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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

HBCU golf alum Willie Mack III starts strong in PGA Major debut

HBCU golf alum Willie Mack III starts strong in PGA Major debut


The U.S. Open is regarded as our nation’s golf national championship. The PGA Major Championship features the best golfers on the PGA Tour, select amateurs, and qualifiers. The tournament is played on public courses, unlike other majors that play at exclusive country clubs. Former HBCU golfer Willie Mack III from Bethune-Cookman University is in the field after qualifying in the play-in tournament. It is his first major championship since he turned professional in 2011.

After one round he sits inside the top 40 with a final score of 71, which is just 1 over par. He is just one stroke from being in 16th place overall and two strokes from being in the Top 10. Unlike some tournaments that are set up for golfers to score low, the U.S. Open intends to challenge the golfers to score par.

This year’s open is being played in North Carolina at the famed Pinehurst No.2 course. It has been the site of the U.S. Open before, including. Tiger Woods’ second U.S. Open in 2002. Woods is in the field this week.

Mack has been blazing his trail the hard way, earning it piece by piece. After competing in the PGA Works at Daytona Beach, FL HBCU Bethune-Cookman University, he would eventually make his way to the APGA Tour after playing around the world. He would win the APGA and that would propel him to have success on the Korn Ferry Tour, a development league for the PGA Tour,

HBCU US Open PGA Tour Willie Mack III HBCU US Open PGA Tour Willie Mack III

In 2021, he was awarded a Charlie Sifford exemption by Tiger Woods and played in the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational. He would continue to make his way after living out of his Ford Mustang. Mack’s journey is one of dedication and it is paying dividends at this juncture in his career,

No tournament is won or lost in the first round, but Mack’s first 18 holes in a major PGA Tournament puts him in position to make the cut. Starting on the back nine, Mack would par the first three holes before making his first birdie in a major. Mastering the 13th hole, Mack would need just three strokes to finish the hole, He would come right back and par the 14th hole.

He would birdie the 15th hole making haste of another par-3.  He parred the 16th hole before his first error, a bogey on the 17th hole. He would par the 18th before completing his front nine with another par and an out score of 34. Par for the U.S., Open this year is 70, so he was in a prime position.

Rolling around to the first hole, he would par the first four holes before a birdie on the 5th. He would face his toughest stretch coming down the stretch with three bogeys, leaving him at 1-over-par for the tournament.

It was a phenomenal start to his major championship career. Several big names in the game struggled. Tiger Woods carded a 4-over-par 74, Jordan Speith finished at 2-over-par and Dustin Johnson finished at 4-over-par just to name some major players in the game.

Willie Mack III has positioned himself for what will be a crucial Friday. He must maintain pace in the field to make the cut and make it to play the weekend. It would mean not only a good payday for the former HBCU golfer but the most important tournament of his to date.

HBCU golf alum Willie Mack III starts strong in PGA Major debut







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