Carolinas Golf Magazine

SPR 2019

golf, CGA, carolinas, junior, equipment, sport, PGA, LPGA, association, magazine

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Page 25 of 51

This year's major lineup is a grand slam of bucket list golf courses. To play one, for most golfers, would be a dream come true. For one Carolinian, that dream is coming true twice over. After Kevin O'Connell of Cary, N.C., won the 2018 USGA U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship held at Charlotte Country Club and Carolina Country Club, he received exemption into the U.S. Open being played this year at Pebble Beach Golf Links and soon thereafter received an invite to play in the Masters. O'Connell's story isn't one of an overnight success. It's been a long, hard grind that will take the 30-year- old to golf's biggest stage. By all standards, O'Connell has had a golf career to be proud of. He played his collegiate golf at the Uni- versity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following school, he decided to take a shot at the pro circuit. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get his card on the PGA TOUR and the Tour, O'Connell applied to have his amateur status reinstated in 2014. It turned out to be the right move at the time, because he will now get his chance to tee it up against the world's best golfers in the two most highly-antic- ipated majors of the year. O'Connell, who also earned the honor of the 2018 CGA Men's Player of the Y ear, took the time between his "major" preparation to chat about his last few months since the Mid-Amateur win and what the future may have in store. (Editor's Note: Questions and answers have been slightly edited for readability.) Jackson Sveen: Where was your game at the start of 2018? Kevin O'Connell: At the time, I was working for Parsons Extreme Golf (PXG) as a mobile fitter. I was stoking relationships with green-grass accounts and setting up days to present our product to their membership. That allowed me access to some really neat places and it sent me to a lot of great courses I had never seen before. In addition to that, there was a lot of down- 24 | | S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 USGA/CHRIS KEA Kevin O'Connell's Major Break Kevin O'Connell's Major Break O'Connell punches his ticket to Augusta National and Pebble Beach BY JACKSON SVEEN P RO F I L E Augusta National, Bethpage Black, Pebble Beach, Royal Portrush…

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