Parker Smith Chases Four-Ball History At ‘The Foot’

Is it a three-peat, a four-peat, or both? It’s hard to clearly describe what Parker Smith will try to achieve this week at the Anderson Memorial four-ball at the venerable Winged Foot Golf Club in suburban New York City. Smith, along with partner Dan Crockett, will be trying to win one of the most prestigious amateur four-ball events in America for the third consecutive year. But for Smith, it could be four in a row. And therein lies the confusion. Smith was set to play with his close friend Crockett in 2010, except that Crockett hurt his knee and had to have surgery. Needing a partner, Smith turned to his brother-in-law, Phillip Breeding, and they won, defeating Winged Foot members Matthew and Peter Meyer, 2 up. After a tense match in which neither team could build a sizable lead, Smith and Breeding won the final two holes to prevail. But Breeding must not have made enough birdies, as Smith threw him over the following year to team up with Crockett. They beat Englishmen John Kemp and Mark Wharton, 3 and 2. In 2012, they successfully defended their title when Smith holed a five-foot birdie putt as darkness set in to once again beat Kemp and Wharton. And so they come to the 2013 event looking for a three-peat, and a four-peat for Smith, who has won twelve consecutive matches on the two really good Winged Foot courses. There have been several teams over the years that have won back to back. William Turnesa and Udo Reinach did it in 1939-40, and former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman did it in 1958-59 with partner William Buppert. James Reid and Tripp Davis won in 2000-01, and four-time U.S. Mid- Amateur champion Nathan Smith teamed with Frank Fairman to win in 2007-08. Pretty heady company for Smith and Crockett. The Hyndmans, William and Thomas, won twice but not consecutively in the early ’60s. And the father-and-son team of Jerry Courville Sr. and Jerry Courville Jr. went back to back in 1978-79, and then won again in 1983. But the team of noted amateur Ralph Bogart and Robert Brownell posted the most victories, five in a 10-year stretch beginning in 1954. It is that team that Smith and Crockett are chasing. A Tennessee wealth manager, Smith played college golf at Louisiana State University, where he was a four-year letterman. He was an All-American in 1997, and he posted the second most top-20 finishes of any LSU golfer during his career. A guy named David Toms is first on that list. Smith beat it around the mini-tours for 16 months before giving up the pro game. Reinstated as an amateur in 2004, he won the 2006 Tennessee Mid-Amateur, the 2010 Lupton Invitational title and the 2012 Butler Cup. Crockett actually plays more frequently than Smith, who has a creaky back and two small boys to tend to. A mortgage banker by day, he won the Tennessee Mid-Am the year after Smith did. In April, he and Smith won the Champions Cup Invitational, another really special American four-ball tournament, signaling that they are primed for their Anderson defense.


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