Sunday, June 14, 2009
Matt Nagy of Tazewell Georgia
If you are a golf fan, you have already read recently about such places as Buena Vista Ga and Taylor County High School in Butler, GA. and Kennesaw State University outside of Atlanta.
But let's get this right.
Matt Nagy, certainly associated with all three places above, has put Cedar Creek Golf Club in Tazewell GA on the map.
He did it this past Monday in grand fashion by qualifying for the United States Open Golf Championship. To put this incredible accomplishment in perspective, Matt will join 154 of the best golfers in the world at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, NY as play begins this Thursday.
Tiger Woods is the defending champion.
To give you a little better perspective, about 7,000 scratch golfers (USGA handicap of 1.4 or less) competed to qualify for the approximate 63 spaces up for grabs this year. There were 110 local qualifying tournaments throughout the US. The top 3 or 4 players of those 110 tournaments then moved on to join other golfers who had exempted the local qualifying tournaments to compete in about 14 sectional tournaments held throughout the US (and England and Japan).
Matt qualified to play in the sectional as a second alternate after a grueling 7 hole playoff in one of the local qualifying tournaments. Matt was told to show up at the sectional in case one of those who qualified didn't show up. Matt, with no high hopes of even getting to play, showed up at the Sectional in Ball Ground Ga after only 4 hours of sleep. Somebody did not show up and Matt teed off the first hole without even hitting a practice shot.
He shot a one under par 71 in the first round. He said he saw a few things he needed to work on before beginning the afternoon round. So he ate a half of a sandwich and went to the practice tee. Whatever he worked on, worked.
Like really well.
He shot a course record and blistering 63 in the afternoon and ended up at 10 under for the day.
And with it a trip to the US Open.
Matt grew up at Cedar Creek Golf Club in Tazewell, GA, which is somewhat of a suburb of Buena Vista. Cedar Creek is a beautiful little 9 hole course that is owned and operated by the Nagy family. Not only does this incredible family run the pro shop and cut the grass but they are all great golfers.
And they taught the game they love to their kids.
I have a couple of memories of playing Cedar Creek in years gone by.
One memory is the time I spent in the woods looking for my ball on the very tight course. The other is the time I spent watching the little Nagy brothers as little boys with perfect swings hitting the ball straight down the fairway.
"Watch that little boy hit the ball" was a familiar quote on any given day from any foursome at Cedar Creek.
Now the whole golfing world will get to watch.
Matt Nagy of Tazewell GA tees off at 2:42PM Thursday in the U.S. Open, exactly seven groups ahead of Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.