Augusta, GA (WJBF) – Natalie Schmitz’s husband, Sammy, made a hole in one on a par 4 en route to the Mid-Amateur Championship and an invitation to come play in this year’s Masters tournament.
“It hit the green, and I was talking to the person next to me. Then I’m like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s still rolling. It’s still rolling.’ Then it just disappeared. And, we totally freaked out. It was an amazing experience,” NAtalie told us.
Now, Natalie’s husband is taking the break of a lifetime from his day job in the healthcare business, and starting the work week at Augusta National Golf Club.
“It’s a new feeling. I’ve never experienced anything like this on the golf course. I’ve never seen this many people on the course. I’ve never even been to the Masters before. So, it’s all brand new to me. It’s really cool,” Sammy told us.
Sammy knew he’d punched his Masters ticket when he won the Mid American Championship. What he didn’t know was how his family was going to cover the costs. Trips to Augusta to practice, plus travel and accomodations for this special week…it was adding up fast.
Natalie started a GoFundMe account, and simply made a plea to the public. “Honestly, I thought I was gonna get like $5, $10…and two days later, we’re at like 25 grand. I was like, ‘Holy cow, where is this stuff coming from?”
The money was coming from everywhere. Donors nationwide gave the cash to send the family to The Masters.
“It was really just a humbling experience,” Natalie said of the support. “I was astonished. I was humbled. I had no idea it would have taken off like that.”
Now, Sammy and his family, and his best buddy John have made it to Tthe Masters.
“We grew up playing at a nice little muni called Fountain Valley. And, we talked about being Tom Watson or Jack Nicklaus since we were young, playing against each other…dreaming that we’re at The Masters. Now, for him to be here is just unbelievable,” said John Holmes.
And, all those GoFuneMe donors should know this: Sammy and his wife and their little girls are grateful to everyone who’s been a part of this experience. It is a strong support system that he’s going to lean on to make it through Masters week. “I’ve only played 9 holes with all these people and there was a bunch of people yelling, “Go Minnesota’, and stuff like that. It’s really cool to hear that and just to be a part of it all. It’s been fantastic,” Sammy said.
Sammy’s best friend, John, says Sammy is looking good in his practice sessions and he’s confident in his chances. Natalie says she’s hoping her husband becomes the first Mid-Am champ in Masters history to make the cut.