Out of his age group, but not out of his league

Kyler Schwamb lines up a putt Tuesday during the Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship at Edina Country Club. Schwamb, 15, who will be a sophomore at Farmington High School in the fall, was the youngest player in the tournament and made the 36-hole cut.

Farmington’s Schwamb is youngest golfer at state open and state amateur tourneys

The past couple of weeks, Kyler Schwamb could look around the practice range and see state champions, national champions, college All-Americans, and golfers who have tried to reach the PGA Tour.

And Schwamb, at age 15, was playing against them. It would have been understandable if he was intimidated.

But he wasn’t.

Schwamb, who will be a sophomore at Farmington High School this fall, qualified for the two biggest men’s tournaments on the state golf schedule – the Minnesota State Open and Minnesota Golf Association Amateur Championship. That’s part of a recent hot streak in which he also won the boys 13-15 age group at the Minnesota Junior PGA Championship and tied for seventh in his age group at the Twin Cities Junior Championship.

“This has been a nice experience. I’m getting to play with a lot of really good players,” Schwamb said Tuesday after completing his second round of the MGA Amateur at Edina Country Club. “Being the youngest, it’s like, ‘These guys are older and I don’t know if I should be competing with them.’ But I guess I earned my spot.”

He proved he belonged, too. Schwamb was the youngest player in the field at the state open and state amateur, and made the cut in both tournaments. He tied for 42nd out of 156 players at the Minnesota State Open from July 7-9 at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo. He shot 4 over for the tournament and had a 1-under-par 71 in the second round.

Schwamb shot 73 and 75 in his first two rounds at the MGA Amateur this week before finishing with an 80 on Wednesday to tie for 60th. He said he will play more Minnesota Junior PGA tournaments this summer and LumpCo Pop-Up Tour events in the fall. The LumpCo Tour name is a play on the nickname of Minnesota-born touring pro Tim “Lumpy” Herron, who helped launch an off-season tour for high school players.

Two players from what would have been Farmington High’s 2020 boys varsity golf lineup played in the state amateur. Also qualifying was June graduate Kyle Berg, who missed the 36-hole cut despite shooting even-par 72 in his second round. Schwamb and Berg play out of Southern Hills Golf Course, where both also work.

“I’ve been on a roll,” Schwamb said. “I just started working with a new coach, Brent Snyder, and he’s helped me already. Earlier this year I met with him three or four times. He’s just making little tweaks and making me better.

“And my putting has been really good. At Royal (in the state open) I had the least amount of putts I’ve ever had in a tournament.”

Are his expectations higher now, given the recent success?

“It’s definitely lifted them up somewhat,” he said. “(Tuesday) I shot 75 and that’s pretty dang good now that I think about it. But compared to the other rounds I’ve been playing it’s not as good. I’ll still take it, 100 percent. I’m glad I made the cut.”

Schwamb also plays hockey in the Farmington program. He joined the Tigers golf team in seventh grade, giving up lots of distance to his competitors but making it up with a solid short game.

“I was on the team in seventh and eighth grade and I’d play with older kids,” he said. “It’s kind of prepared me for these tournaments. I was used to playing with older and bigger people.

“I was really small back then, so I was just trying to make par on every hole. It really helped me grow. My short game was pretty good but the distance wasn’t there. Now that I’m actually starting to get the distance, it’s making a difference.”

Schwamb played several rounds out of state in the winter in preparation for the 2020 high school golf season. The COVID-19 pandemic caused spring sports to be canceled, but he started playing again at Southern Hills once that course was allowed to open in April. The LumpCo Tour quickly organized spring tournaments for high school and college players who had lost their 2020 seasons, and Schwamb played some of those.

It helped. Now, “the goal is to (Division I), like it is for a lot of people,” he said. “So far I’ve heard from one or two DIIIs.

“I’ll grind all summer long and all winter, and hopefully I’ll get more distance and improve my consistency." 

State amateur

Farmington native Sammy Schmitz and Eagan native Trent Peterson tied for third in the MGA Amateur that concluded Wednesday. Both finished the tournament at 9 under par, three strokes behind the winner, Frankie Capan of North Oaks Golf Club.

Schmitz, the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, shot a bogey-free 66 in Wednesday’s final round to move into the top five. Peterson, the 2019 MGA Men’s Player of the Year, challenged for the lead before bogeying three of his final five holes.

Other local players making the cut at the MGA Amateur included Maxwell Tylke (tied for 21st, 1 over par), Jamie Quesnel (tied for 32nd, 4 over), Justin Burleson (tied for 38th, 6 over) and Ralph Baxley (tied for 56th, 11 over).

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