The LSU men’s golf program is on the rise, and leading the way is All-American senior Stewart Jolly. Jolly’s solid play this summer produced a win at the 53rd Northeast Amateur Invitational Golf Tournament, a place at the Palmer Cup and an “Amateur of the Month” award from the Southern Golf Association.
At the Northeast Amateur Invitational at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I., Jolly was the only golfer in the field to finish the 72-hole tournament under par. He took the win by two strokes over Oklahoma State University’s junior standout Jordan Niebrugge, who finished at even par.
Jolly’s name was at the top of the leaderboard at the close of each round. On the par 69 course, Jolly posted a two-under 67 in the first two rounds and an even par 69 in the third to give himself a one-shot lead going into the final round.
After dropping two shots through the first 14 holes, an accurate tee shot at the par three 15th hole set Jolly up for the birdie that would propel him to a final round score of 71. Jolly finished the week with a two-under par 274 for 72 holes.
“It was nice to see the hard work was paying off,” Jolly said of his win.
After taking the amateur title in Rhode Island, Jolly boarded a flight across the Atlantic to Surrey, England, where the 2014 Palmer Cup was held.
The Palmer Cup is a match play tournament for college golfers set up like the professional game’s Ryder Cup, wherein the best 10-man team from the USA takes on a 10-man team of Europe’s top collegiate golfers.
“It was a huge honor to play for the U.S,” Jolly said.
The tournament has four rounds of play with either two-on-two or one-on-one matches. The winner of each individual match is awarded one point for his team’s overall tournament score, while a tie results in half a point awarded.
In the first two rounds, five matches are played between teams of two players from each team. Jolly was paired with Southern Methodist University’s Bryson Dechambeau in the first round. The pair defeated Europe’s Jack McDonald and James Ross, both from Scotland, by one hole, earning the point for the USA.
McDonald and Ross returned the favor in the second round, going up three holes after number 17 and earning the point for Europe against Jolly, who was playing with Oklahoma State’s Wyndham Clark.
The final two rounds each saw 10 one-on-one match-ups. In the third round, Jolly competed against Ross. Ross took a four-hole lead on Jolly with two holes remaining, and winning another point for Europe.
In the final round, Jolly once again conceded a point to the Europeans, this time to Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal. Gouveia’s three-shot lead walking off of the 16th green ended the week for Jolly.
Overall, Team USA went into the final round in a tie with the Europeans, but Team Europe, like the Americans last year at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware, were able to protect their home turf and win the cup 18.5 points to 11.5 points.
“It was a disappointment that we didn’t win, but it was a fun experience,” Jolly said.
The impressive win at one of the summer’s top amateur tournaments and the honor to represent the United States at the Palmer Cup have resulted in Jolly being named June’s “Amateur of the Month,” an accomplishment that will fit nicely on his resume next to his selection to both the 2014 PING and Golfweek All-American Third teams.