Driving Series


Qualifying for the Masters is an incredible feat, a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment. But a Minnesota man qualified for the Masters in the most incredible way last week.

Sammy Schmitz of Farmington, Minnesota won the 2015 U.S. Mid-Am in Florida last week. With the win, he earned a place in next spring’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National– the Mecca of golfing achievement.

He did it by way of a hole-in-one on the 33rd hole of the final match.

I repeat, he won the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship with a hole-in-one on a par-4.

This is the best video we have of how he did it..

Now I am from Minnesota originally. Over my years of playing amateur golf, I’ve actually played in a few of the same tournaments as Sammy Schmitz. I’ve never played with him nor against him, but the name was one I recognized when he qualified for the event a month ago and earned a trip to the St. Johns Club.

I knew he played professionally for a brief stint and I knew he was a former college golfer from Minnesota, I learned further this week that he went to St. Johns University in St. Cloud, Minnesota and played on the golf team. I thought it was pretty cool, a St. Johns boy at the John’s Island Club.

Anyways, he’d been a great amateur player in the Midwest region and everyone pulls for players from their areas. It’d be cool to see Sammy Schmitz make a run.

And did he ever.

The 35-year old Schmitz hit, what might go down as the most epic golf shot in USGA history. Put it up there with the Tiger Woods’ highlight reels and the lineage of shots from U.S. Amateurs past. An ace down the stretch, on a four par, that’s hard to beat.

Schmitz on the hole-in-one:

I don’t know. It was fantastic. It’s one shot, and you automatically win the hole. You get to walk to the next hole. I think it played about 270, and we knew the slope was there. I’ve hit that green four times this week, so I had a real good feeling stepping into the tee box, hitting that shot. I executed the shot I wanted to. You really never expect it to go in. I’ve had one hole-in-one in my life, and it was in a nine-hole scramble. This is the second.

It’s an amazing feeling. Sure feels good.

Jeff Babineau wrote an excellent piece on Schmitz’ win on Golfweek (you can read it here) where he talked about Schmitz’ relationship with his father, love of hockey, and strong family ties. It makes the man all the more likable.

Schmitz’ closing thoughts in Babineau’s piece were, “wish me luck at Augusta. The winters in Minnesota are very long.”

He’s right, they are. And as a native Minnesotan and potentially life-long Midwesterner myself, I couldn’t be prouder to root on one of our native bloods compete on golf’s grandest stage.

Congratulations, Sammy.

Driving Series