AVONDALE, La. — What is a 43-year-old ex-Army and Navy man who has only made one cut in 28 starts on the GPro Tour the past three years doing making his PGA Tour debut this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans?
It’s a fair question and the answer may boggle the mind.
Paresh Amin is competing alongside 15-year Tour veteran Michael Thompson at TPC Louisiana in the Tour’s only two-man team event. On Thursday, the pair shot a best-ball total of 1-under 71, which left them tied for 77th out of the 80-team field.
“It was interesting,” Amin told the Times-Picayune. “It went about the way I pictured it. But overall, I thought it was a really good experience.”
Amin received one of 10 sponsor invites into the tournament when Thompson was a late addition to the field and chose him as his partner. They struck up a friendship playing golf at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Georgia, where Thompson used to live and both are members.
Amin played high school golf but didn’t touch a club during his 16-year military career. It was his wife, Julia, who encouraged him to take up the game again.
“She told me, ‘You need to get out of the house, you’re driving me nuts,’ ” Amin said. “I had all of these DIY projects around the house, and none of them were finished, so I picked up the clubs and decided to do this for a living.”
Amin has competed on the GPro Tour for the past three years and to say he’s struggled is putting it mildly. He missed the cut or withdrew in 27 of 28 events, with a tie for 79th in the 2020 Columbia (South Carolina) Open, a 36-hole event. He also shot a not-so tidy 42-over for four rounds at Mackenzie Tour Q-School this year.
“I’m not used to this kind of stuff. When you go on a (military) assignment, you get the call and you fly into another country and you have a job to do,” he explained to Jeff Duncan of Nola.com. “There’s a lot of lag time to golf. There’s all this build-up to this. I felt like I kind of got in my rhythm on the back nine.”
Amin failed to make a birdie in the round but he canned an 11-foot par putt at No. 11 and made a par they used at No. 15 after Thompson made bogey. The team also counted his bogey at the third hole when Thompson made a double.
Sponsor exemptions are just that — up to the whim of the sponsor. Alex Fitzpatrick entered the second round at the Zurich Classic one off of the lead with his brother and was the main reason his big brother, Matt, the reigning U.S. Open champion and winner of last week’s RBC Heritage, signed up to play this week. Sponsor invites always have been a mixed bag with celebrities such as Tony Romo taking up spots that could go to more qualified players and potentially change their lives with a big week. Amin has one of the thinner resumes for a FedEx Cup event that we’ve seen for a sponsor invite in some time.
“These guys out here obviously have an advantage over me,” he said. “They’ve been doing it their whole life. I’m just trying to crack the code and make it full time out here.”