Miami Valley ‘punches above its weight’ when it comes to amateur stars like Marissa Wenzler, Austin Greaser

·2 min read

After Marissa Wenzler collected the Women’s Western Amateur trophy, a colossal piece of hardware both physically and symbolically in the amateur golf world – on July 24, she was headed back home to Dayton, Ohio to a family reunion already underway. Safe to say the family was watching that week-long performance at Park Ridge (Illinois) Country Club from afar.

Safe to say some Wenzler fans in the greater Miami Valley Golf Association were watching, too.

“I think everyone is going to be pretty excited,” she told Golfweek at the end of that week. “I have a great support system, my family, friends, teammates, coaches, everyone.”

Wenzler, a junior on the University of Kentucky roster, is a bright spot for one of the country’s smaller golf organizations. Miami Valley numbers only 10,577 members. A smaller golf market can have its challenges, including a small inventory of courses and smaller membership numbers, but as executive director Steve Jurick says, “we punch way above our weight.”

Perhaps that’s never been so obvious as it has been these past few months. After Wenzler marched through five head-to-head matches to victory at the Women’s Western, she teed it up two weeks later at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She advanced through a 12-for-2 playoff on the match-play bracket, and then her first match-play victory was over stroke-play medalist Rachel Kuehn.

Wenzler ended up advancing to the Round of 32 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, and a week later, another player with Miami Valley ties did even better at the U.S. Amateur. Austin Greaser, of Vandalia, Ohio, played his way to the final match before falling to eventual champion James Piot.

Greaser, a junior at North Carolina, told Golfweek after the quarterfinals at Oakmont (Pennsylvania) Country Club that he just loves a good, Midwest-style golf course, noting how Oakmont reminds him of Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, where he lost to eventual champion Preston Summerhays in the quarterfinals of the 2019 U.S. Junior.

2021 U.S. Amateur
2021 U.S. Amateur

James Piot, left, and Austin Greaser pose with the Havemeyer Trophy before the start of
the final match at the 2021 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club. (Chris Keane/USGA)

“These courses just fit my eye, man,” said Greaser, who was making his third U.S. Amateur start.

Courtesy of his trip to the final match at Oakmont, this Miami Valley native will now have the opportunity to play in both the 2022 Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open.

Greaser and Wenzler certainly stand out on the national stage, but

Britt Platt was the medalist and lost in the finals of the Women’s State Mid-Amateur Championship, Dhaivat Pandya, lost in a playoff in the Ohio Amateur and Jordon Gilkison won the State Boys DI High School Championship.

There is much to celebrate about Miami Valley golf.