Schniederjans is hoping practice makes perfect

The world's best amateur golfer gets his shot on the PGA stage

Olli Schniederjans poses for a picture outside of the Edinburgh Hall at the Innisbrook Resort.
Olli Schniederjans poses for a picture outside of the Edinburgh Hall at the Innisbrook Resort. (Jamie Mountain/Toronto Observer)

PALM HARBOR, Fla.- Ollie Schniederjans is hoping for the best at the upcoming Valspar Championship.

The top-ranked amateur golfer in the world will make his PGA debut on Thursday at the beautiful Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

He believes that he can do well at the upcoming tournament, but the 21-year-old isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I don’t have any expectations this week – I can’t,” said Schniederjans. “I have high hopes and I believe I can play well if I can get my competitive game back by Thursday and get in a groove out there and put up some good scores…I’m just going to see what happens and hope for the best.”

Schniederjans hasn’t had much opportunity to work on his golf game lately as the winter hasn’t allowed him to practice very often. The Georgia Tech senior has also been busy with school and admits that he needs to find his game again.

“I’ve been trying to slowly get going again this week,” said Schniederjans. “I went to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago with the team to start the spring [season] for college.

“Other than that, I’ve played just a few rounds in the last few months competitively but I’ve been trying to get practicing when I can and work on my game.”

Last summer, Schniederjans played at the European Tour’s Scottish Open where he tied for a solid 41st-place finish. The young golfer was around some of the PGA’s best players at the event but kept a level head.

“I was around [Rory] McIlroy and Henrik Stenson and all those guys at the European Tour events and I’m definitely not the type to get starstruck,” said Schniederjans.  “I’ve watched Phil Mickelson my whole life as a golfer on TV, so when you see him and meet him you definitely get that out of the way and you get more comfortable being around them.”

The Copperhead Course at the Valspar Championship is another thing that Schniederjans is comfortable with but it’s not always easy to play on.

He played with Southern AM at the course earlier in his college days but he knows it still offers its share of difficulties.

“I knew this was going to be my first start on the PGA tour,” said Schniederjans. “It’s a great course to play your first tournament on and it’s as challenging as it gets on the PGA Tour.”

“It’s so hard to make birdie and it’s easy to make bogeys out here, so it’s going to be a test.”

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