Top-ranked amateur golfer Oliver Schniederjans equipped for major impact

Georgia native qualified for both the 2015 U.S. Open and British Open

Oliver Schniederjans at PGA tour's Valspar Championship.
Oliver Schniederjans at PGA tour’s Valspar Championship. (Joseph Narsa/Toronto Observer)

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Oliver Schniederjans’ game fits the links-style courses.

He proved it by winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2014, given to the world No. 1 amateur golfer.

By claiming the prestigious honour, Schniederjans automatically qualified for both the 2015 U.S. Open and British Open.

The Georgia Tech student is confident in his game and has a positive attitude ahead of his first experiences at both events.

“My game suits links golf and I’m excited to play,” said Schniederjans, speaking ahead of the Valspar Championship on Tuesday. “It definitely suites me well because I hit it hard and low and in the last few years I’ve begun flighting the ball.”

Schniederjans has previous experiences with links golf in previous events oversees, playing at Royal Melbourne and the Scottish Open.

He understands that his game can translate on the links golf courses, however, there are still differences that can alter the game he is accustomed to.

“I did play the links at the Scottish open last year for the first time. I played Royal Melbourne in Australia, which I thought was pretty linksy,” said Schniederjans. “It’s such a different style, the big thing is that it’s not always fair with links golf, you can’t just hit your tee shot and pick up your tee, whereas out here (Valspar Championship) when you flush it down the middle you don’t even watch it.”

A major appearance for a pro is a great achievement, and for an amateur it can be seen as a colossal moment in their early lives.

Schniederjans showed a great deal of excitement when asked about the potential of winning a major.

“It would be just obviously incredible,” he said. “It would be interesting to see how people would react to an amateur being in contention in an Open at St. Andrew.”

Both the U.S. Open and the British Open have storied amateurs histories, with the names of Bobby Jones and Francis Ouimet entrenched, respectively in those traditions.

Schniederjans recognizes the hallowed roots that the amateurs have within both tournaments and a victory at either major would be a vintage feeling.

“It would be kind of a throwback,” he said. “I think it would be pretty cool for everyone.”

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