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Ballwin’s Migdal will play in U.S. Amateur before turning professional

Ballwin’s Joe Migdal is ready for his swansong as an amateur golfer.

Migdal, 23, will begin playing Monday (Aug. 11) in t he U.S. Amateur that runs through Aug. 17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

Migdal earned medalist honors in the qualifying at Jefferson City Country Club with the only 36-hole under par total. The De Smet and University of Central Missouri graduate fired back-to-back rounds of 69 for a 4-under par 138 total.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Migdal said. “This will be my first USGA event.”

It will also be his last.

Migdal plans to turn professional this fall.

“This summer has been going good,” Migdal said. “After the U.S. Am, I’m turning professional. I’m going to be playing in Q school in September in Nebraska where the fist stage. I’ll also play in a couple of state opens like the Missouri Open, the Nebraska Open and the Oklahoma Open.

“I’m really excited about it. It’s the next step in your life. One of my best friends, Garrett Sneed, just turned professional. He played as a pro in the Metropolitan Open at St. Albans.”

Sneed, a Marquette and McKendree University graduate, will accompany Migdal this fall and try to land a spot on Web.com Tour.

But first, Migdal will see how he measures against the top amateurs in the nation.

“I wanted to do the U.S. Am and give that a shot,” Migdal said.

Migdal will be among golf’s best amateurs will battle to determine the national champion. This will be the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship. The U.S. Amateur Championship is the oldest golf championship in America, one day older than the U.S. Open.

Throughout its history, the U.S. Amateur has been the most coveted of all amateur titles. Many of the great names of professional golf, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Littler, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Jerry Pate, Mark O’Meara, Hal Sutton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, grace the Havemeyer Trophy.

The Atlanta Athletic Club  will be set up at 7,490/7,428 yards and will play to a par of 35-36–71. The Highlands Course will host all match-play rounds. The companion stroke-play qualifying course, Atlanta Athletic Club’s Riverside Course  will be set up at 7,381 yards and will play to a par of 36-36–72.  Based on the course setup for the championship, the USGA course rating  for the Highlands Course at Atlanta A.C. is 77.2 and its slope rating is 153. The course rating for the Riverside Course is 76.8 and its slope rating is 143.

There will be two rounds of stroke play that will narrow the field from 312 to 64 players. Those 64 will compete shot for shot in match play until two golfers remain. The two finalists will meet in a 36-hole showdown to determine the 2014 winner.

Migdal will tee off a 1:25 p.m. CDT Monday and then 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. He will be playing with Xander Schauffele, of San Diego, Calif.;  and Joshua Martin, of Pinehurst, N.C.

Migdal earned his spot for the tournament in Jefferson City.

“I played a ton on the golf course there,” Migdal said. “We played on it a lot in college. I’d say I played four our five college tournaments there. I knew every hole, all the slopes of the greens. It’s a solid golf course. The greens are always perfect.”

Being the medalist was something special for Migdal.

“I was just real happy. Those 36-hole days are tough,” Migdal said. “It’s a grind the entire day. I was happy to stay focused, stay patient. Putting two rounds under par together in one day was big for me. I was happy I did that.

“I had never done that before. I had never followed an under par round with another one in the same day.”

Migdal has had success this summer. He finished in a tie for second in the recent Missouri Stroke Play Championship that was held at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield.

Migdal shot a 5-under 276. His rounds were 73, 68, 69 and 66.

“I finished pretty strong,” Migdal said. “It wsa starting to figure it out. That’s my highest finish in a state tournament.”

Kyle Weldon, who will be a senior at Kansas State and is from Des Peres, also has qualified for the U.S. Amateur.

“Kyle is a good friend,” Migdal said. “I know him well. It’s going to be fun to have two St. Louisans there competing.”

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