LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- After years of close calls and near misses, Tom Schreiner did something only a small percentage of golfers in the United States can accomplish.
The head men's golf coach at Covenant was one of six players to qualify for the 2019 US Senior Amateur Championship as he competed at the sectional qualifying event on Monday, July 29 at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, N.C.
"I have been attempting USGA championships for 30 years, everything from US Opens to US Amateurs, US Mid Am to now the Senior variety. It feels good to finally make one," said Schreiner, who will enter his ninth year overall directing the Covenant golf program in 2019-20. "I've been close a number of times, an alternate six or seven times, and missed by a shot or two probably another 10 or so times. It's just really tough to go out there with a 100 guys who can really play and finish in the top four or five."
Schreiner ultimately ended up sixth overall with a round of 72, and with the last qualifying spot for the Championship, but had to endure some of the most intense holes of golf in his career to get there. Eight players, including Schreiner, tied for the last Championship spot at the end of the round resulting in a massive playoff scenario.
In the playoff holes, Schreiner's game was up to the test. He outlasted all but one player after the first two playoff holes. After both remaining players took pars on the third and fourth playoff holes, Schreiner claimed the final spot after his competitor double-bogeyed the fifth hole.
"Six spots out of 120 players is pretty tough, but that sudden death playoff, with eight guys fighting for one remaining spot... that was as nervous as I have been on the golf course in many years," Schreiner admitted. "It felt good to see my game stand up to the pressure."
Added Schreiner, "Qualifying for a USGA event has been one of my top goals for many years, it's nice to cross that off the list."
That career goal for Schreiner will become a reality in late August. The US Senior Amateur Championship will be held on Aug. 24-29 at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C.
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