After a freshman college season that took him up and down, Eagles’ sophomore golfer Todd Shagin set his sights on the 2004 United States Amateur Golf Tournament.
Shagin set out on his quest to make the 104th U.S. Amateur at Royce Brook Country Club in Somerville, N.J. Stepping out on the course on July 28, Shagin knew that only scores in the low 70s would put him in the top three and thus into the U.S. Amateur.
“I really needed to play my best golf in order to qualify,” said Shagin. “And the numbers I put up exceeded even my own expectations.”
Shagin carded a first round 71, coming back from a front nine 38 to shoot 33 on the difficult Royce Brook west course. Going into the afternoon round of 18, Shagin knew he would have to come close to matching his morning score in order to have a chance at amateur golf’s most prestigious tournament.
“It was a mentally and physically grueling day,” said Shagin, “I felt it slipping in the afternoon, but after the final hole, I was ready for anything.”
The par-five 36th and final hole of the tournament would prove to be Shagin’s finest hour. After slicing his drive into the hay, Shagin pitched his second shot back onto the fairway, giving himself a 230-yard approach shot to the green. With a 3-wood in his hand, Shagin blasted the ball to within 15 feet, made his putt for birdie and finished in third place by one stroke. With his score of 143 (71-72), Shagin was on his way to Mamorneck, N.Y. and the U.S. Amateur.
Winged Foot Golf Club proved to be too much for Shagin though, but while his two-round score of 167 (+27, 81-86) left him out of match play, Shagin felt he walked away from the tournament a better player.
“This was a really tough golf course that makes a lot of players look embarrassed,” said Shagin. “But it definitely helped my game. I’m a lot more comfortable playing any golf course in the country now.”
Shagin holds the distinction of being the only Patriot League golfer to play in this year’s amateur, and to him, that’s a distinct advantage.
“From an experience standpoint, I’m now head and shoulders above the competition,” said Shagin.
The U.S. Amateur is played as a six-day tournament. The first two days are qualifying stroke play, followed by four days of a 64-man single-elimination match play, much like the NCAA basketball tournaments.
This year’s amateur was won by the No. 1 seeded golfer, Ryan Moore of Puyallup, Wash., who won the tournament 2 and 1 after winning four straight holes over runner-up Luke List. Moore also won last year’s NCAA Championship as well as the Western Amateur Tournament.
After the tournament, Shagin looked forward to an exciting sophomore season at AU.
“We definitely need to improve on our performance from last year,” said Shagin. “I think that as a team we have a lot of leadership and experience that will propel us to the next level.”
Shgin and the rest of the golf team’s season gets under way Wednesday at the Bridgewater College Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va.