Looking for a plucky underdog story that will tug at your heartstrings? Step forward Matt Parziale.
After winning the 2017 US Mid-Amateur Championship, the 30-year-old firefighter received invitations to play in this year’s US Masters and US Open, meaning he could very well become the first person to fight a fire the day after lighting up Augusta or Shinnecock Hills. Cool, huh? It really is and here, in his own words, are five more things you need to know about the man we should all be rooting for at this year’s first two majors.
“I don’t view golf as a leisure activity, I play to compete. I turned professional and played some mini tours after graduating from college, but now I am really enjoying having my amateur status back. The Mid Am circuit is great to play in and I am able to combine it with a career I love.”
“Firefighting and golf are two totally separate elements of my life. When I am fighting a fire it is absolute chaos. It is uncontrolled and you don’t know what is going to happen. Golf is the complete opposite. You might not know what is going to happen, but you are always in control.”
“I was in work at 7am after I won the US Mid Amateur. That was a tough day to get through, but it all worked out well. I think I was still running on adrenalin.”
“My goal is to go to the Masters and to compete the best that I can. For me, this means playing in events in the lead up, so I can get in to the process of playing tournament golf, competing and trying to get into contention. It does not mean thinking about how last year’s US Mid Amateur champion made the cut or what anyone else has done in the past. They are just made up thoughts that would not get me anywhere.”
“I’m friends with a few tour players. Keegan Bradley would be the most famous, but I’m also close to Jon Curran, who I used to travel with on the mini tours, and Jim Renner, who recently won the Web.com Tour Qualifying School. We all grew up playing junior golf together, so to see them doing well is awesome.”