Pierceson Coody had climbed into his hotel room bed by 6:30 p.m., on Friday night and he didn’t move again. He was already six rounds into the Western Amateur and faced the possibility of a third consecutive 36-hole day on Saturday.
This is why they call the Western one of the most grueling events of the summer.
In the end, Coody prevailed at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, warming up as the day went on before eventually dispatching Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen in the afternoon’s final match, 2 and 1.
It was a soggy week in Indiana, with constant rain – or the threat of rain – impacting most of the championship. Coody had his dad Kyle on the bag, and he endured a 138-hole workout right alongside his son. Both were grateful for a push cart by Saturday because, as Pierceson said, “carrying it would have been insane – brutal.”
If there’s a man who knows the weight a Western Amateur title carries, it’s Kyle. He played the event in the 1980s – played many events on the summer amateur circuit, in fact – and knows “everything about the Western Am and what it means. And what it means to (Pierceson).”
“All these amateur events we keep coming back to,” Pierceson Coody said, “like (Point O’Woods) was last year, that’s where he played this tournament. It’s so cool being able to have him with me and the experience of just playing high-level competitive golf he brings.”
Coody landed in 10th on the stroke-play leaderboard after rounds of 71-71-73-69. From there, he had to take the rest of the week in chunks.
“You have to play a mind game with yourself,” he said. “Like, ‘Alright, I’m going to play 18.’”
In the very first match against Alexander Yang, Coody was 2 down through 11 and felt his game wasn’t there. But a birdie on No. 12 followed by a par on No. 13 and then another chip-in par on No. 13 allowed him to square it. He won on the 17th hole.
Other than at the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur, there aren’t many other amateur events that feature match play. Coody was part of the Texas team that finished runner-up at the 2019 NCAA Championship. He made it to the third round of match play at the U.S. Amateur last year.
After the match against Yang at Crooked Stick, Coody settled down.
“It just could not have gone better for me after that moment,” he said.
His dad remained a reassuring voice when he needed it, which wasn’t often.
“We get along great, he pretty much does everything on his own and then he’ll call me in if he feels unsure about something,” Kyle Coody said. “But he’s a fast player, he’s a committed player. When he sees it, he just goes with it.”
Coody proceeded to knock out Connor Creasy and George Duangmanee on his way to meeting Oklahoma State’s Neergaard-Petersen in the final match. Considering that both players compete in the Big 12, they’re familiar with each other’s games. Coody figures he has played eight or nine of the same tournaments as Neergaard-Petersen, drawing him in the same pairing twice.
Texas players have a long history of success at the Western Am. Most recently, teammate Cole Hammer won in 2018, but Justin Leonard and Ben Crenshaw are also on the list.
Overall, Coody is the seventh Longhorn to win the event.
“I knew my game was there for this week,” Coody said, “and I just had to let it go.”
Lance Ringler contributed reporting.