Having just birdied his final three holes to complete a third-round 66, Ollie Schniederjans waved softly toward a crowd already learning to shout his first name.
He can’t simply tip his hat — he stopped wearing one after he quit baseball at the age of 12. In all other matters, however, the Georgia Tech product looks like a wily veteran.
“It seems like everyone knows who I am,” said Schniederjans. “And that’s pretty cool, I think.”
His play at the past two majors has a lot to do with that. The 22-year-old joined Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only amateurs since 1960 to make the cut at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship in the same season.
His auspicious pro beginnings come on the heels of a successful amateur career which featured two ACC Player of the Year honors to match a pair of first team All-American accolades. It’s a contrast to a player like Jordan Spieth who has made a large dent on the PGA Tour when he could still be in school, but Schniederjans has confidence after watching the Texan.
“Competing against him as a junior golfer and college golfer, you kind of know you belong right there with him,” said Schniederjans. “He’s very special, what he’s accomplished. But it definitely gives you some comfort that you belong here.”
His first three rounds at the Canadian Open (71-69-66) have put him into a tie for 11th entering the final round. Don’t expect the paycheck to be spent frivolously.
“I’ll just be saving now,” Schniederjans said. “I have a lot of golfing and a lot of traveling stuff.”
If he continues like this, the account won’t take too long to grow.