John Cardinal hasn’t played in a national tournament since junior golf. Now the 38-year-old Lubbock resident is getting ready to tee it up in a big event in New York.
Cardinal played his way in to the 42nd U.S. Mid-Amateur championship, which begins Saturday.
Where does it rank on his list of personal golfing achievements?
“Pretty high up there,” he said. “It’s always fun to get to go participate in a USGA championship and to get to go up to a place like Sleepy Hollow in New York. It’s going to be a lot of fun to get up there and compete with some of the best amateur golfers in the country.”
A total of 264 players from 40 countries are in this year’s field. Fenway Golf Club in Scarsdale, New York, and Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, New York, both north of New York City, are the sites.
After 36 holes of stroke play, 64 players advance to the match-play bracket.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur is a national championship for post-college players age 25 and over, most playing golf around a work schedule. Cardinal played four years at Monterey, but never college golf.
“I went to school and worked during college,” he said, “but then when I got out of college, had some time to get out and play and actually got a lot better as I got older. I’m probably playing better now than I ever have.”
On Saturday, Lubbock resident Brady Shivers is scheduled to tee off at 6:22 a.m. CDT at Sleepy Hollow. Cardinal has a 10:50 a.m. CDT tee time at Fenway Golf Club, and former Lubbock Country Club Par Buster winner Terence Begnel plays Fenway at 11:01 a.m. CDT.
On Sunday, Cardinal tees off at 6 a.m. CDT and Begnel at 6:11 a.m., both at Sleepy Hollow, and Shivers plays Fenway at 11:12 a.m.
They were the three who advanced from a field of 56 starters on Aug. 1 at Midland Country Club. Cardinal and Begnel were co-medalists at 2-under-par 70, and Shivers shot 1-under 71 and won a three-man playoff for the third spot.
Cardinal shot 39-31, charging back on his second nine with a birdie on No. 1, an eagle on No. 4 and closing birdies on Nos. 8 and 9.
“I really was hitting it awful, honestly,” he said, “and just was able to hang in there and finally caught some momentum.”
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Lubbock golfer John Cardinal set for U.S. Mid-Amateur