College Teammates Continue Bond at Four-Ball May 27, 2017

Despite a disappointing first round, Jody Roudebush (right)) is having a ball playing with his ex-Indiana University teammate Michael Chambers. (USGA/Chris Keane)

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Michael Chambers and Jody Roudebush wore matching bright green shirts with white shorts for the first day of stroke play in the 3rd U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

“We were using green for ‘go low,’ but that really didn’t work,” Chambers said after the side’s 7-over 77 on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 on Saturday. “That’s okay. We still love each other and we’re not divorcing, that’s for sure.”

Their friendship is underpinned by another color scheme, the cream and crimson of Indiana University, where the two now-45-year-olds were on the men’s golf team and roomed together for four years before graduating in 1994. One off-key round won’t dent a longtime relationship.

“He’s one of my best friends in the world,” said Chambers. “There isn’t anything in this world that I can’t talk to him about and vice versa.”

A college golf connection is a popular way for partnerships to form for the championship. More than two dozen sides are comprised of current or former teammates, with one of the teams – Will Grimmer, who will be a junior at Ohio State University in the fall, and Clark Engle, a recent OSU graduate – had one of the first round’s best scores, a 6-under 65 at Pinehurst No. 8 Course.

“Me and Will roomed together every [road] trip of the year. We’re good buds,” said Engle.

“We both like “Seinfeld” and we go to Bible studies together, go to movies together,” added Grimmer. “We just like to hang out. Our team generally is incredibly close, so I reached out to Clark last year about doing this. And we had a lot of fun last year [at Winged Foot], making to the Round of 16.”

Current and Former College Teammates Competing in 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
Boise State Jacob Byers and Tristan Rohrbaugh
Brigham Young University Spencer Dunaway and Peter Kuest
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Jordan Wright and Jesse Yap
College of William & Mary Alex Shattuck and Thomas Simmonds
Delta State Shane Humphries and David Sinclair
Drexel University Sean Sementz and Jack Wallace
Indiana University Michael Chambers and Jody Roudebush
Lewis University Jason Buffone and Andy Roderique
Loyola Marymount Connor Campbell and Blake Meek
Loyola (Md.) University Connor Flach and Will Wears
Miami (Ohio) University Patrick Flavin and Brian Ohr
Michigan State Casey Lubahn and Jimmy Chestnut
Murray State Will Snodgrass and Jeffrey Wells
Ohio State Clark Engle and Will Grimmer
Ohio University Jimmy Ellis and Chuck Nettles
Penn State Brendan Borst and Thomas McDonagh
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Brandon Mader and Michael Souliotis
Rice University Marioi Carmona and Mitchell Meissner
Rutgers University Jason Bataille and Brian Whitman
Towson University Christopher Baloga and Jeffrey Castle
UC Davis Nicolas Noya and Jesse Bratz
University of Connecticut Eric Dietrich and Jimmy Hervol
University of Dayton Matt Savage and Tim Skufca
University of North Alabama Daniel Creel and Matthew Gourgeot
University of North Texas Brian Hatter and Thomas Kulcak
University of Southern California (2) Stewart Hagestad and Sam Smith; Taylor Wood and Jordan Nasser
University of South Carolina Upstate Matthew Hopper and Richard Oref
Xavier University Daniel Wetterich and Matthew Wetterich
Yale University Michael Lewis-Goldman and Thomas McCarthy

Current Rice University teammates Mario Carmona and Mitchell Meissner also broke par Saturday, shooting 69 on Course No. 2. Rising seniors at the Houston-based school, the two will room together for a third consecutive year this fall.

“We spend so much time together, it’s a neat experience being here,” Carmona said. “I think it helps in this format knowing our games and being close friends who support each other.”

As junior golfers, Carmona and Meissner played in some common tournaments, but hadn’t met before getting to college. “When we started talking at school about where we played, we realized we’d competed in some of the same events but weren’t ever in the same group and never noticed each other’s name or anything.”

Teammates on Yale University’s men’s team in 2010-11, Michael Lewis-Goldman, 25, and Thomas McCarthy, 28, opened with a 2-over 72 on Course No. 2. McCarthy, who graduated from the Ivy League school in 2011 with a psychology degree, and Lewis-Goldman, who got a political science degree in 2014, played together for one season.

“I was a freshman, and he was a senior,” said Lewis-Goldman. “[He] took me under his wing and showed me everything I know. Obviously, it’s a school where academics are first, but I think we managed to put together a decent golf squad and had a good time doing it, which was the most important thing.”

McCarthy, who works in investment banking, had only played two rounds in 2017 prior to the practice rounds this week. The two qualified for this championship last September in Roslyn, N.Y.

“Hours are rough,” McCarthy said of his job. “I don’t know what kind of expectations we had for this. We have similar kinds of carefree attitudes out there. We’re not too serious.”

Michael Lewis-Goldman (left) and Thomas McCarthy played one season together on the Yale University men's golf team. (USGA/Chris Keane)

The vibe of the Four-Ball is enhanced by the pleasure of partnering with a pal, according to Grimmer.

“There are more important tournaments in golf, but I don’t think there’s a more fun golf tournament,” said Grimmer, who qualified for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and once shot a 59 on the resort’s Course No. 1. “It’s still a USGA setup. You are playing great courses – the last two years at Olympic and Winged Foot and now here. At the same time, it’s a little bit more relaxed. It has a club-golf feel because you are with a buddy. The camaraderie of it really makes it fun.”

Chambers and Roudebush, in fact, have been having good times in golf long before they arrived on campus in Bloomington, Ind., meeting at a junior tournament in Anderson, Ind., when they were only 8 years old. Chambers selected Roudebush on site at Edgewood Country Club. “I sized him up on the driving range and picked him,” Chambers said.

“I won the individual competition, he finished second and we won the team,” Roudebush said. “He called me the next year before the tournament to be his partner again.”

“I was 9 and had to find his phone number,” Chambers remembered. “Effectively, that was the first ‘cold call’ in my life.”

Roudebush accepted the invitation. With the friendship now in its fourth decade, golf remains a strong part of the pair’s relationship, solidified each year with a buddies’ outing when two other friends join them for the “Sleep When You’re Dead,” trip, so called for the busy day-night itinerary of their younger days.

“It’s evolved over the last 20 years,” Chambers said. “We used to stay up late. Now we may play 36, watch Fox News and go to bed.”

Bill Fields is a Connecticut-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.

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