The last time University of Virginia Coach Bowen Sargent, 41, made an appearance in the U.S. Amateur, George W. Bush was in office. It was 1991 at The Honors Course (Tenn.). Nineteen years later he punched a ticket back to the championship after surviving a five-for-one playoff at Birdwood Golf Club in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 2, making a 25-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole.
Sargent stood on the first playoff hole thinking about the odds, knowing he had a 20 percent chance of qualifying. But he knew that his experience of playing in an Amateur, never mind it being 19 years ago, would give him a confidence boost. When his putt dropped in on the second playoff hole, he still had to wait for one player to try and make a 15-footer.
"It was exciting, disbelieving, exhilarating," said Sargent, entering his seventh year as head coach.
What makes Sargent's story more intriguing is that two of his players - Amory Davis and Henry Smart - also qualified. And what if they happened to square off in match play?
"That would be really, really awesome," said Davis. "It would be one of the highlights of my life."
Added Smart: "I'd love it. It'd be something else. I wouldn't treat him as a friend. I'd treat him as a competitor."
Sargent laughed, just saying that it'd be nice if he met one of them in the final.