By Ben Molnar, The Miami Student
Miami University senior golfer Jack Sparling teed off Aug. 17 and 18 in the first round of the United States Amateur tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club. He competed against 312 golfers from around the country in one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in America.
Though he missed the cut into the Round of 64, Sparling said the chance to play at the highest level prepared him for this upcoming Miami season.
"It was a great opportunity for me to test my game and see how it stacks up against the best in amateur golf," Sparling said. "I'm looking forward to another great year and defending our MAC Championship title."
Senior golfer Bailey Truesdell said Sparling's play was valuable publicity for MU's program.
"Jack playing in the U.S. Amateur was great for Miami golf. It gave the entire program exposure and reaffirms that we are all good enough to play at the highest level of Amateur golf," Truesdell said.
Head coach Zac Zedrick shared the same sentiment.
"It's great publicity for the program and is a testament to Jack's hard work. What Jack shows is that he's focused on how good of a player he can be, and this is the amount of work that you need to put in in order to be successful," Zedrick said.
Other teammates, such as junior golfer Greg Conrad, said Sparling's growth has been unparalleled over the years and inspires the team to strive further.
"Having qualified for the U.S. Amateur is an inspiration to the team," Conrad said. "Setting an example on one of the best stages in the world is something that definitely pushes the rest of the team to work hard and compete at the highest level. Those types of accomplishments and experiences instill hunger amongst the rest of us to achieve those goals."
Senior golfer Daniel Schwarz also had high praise for his counterpart.
"Jack has provided leadership to the team by being a consistent member in the lineup," Schwarz said. "He has experience being in contention on the road and is a guy the team can come to for advice on the course. Playing in the U.S. Amateur is a fantastic accomplishment and it was cool to see someone representing Miami. It has been amazing to see the transformation that took place in Jack both on and off the course since his freshman year. His confidence is at an all-time high and he never accepts mediocrity."
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Miami's golf season begins Sept. 21 with the Iverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio.