THE TALON

Former Academic Magnet Golfer takes PGA Tour

Andrew Novak, a member of the 2010 AMHS State Championship team, played his second PGA Tour two weekends ago at The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

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When you hear the words “Academic Magnet Golf,” your immediate thoughts probably surround the highly regarded @amhsgolf Instagram presence, a popular page with over 100 followers. However, there is a rich legacy of Academic Magnet golf that you might not know of. Andrew Novak, a member of the 2010 State Championship team, played his second PGA Tour event this weekend at The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. As a recent member of the Web.com Tour, a tour filled with majority of amateur players, Novak played four years and claimed three tournament titles in his career at Wofford (2013-2017). Novak has had the opportunity to play in big name events since turning pro in 2017, including the RSM Classic in November and The Honda Classic last week. In the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia, Novak carded a 71 and 73 to place at +2 overall, missing the cut but showing his competitiveness in the field. His second invitation to The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida was more fruitful, as Novak placed T-57 at 8 over par. Though his score was much higher than the RSM Classic, this challenging course provided a struggle for many.  A quick aside for all you non-golfers: Novak carded a better score than many golf legends, including familiar names in Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.

To see an Academic Magnet graduate prospering at this professional level of sport is incredibly exciting and worthy of attention. To put into perspective the caliber of this event, 224,642 spectators showed up at this year’s Honda Classic, where Justin Thomas claimed a $1.2 million payout this year (only a portion of the $6.6 million total purse). Contrary to many people’s belief that “golf is not a sport,” it is extremely rigorous to reach this level for any golfer. After playing in college and emerging as a standout on the team, the player then needs to go to Q School, composed of the prequalifying stage, first stage, second stage, and final stage. This may include the golfer  having to leave the United States, as many golfers have to play in tours in China, Latin America, and Canada. Once this stage is complete, the next step on the road to the PGA Tour is the Web.com Tour, where Novak currently plays.

I had the pleasure of discussing Novak’s recent success with Academic Magnet Golf coach Jason Stackhouse. Stackhouse is thrilled to display an article of Novak in the Post & Courier near his desk, flaunting his former student-athlete’s path to the professional level. Stackhouse remembers his superior golf ability, typically shooting around par in high school matches. He also notes that he was not a loud person, often keeping quiet during golf related activities.

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