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In the Green Zone

Benjamin wins USGA tourney and a spot in the Masters

Brad Benjamin is the third U of M Tiger to sin a USGA tournament.
Brad Benjamin is the third U of M Tiger to win a USGA tournament.
Former U of M golfer Brad Benjamin (BBA ’09) won the U.S. Amateur Public Links golf championship this past July, which qualified him to play in the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., in April. He is only the third Tiger to have won a USGA championship.

Benjamin shot a 77 in the first two rounds of the Masters and missed playing the weekend by only a few strokes. The top 48 golfers made the cut; Benjamin finished 64th overall at Augusta.

While at the U of M, Benjamin was C-USA All Tournament and C-USA All Academic for two years.

Benjamin, seeded sixth, beat out the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, Nick Taylor, at the USGA tourney.

“I always knew he had the game to do it. He’s very, very talented,” said U of M golf coach Grant Robbins (BBA ’94, MS ’97). “He came kind of out of nowhere as far as what the average golf fan would see. He just had that sense going into the last round that the hard work he did — he wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip away.”

Benjamin credits the U of M program with helping prepare him and also his former teammate, Jeff Hall, who caddied for him and did again at the Masters.

“It happened so fast that when you’re sitting there getting ready to accept the trophy and give a speech, you almost can’t believe it,” said the 23-year-old Rockford, Ill., native. “I was pretty much at a loss for words. I always knew I was capable of something like that, and bigger and better things are still ahead.”

Benjamin says his USGA finish was a surprise to himself.

“I go to sleep every night thinking to myself, I can’t believe what’s happening,” he said.

Benjamin welcomed the opportunity to see how he compared to the professionals at the Masters.

“Being able to compare myself to them or learn from them is the biggest thing.”

Benjamin’s appearance is great for the U of M as well.

“It’s huge. It’s more exposure for us, and it just shows the development of players here,” said Robbins. “A player that just graduated the summer after his career here, goes and accomplishes Benjamin wins USGA tourney and a spot in the Masters Brad Benjamin is the third U of M Tiger to win a USGA tournament. what he did winning the U.S. Amateur Public. We think that speaks well of our program.”

Benjamin’s next steps include taking advantage of his recent wins, playing in elite amateur events and turning pro.

“I was actually planning on playing pro right now, but my plans were delayed because of the Masters. I’m happy they were delayed,” said Benjamin.

“I also won the Illinois Open last summer. Winning those two tournaments has opened up a lot of doors. I am really excited about what the future holds.”

— by Sara Hoover

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