Aug. 1, 2008
University of Dayton sophomore golfer Zach Glassman qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship after shooting a 143 over two days in Cleveland and winning a four-hole playoff.
Glassman will make his U.S. Amateur debut at Pinehurst Golf Course in North Carolina beginning Aug. 18. Fans can follow Glassman's progress on the web at www.usga.org.
"It's pretty special. Not everyone gets the chance," Glassman said. "I'm extremely excited and will make the best opportunity."
It took a phenomenal performance by Glassman shooting rounds of 71 and 72 on two courses in the Cleveland area, Legend Lake and Fowler's Mill, to force a three-way playoff.
With only two spots available, all three golfers made par in the first three holes. Glassman and another competitor sank par on the fourth hole before the third and final golfer scored a bogey to end the playoff.
"It was pretty crazy playing two rounds in one day," Glassman said. "I was the second tee time off, so I had to wait an hour and a half until the final group came in. It then became a three-man playoff for two spots. Had we all tied the fourth hole, we would come back the next day because of darkness."
Although Glassman is already on his way to the U.S. Amateur Championship, four other Flyers are teeing it up Monday in Dayton, Cincinnati and Muskegon, Mich., to try and follow Glassman to North Carolina. Sophomore Chris Woeste, freshman Michael Oberschmidt and seniors Matthew Friend and Rob Chappell will all play 36 holes on the same day to try and pack their bags for what is the greatest amateur tournament a golfer can win.
The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Throughout its history, the U.S. Amateur has been the most coveted of all amateur titles. Many of the great names in golf, such as Gene Littler, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Jerry Pate, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, grace the Havemeyer Cup.
As the site of more championships than any other golf course in the country, Pinehurst has hosted golf championships since 1898. Over the years, Pinehurst has been synonymous with hosting prestigious events including the 1994 U.S. Senior Open and both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens. In 2008, Pinehurst will add to that rich history with the playing of the U.S. Amateur Championship.
"It's one of the highest accolades that a young collegiate golfer can accomplish," said UD head coach Chris Hale. "This bodes very well for UD men's golf and the play of all the UD players shows the strength of the program. The entire team is thrilled for Zach and we know all Dayton Flyer fans will be as well."
The sophomore from Highland Heights in northeast Ohio is believed to be the first UD golfer to qualify for the U.S. Amateur since Jack Zimmerman Sr., who played in three during his post-Flyer days, the last at Pinehurst in 1962.
Glassman will be one of 312 amateur golfers out of more than 10,000 who participated in the qualifying rounds this summer to vie for the Havemeyer Cup.
As a freshman Glassman won the Coaches' Award and tied for the team lead in total rounds with 27. He finished the 2007-08 season averaging 74.8 strokes per round.
One of Glassman's biggest improvements over the summer is playing a more consistent brand of golf. Although he hasn't had a breakout round in tournament play, his steady style has earned big dividends.
"I've been hovering around par and in tournament play that will put you near the top," said Glassman. "I still have some things to work on and I will have to play extremely good golf, but this is exciting and you believe you can win."
The championship 36-hole stroke play on will take place Monday, August 18 and Tuesday, August 19. The field is cut to 64 players for match play after Tuesday's round.
Match play begins on Wednesday, August 20 and continues until the 36-hole final on Sunday, August 24. The tournament will be played on Pinehurst courses No. 2 and No. 4.
Coming off a second place finish at the 2008 Atlantic 10 Championship, the Flyers return all nine golfers from a year ago. UD is led by Chappell, the 2008 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, and Woeste, the 2008 A-10 Rookie of the Year. Last season UD also placed in the top 10 at six events and had three Flyers, Chappell, Glassman and Ian Gilley, earn Atlantic 10 weekly honors.