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On Golf’s Biggest Stage at U.S. Open

12-16-2013
Cory McElyea wins California Amateur

Dons golfer Cory McElyea '14 played in the U.S. Open and captured the California State Amateur Championship this season. Photo courtesy of Cory McElyea.

Cory McElyea ’14 beat out 14,000 amateur golfers from across the country to win a spot in the U.S. Open, and then, after competing in one of golf’s biggest tournaments and running on just four hours of sleep, he flew to the West Coast and won the California State Amateur Championship.

His idols

“It was awesome,” McElyea said of the Open, where he met some of his idols. He played two rounds against pros Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, practiced with last year’s winner, Webb Simpson, and shook hands with 2011 winner Rory McIlroy.

The communications major finished 19 over par, and came away with a newfound respect for the tournament, which was held this year at the Merion Gold Club in Ardmore, Pa. “I felt like my game really wasn’t that far off; but if you’re just slightly off, you pay the price in the Open.”

A big win

“They really appreciate and take care of the players,” McElyea said of the Open hosts. “It was so cool to get a glimpse of the treatment you receive as a professional: your own locker, fresh balls on the driving range, all the meals you want for you and your family.”

Playing with the pros also gave him confidence. He dominated the competition at the California State Amateur Championship at Monterey’s Pebble Beach—the biggest win of his career.

Good golf in genes

“We were all pretty excited,” said McElyea, whose brother, former Dons’ golfer Conor McElyea ’11, caddied for him as their parents watched from the gallery.

The Santa Cruz, Calif. native is ranked 64th by World Amateur Golf Ranking. “I’d like to break into the top 40 this season, that’s my goal,” said McElyea, who has good golf in his genes. His grandfather is former PGA tournament pro Dick McElyea.

by Ed Carpenter | Office of Communications and Marketing »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews