A two-time champion of the Flagstick Open Amateur Championship is ready to take on the U.S. Amateur.
Kingston, Ontario’s Noah Steele is one of four Canadians who will be part of the elite field next week at Bandon Dunes in Oregon for the playing of the 120th playing of America’s National Amateur.
Also playing in Oregon are three other Ontario-based golfers, Matthew Anderson, Garrett Rank, and Johnny Travale.
While Rank, at 32, is a veteran of eight U.S. Amateurs, Steele, at 22 and a recent graduate of Sam Houston State is making his first appearance. Even so, the Team Canada members feels he is ready. We caught up with Steele, now the #136 player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings just a day ahead of his departure to the west coast.
“I’m very excited,” shared Steele, who earned his way into the Amateur this year via his world ranking since there were no qualifiers. “This has been an event that has been on the list for me to want to get into before moving forward into things post-amateur golf so I am quite excited to get out there. It’s an awesome golf course, an awesome area of the world, and I look forward to experiencing that.”
A Different Preparation Schedule
While it has been a strange year for many things in the world, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Steele says he has worked hard to make sure he is prepared to take on some of the best amateurs in the world.
“Yeah, I’ve tried to make the most of it,” he says of the year that has not afforded a full schedule since he returned from college where the NCAA season was cut short. “I’ve tried to play some mini-tour, small professional events type things as an amateur (finding success as a co-champion at a Toronto Player’s Tour event); those have been great to check how my game was, on top of lots of time with personal coaches. Those have all helped make me comfortable as possible for competition, so I am ready to go.”
Walking alongside Steele in Oregon will be Team Canada’s Men’s Head Coach Derek Ingram who will also serve as his caddy. Knowing Ingram has been a player on the pro tours, plus working for a long-time with many top players is only a positive, says Steele. “He’s a guy with a lot of experience and this isn’t his first rodeo, as he says. He’s done a bunch of these and I think that will provide me with a lot of comfort and reassurance with doing certain things. I think we’ll work well together; we’ll have a good time doing it, and it will be great to have him there for support and to help.”
Even with a field reduced to 264 from 312 this year, Steele says his mind-set will remain the same as he plays 36 holes over to the Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails courses in pursuit of a spot in match play.
“There is still the same number of spots available for match play in that 64. That number didn’t change. Sure there is less guys but I think you still have to go in with the mindset to shoot as low as you can and not settle with middle of the pack or being 60th or just barely getting in to the match play. You want to have some confidence heading into the matches so you can do some damage there.”
With other Canadians in the field, alongside many college players who he knows, Noah says he is comfortable with the challenge ahead and how he fits into one of the biggest amateur golf events in world, one where an invite to The Masters is also on the line for the winner.
“They’re the best amateurs in the world and that’s where I want to be, and the company I want to be a part of.”
Steele says he will play some practice rounds with collegiate friends along with Garrett Rank. “It will be nice to just to help settle in and kind of give a cool feel to the event. To be able to catch up as well in what has been a a fairly unconventional year.”
The first official round of play at the 120th U.S. Amateur will take place on Monday, August 10th. The event is scheduled to conclude on August 16th.