Rookie Ollie Schniederjans finds inspiration in Jordan Spieth

Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:03pm EDT
 
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By Tim Wharnsby

OAKVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - Ollie Schniederjans has put his name on the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open, picking up in his first tournament as a professional where he left off as an amateur at the British Open.

The 22-year-old American, who turned pro this week, birdied his final three holes at Glen Abbey to post a six-under 66 on Saturday and move into the top-10 midway through the third round at 10-under 266.

The strong performance by the former Georgia Tech college player comes on the heels of a tie for 12th at St. Andrews and is another example of a young gun poised to make his mark on the PGA Tour. Schniederjans believes many young players have made a seamless jump to the pro game because of the travel schedule and quality of golf played at the college level. He also said that watching Jordan Spieth, who is 42 days younger than Schniederjans, win the Masters and U.S. Open this year gave him confidence that he could find immediate success as a pro. “Everybody’s path is different,” Schniederjans said. “But competing against him as a junior golfer and college golfer, you kind of know that you belong right there with him.

"What he has done is amazing. He’s very special, what he’s accomplished. But it definitely gives you some comfort that you belong out here.” Schniederjans has been on the radar in the golf world for a long time. He shot 64 in a Georgia State qualifier at age 14 and was the world number one ranked amateur golfer for 41 weeks. “I’m just comfortable with who I am and I’m secure with how I feel about myself,” he said, when asked about his confidence.

The lanky 6-foot-1 (1.85 m) Schniederjans certainly stands out, being one of the few PGA Tour players who does not wear a hat on the course, and said he will not change to rake in sponsorship dollars.

“There are things more important than sponsors,” said Schniederjans, who will play next week at the Quicken Loans National in Gainesville, Virginia, and hopes to play in two more events before the end of the season.

(Editing by Larry Fine)