reed said. “But at the same time … To finish in the top 10 my last three majors, and to have a chance to really win all three of them and to close one off, it means a lot.”

Getty Images

Watching Koepka, Fleetwood knew he was one shot short

By Will GrayJune 17, 2018, 11:33 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – In the end, even a record-tying performance wasn’t enough for Tommy Fleetwood at the U.S. Open.

Fleetwood started the final round at Shinnecock Hills six shots off the pace, but he quickly moved up the board with a run of four birdies over his first seven holes. He added four more in a row on Nos. 12-15, and he had a 9-footer for birdie on No. 18 to become the first player to ever shoot a 62 in the U.S. Open.

He missed, and that proved to be the difference – for both the record and the tournament.

Fleetwood waited around in player hospitality for the next three hours while the leaders finished, alternating between watching the golf (with sandwich in hand) and playing with his newborn son, Frankie. He was on the chipping green when Brooks Koepka completed play at 1-over 281, successfully defending his title and finishing one shot ahead of Fleetwood.

“Brooks kept giving me like a little bit of hope, and then he’d hole a putt just to stab you in the stomach a little bit,” Fleetwood said. “I always just had that feeling that I was one shy, so I never really got massively, massively excited.”


U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


This was the first year the U.S. Open would have gone to a two-hole, aggregate playoff, so Fleetwood needed to stay loose for a possible overtime that in previous years would have instead been an 18-hole playoff on Monday. He emerged from the locker room and headed to the range to warm up after Koepka birdied No. 16 to take a two-shot lead with two holes to play.

“I just thought, 'I should really go up, because you never know,'” Fleetwood said. “I mean, the worst thing that could happen is if something did happen and I wasn’t really ready, so it’s better warming up with that intention.”

The solo runner-up is a career-best major finish for Fleetwood, who also finished fourth last year at Erin Hills. He now shares a piece of tournament history, becoming just the sixth player to shoot a 63, joining a list that includes Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, Vijay Singh and Justin Thomas.

And after torching a demanding layout to the tune of eight birdies, he insisted he won’t dwell much on the final putt that got away – even though Koepka’s closing bogey meant that it ultimately made the difference.

“The putt on 18, I actually wanted more for the 62 at the time, and then it became a thing for the tournament,” Fleetwood said. “Obviously, that’s the putt that will play on your mind because that was the last shot you hit and that was your chance. But I missed some putts in the week, and I made some putts. I think everybody did. And your score is your score. And for me, just getting that close to winning a major again, I think that is the ultimate thing I’ll take from it.”

Getty Images

DJ and more congratulate Koepka on social media

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 17, 2018, 11:31 pm

Brooks Koepka won his second consecutive U.S. Open title at Shinnecock Hills. Dustin Johnson, his friend and playing competitor on Sunday, was quick to congratulate Koepka. And he wasn't alone.






Getty Images

Firefighter Parziale ties for low am with dad on bag

By Associated PressJune 17, 2018, 11:07 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Leaning on his club, Matt Parziale crossed one leg over the other and placed the free hand on his hip. His caddie mirrored his position and used Parziale's bag as his source of support. The two looked almost identical, just one older than the other.

Being related will do that.

Parziale's dad, Vic Parziale, has been with his son throughout his entire U.S. Open journey, starting Monday and ending Father's Day. Matt finished 5 over par Sunday to tie for low amateur at 16 over for the tournament.

''We do stand alike out there,'' Vic said. ''It's funny.''

Said Matt: ''I don't like it, but that's how life goes.''

He's kidding. The idea of turning into his dad doesn't scare him.

''He's the best guy I know,'' Matt said. ''If I can be half that good, I'll be doing all right.''


U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


It's a classic like father, like son relationship.

Matt, 31, is a full-time firefighter back home in Brockton, Massachusetts. Vic retired from the same station last year after 32 years.

The two, obviously, also share a love for golf.

''He stinks now,'' Matt said. ''I'd have to play pretty bad to let him win. He used to be much better than he is now.''

Matt says he was 14 the first time he beat his dad. Vic says his son was 15. Either way, once Matt beat Vic's 73 by a stroke as a teenager, it was game over.

Vic never beat his son again.

''Golf skipped a generation for sure,'' Vic said. ''Because I don't play like him.''

As the first mid-amateur to make a cut at the U.S. Open in 15 years, Matt's second round was his best, carding a 73 with a birdie on No. 18 that guaranteed him a spot in the final rounds.

On the last day, Matt shot a 75 to end up at 296, the same mark fellow amateur Luis Gagne scored. Will Grimmer was the only other amateur to make the cut, and he finished 23 over at 303. The tournament started with 20 amateurs.

This was Matt's first U.S. Open. He played at the Masters earlier this year, but did not advance after two rounds. Vic was his caddie there, too.

''Mostly, I just carry the bag and keep my mouth shut,'' Vic said.

His specialty is wind: Matt does go to his dad for advice there. It helped this week.

''I don't get paid,'' Vic said. ''I don't want to be, of course. I just love doing it.''

The two have worked alongside each other for as long as either can remember. After college at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, Matt turned pro but called it quits after a couple years when it didn't pay off financially. That's when he became a firefighter.

But Matt never fully gave up golf, regaining his amateur status and going on to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship back in October. Vic caddied, of course.

''It's not something that happened over night,'' Vic said. ''He just wasn't lucky getting here. He really worked hard on his game.''

Being a firefighter actually allows him to practice and compete often. Matt works two 24-hour shifts a week.

He's not returning straight to his full-time job immediately, though. His upcoming golf schedule is packed. Starting Wednesday, Matt will compete in the Northeast Amateur tournament. Then he'll have the U.S. Amateur - after he gets married on Aug. 3 - and more.

Wherever and whatever, Vic will be standing nearby.

''He's always given me the opportunity to succeed,'' Matt said. ''None of this is possible without his support and his help.''