AMATEUR GOLF: Marshall native Matt Bennett plays in U.S. Amateur Championship

MARSHALL – When Marshall native Matt Bennett qualified for the US Amateur Championship, he was reassured that his game is good enough to play at the top level of amateur golf.

Though Bennett missed the cut with an 18-over-par 158, he hasn’t let it shake his confidence.

“Missing the cut obviously stunk, but I got to see where my game stood up to other players,” Bennett said. “I was lucky enough to play with the 17th ranked amateur in the world. He reassured me that I was good enough, but that I needed to work on a few areas of my game. And coming from such a good player, that was a really cool thing to hear.”

Harrison Endycott of Australia is the player Bennett is referring to. Bennett also shared the course with Nick Carlson from the University of Michigan, who advanced to the match play semifinals on Saturday.

The Amateur Championship is the biggest tournament of Bennett’s career so far, and he took a lot away from the experience both on and off the course. One of his favorite moments was the players banquet, where all 312 amateurs who qualified for the tournament were in attendance.

“Seeing 312 of the best amateurs in the world all in one room was special,” he said. “Many of the games’ future top players were there and hopefully I can be one of them.”

Whether it was getting access to players-only areas or getting a special parking pass, Bennett felt good about how the USGA treated the players.

“The USGA runs tournaments right. I felt like a real PGA pro out there last week. They really treated us like we were special and it was totally different from any other tournament I had ever been to.”

Now Bennett transitions back to his college career. He’s hoping to build on his success from the spring and his experience last week and use it to improve his game.

“I think this tournament will help as I enter my season by giving me an extra confidence boost. At every tournament I play in I feel as if I should be able to finish in the top five or even win if I’m on my ‘A’ game,” Bennett said. “Hopefully this fall season treats me as well as the spring season did and I can hopefully get a few more individual wins along with team wins as well.”

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