Twins have us seeing double and 24 other intriguing storylines heading into U.S. Amateur
Pierceson (left) and Parker Coody of the Texas Longhorns men's golf team pose with the East Lake Cup after victory last October.
There are 264 golfers who will tee it up on Monday in the first stroke-play round of the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. That’s down from the 312 that would have been entered had the coronavirus not eliminated qualifying. But that still means there are 264 unique stories of who the golfers are and what they’ve accomplished to get here.
In this year’s tournament, there are businessmen in their 50s and 60s, the reigning U.S. Am champ and runner-up, former USGA winners, college and high school stars, and past touring pros who recaptured their amateur status.
We have to begin, though, with twins, because who isn’t at least slightly fascinated by twins? For both to reach a marquee event such as the U.S. Amateur is impressive—and it gets better this year, with two sets of twins, as well as another pair of brothers who are only a couple of years apart in age.
The USGA does a fine job of gathering information on each player heading into the tournament. Gleaned from those notes, here are a few of our favorite storylines.
Parker and Pierceson Coody
The 20-year-old twins, who play for the University of Texas, are the grandsons of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody. Both reached the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst. Pierceson won the Western Amateur on Aug. 1.
David and Maxwell Ford
The 17-year-old identical twins from Peachtree Corners, Ga., have a triplet sister, Abigail. David won the prestigious AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield in June, and Maxwell qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur.
Trent and Trevor Phillips
The brothers from Boiling Springs, S.C, are NOT twins, though they’re teammates at the University of Georgia. Trent, 20, earned All-Southeast Region honors for 2019-’20. Trevor, 22, has advanced to the Round of 32 in two U.S. Ams.
The 22-year-old from Little Rock, Miss., won last year’s U.S. Amateur and will try to be the first player to win the Havemeyer Trophy in back-to-back years since Tiger Woods won three straight (1994-’96).
He lost to Ogletree, 2 and 1, in the 2019 U.S. Amateur final and has decided to return to Vanderbilt for a fifth year rather than turn pro. Like Ogletree, he played on the winning U.S. side in the 2019 Walker Cup.
Preston Summerhays recently won the Sunnehanna Amateur.
The 18-year-old from an extensive professional golf family became the youngest champion of the Sunnehanna Amateur in July, and he captured last year’s U.S. Junior.
The 58-year-old from Oakmont, Pa., reaches a milestone this week by playing in his 50th USGA event. How long has he been around? He lost to eventual champion Tiger Woods in the 1995 U.S. Amateur’s Round of 16, and 22 years later won the 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur.
The 21-year-old Englishman is the younger brother of PGA Tour player Matthew Fitzpatrick. He was a member of the 2019 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team and posted victories in singles and foursomes.
The 20-year-old Texan beat current PGA Tour player Matthew Wolff in the final of the 2017 U.S. Junior.
With 32 USGA championships under his belt, the 42-year-old property manager from North Carolina won the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and he and partner Todd Mitchell captured last year’s U.S. Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes.
The 19-year-old from China won his second Asia-Pacific Amateur last September in a playoff, qualifying him for a second appearance in the Masters.
Yuxin Lin has twice captured the Asia-Pacific Amateur.
The UCLA golfer won the collegiate Bandon Dunes Championship in March. He lost to current PGA Tour professional Viktor Hovland in the finals at the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.
The 58-year-old from West Des Moines, Iowa, has won the Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur and finished second to Craig Davis in the R&A’s 2019 Senior Amateur. He owns a sanitation and street equipment company and underwent open-heart surgery 20 years ago.
The 29-year-old from Newport Beach, Calif., has been a USGA stalwart, winning the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur while playing on the victorious U.S. Walker Cup teams in 2017 and 2019. He was the low amateur in the 2017 Masters.
The 17-year-old was a semifinalist in the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur. His father, Colin, is a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who serves as joint staff surgeon at the Pentagon.
The 63-year-old from Savannah, Ga., has played in 36 USGA championships, including 12 U.S. Amateurs over five different decades. The retired pulmonologist won the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur.
The 37-year-old from Tupelo, Miss., is a stay-at-home dad and a two-time Canadian Mid-Amateur champion. He was the runner-up to Lukas Michel in last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur. His wife is a radiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The 23-year-old nephew of Ernie Els is playing in his third straight U.S. Amateur. In 2018, he won the 123rd Amateur Championship, staged by the R&A, becoming the first South African to do so since 1966.
The oldest player in the field at 66, he’s played in 27 USGA championships and won the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur.
Named for Arnold Palmer, the 19-year-old from Murrysville, Pa., reached the quarterfinals in last year’s U.S. Amateur, becoming the first Notre Dame golfer to get that far since 1950. He helped his high school baseball team reach the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state playoffs.
The 56-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., is a board-certified eye surgeon who in 2019 lost in the finals of the U.S. Senior Amateur.
The 58-year-old car dealer in Fairfield, Calif., is playing in his 11th U.S. Amateu—among 36 total USGA starts. He won the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur and has played in four U.S. Opens (was low amateur in 2000) and five U.S. Senior Opens.
Copyright USGA/J.D. Cuban
Jackson Van Paris
Let’s call him precocious. The 16-year-old from Pinehurst, N.C., is the second-youngest player in this year’s U.S. Amateur field, and in 2018 he became the youngest golfer, at 14, since Bobby Joines in 1916 to win a first-round match.
The 21-year-old was All-East Region for Clemson this past college season. He was a high school quarterback and linebacker on the Lee-Scott Academy football team and won the Alabama Independent School Association state golf title twice.
The 18-year-old who is headed for Stanford in the fall captured the 2018 U.S. Junior, and in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach he became the second-youngest player (at 17) since World War II to make the 36-hole cut, finishing 79th. His caddie at Bandon Dunes will be future Cardinal teammate Karl Vilips, a quarterfinalist in last year’s U.S. Amateur who is unable to play due to a broken finger
Michael Thorbjornsen celebrates with teammates after the U.S. team won the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup in Paris.
The 20-year-old, who will be a sophomore at Texas in the fall, was a Texas all-state high school linebacker and all-district quarterback. He made the first double eagle in the history of the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2018.