FARMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — After the golf round of a lifetime, an unlikely amateur is on his way to the 2016 Masters.
Farmington native Sammy Schmitz, 35, is ranked 3,724 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. This week, he played top-notch golf to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur and earn his spot in the renowned Masters competition, alongside the greatest names in golf.
On Friday, Schmitz showed off his medal to his 1- and 2-year-old daughters in the front yard of his River Falls, Wis. home.
These days family life comes first for Schmitz but he still makes time for his favorite hobby.
“I feel like I’ve gotten better each year and golf is just my thing that I like to do,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz says his amateur golf career has had ups and downs since 2007 and he didn’t have high expectations heading into this year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur in Florida.
“In 2013 and 2014 I didn’t make it to the tournament so I had a chip on my shoulder,” Schmitz said.
Much to his own family’s surprise, Schmitz made it to the championship round, so his wife hopped on a last-minute flight to be there.
“I was walking to the championship as they were jumping out of the car,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz says his wife’s arrival gave him the inspiration he needed to make an unforgettable move.
“The cheers got louder and louder until the crowd just erupted and then I knew what happened,” Schmitz said.
Schmitz did something that has only happened once before in tournament history; an ace on a par 4. He won the championship round.
“It didn’t feel real, everyone was crying, my wife was crying,” Schmitz said.
The excitement is just beginning for Schmitz who gets to compete among the world’s 96 elite golfers at this spring’s Masters in Augusta, Georgia.
“No U.S. Mid-Amateur champ has ever made the cut at the Masters so if I don’t make the cut I’m ok with that, but i will try as hard as I can,” Schmitz said.
No matter the outcome, Schmitz said his memories and stories already feel like a win.
“There I am, an amateur from Minnesota with the chance to play with the big boy; it’s exciting,” Schmitz said.
Normally, Schmitz said he doesn’t even touch a golf club during the winter but this year he will have to train for the Masters indoors in the Twin Cities.