5 Demon Deacons set to compete in the U.S. Amateur Golf Tourney

5 Demon Deacons set to compete in the U.S. Amateur Golf Tourney
August 12
13:16 2020

The Wake Forest men’s golf team will have enough players for an entire college lineup at the U.S. Amateur in Bandon, Ore., this week.

Five Demon Deacons, returning senior Eric Bae, seniors Marco Steyn and Parker Gillam, junior Alex Fitzpatrick, and freshman Michael Brennan, will all be playing at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Mark Power was eligible but could not get to the United States in time to do the necessary quarantine and health checks before the event.

“To have a good program you have to have successful amateurs and we have that here at Wake,” head coach Jerry Haas said. “It’s always been my vision to have great representation at these events and this year we have five guys competing, six guys were eligible, so it’s all coming together. I know Mark Power really wanted to be here, but he is back in Ireland. We’re really looking forward to seeing our guys play at a high level with some of the best competition there is. Hopefully, it’s a preview of what we will see if our spring season happens.”

The player with the most competitive course time under his belt for the summer is also the newest member of the Demon Deacons. Freshman Michael Brennan has played in several summer tournaments, including the Western Amateur, where he was joined by seniors Parker Gillam and Marco Steyn. Brennan hasn’t officially played a round for the Old Gold and Black yet, but was able to get moved in and quarantined on campus before the U.S. Amateur. Consistent practice and competitive play should bode well for the newest Deac this week.

Alex Fitzpatrick and Eric Bae will be making their first competitive appearances this summer at the event, although both have kept up their practice schedules since leaving Wake Forest back in March. Fitzpatrick returned home to England where he completed the spring semester and practiced every day at home or at the course, when they were open and he could get there.

Bae returned home to Pinehurst to finish out the spring semester and continued to practice and play there as well, but recently returned to Wake Forest to begin online summer classes for his MBA at the beginning of July. He has continued to practice and play every day while being back in Winston-Salem.

Marco Steyn was able to play in the Western Amateur just a few weeks ago and also the Northern Amateur a week before that. The South Africa native made the decision in March to stay in Winston-Salem to finish the semester online. He has continued to practice and play as much as possible while also completing a summer internship.

Parker Gillam did return home to Cary to finish the semester and continued to practice and play while he could. He got back to Winston-Salem as soon as he could this summer to keep improving his game. The Western Amateur was a good early test for Gillam, Steyn, and Brennan to knock off some of the competitive rust.

“Hopefully, it gives the guys a sense of normalcy to be out on the course in a competitive setting with basically a whole lineup out there with you,” said Haas. “It’s one thing to play a couple rounds with the guys but to have five of them competing together but not as a team will be a great experience for them.”

Wake Forest alums Arnold Palmer (1954), Lanny Wadkins (1970), and Jay Sigel (1982 & 1983) are past winners of the event, while Scott Hoch has finished as runner-up in 1978. Fitzpatrick’s older brother Matthew is also a notable past winner of the event (2013) and current European Tour player.

Following the conclusion of the two-stroke play rounds, the field will be cut from 264 to 64 players for match play.

The round of 64 matches was held on Wednesday, rounds of 32 and 16 matches will be held today, Thursday, Aug. 13. The quarterfinals are scheduled for Friday and semifinals on Saturday. The 36-hole championship round is set for Sunday, August 16.

The Golf Channel and their free streaming service Peacock began broadcasting the tournament on Wednesday with the round of 64 matches.

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