July 25, 2011
On Sunday, as you can see in the video above, amateur Harris English pulled off two astounding shots to come from behind and win the 2011 Children's Hospital Invitational. Great story, right? And get this: the guy he beat, John Peterson, is also an amateur. English is the third amateur, the second this year, to win on the Nationwide Tour. Add in Patrick Cantlay, who posted a top-10 finish at the RBC Canadian, and Tom Lewis, who had a memorable run at the Open Championship, and you're looking at a bona fide movement.
Impressive, yes. Thing is, some of these cats may talk an even bigger game than they play. Like Peterson, for instance, who made one of the great giant-balatas quotes of the year:
"The top guys in college, the top 20 or 30 guys, can beat the top 20, 30 guys on the PGA Tour," Peterson said. "Maybe with the exception of two or three guys who are constantly up there, like a Matt Kuchar or Luke Donald, those guys that are always there ... those top 20 college guys will beat those top 20 or 30 PGA Tour guys, if given the opportunity. They just don't have the opportunity."
English agreed. "You look at what happened here, you look at what guys are doing this week in Canada ... at the U.S. Open there are always a couple of amateurs playing well," he said. "On any given week when you give amateurs a shot, they're going to (card some low numbers) because we're ruthless. All college events are very competitive, and you learn how to go out there and win. The college golf system is awesome. You see guys coming out every year ready to compete and showing it off."
While I love the guts here, these kids are flat-out insane. (In a good way.) Anybody can be a driving-range icon; anybody can play well at smaller-scale tournaments where the great mass of pros aren't in attendance. Still, both English and Peterson plan to turn pro later this year, and we'll get to see if they can carry that attitude over with them ... or if some other college kids will come along and put them in their place.
[Visor tip: Local Knowledge]