Thomas Walsh brought an unheralded but deserving resume to Niagara Falls country club last week. He was an academic all-american as a freshman at the University of Virginia, then was named honorable mention all-american for his golf as sophomore this year. He placed 28th individually at the NCAA championship in June, and now has a major amateur golf title to his credit. He was composed down the stretch, allowing only a 72nd-hole bogey to mar his final-round scorecard in this year’s Porter Cup. From the summer amateur tournament road, he graciously emailed us answers to our interview questions. Have a read on Thomas Walsh, 2018 Porter Cup champion
1. Tell us who you are, where you hail from, and where you attend college.
I am Thomas Walsh from High Point, NC and I go to University of Virginia.
2. Growing up around there, how were you introduced to golf and where did you play most of your golf growing up?
My dad introduced me to golf when I was two but I was never that interested with it so I played baseball and basketball until I was about 12 and quit to focus on golf. I played most of my golf at Willow Creek Country Club and tournaments in NC until I ramped it up and started to compete on a national level.
3. When did you realize that you wanted to play golf competitively, and what or who, helped you to reach that decision?
My first tournament was when I was 9 was at Tanglewood Park Golf Course in NC and there were three people in the field and I shot 99-98 and finished third and got a trophy and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I was hooked from then on out. I have been pretty motivated since then and driven to fulfill my dream of winning on the PGA Tour.
4. You were the only golfer to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. Had you played here before? If not, what about the course suited you, or fit your eye?
I played the Porter Cup 2 years ago and believe I finished top 20. I like the course a lot because its scoreable if you drive it well and putt it well and those are the two best facets of my game.
5. You shot 65 on Thursday. Only one golfer shot lower all week. What thought or swing key did you lock into that day, that allowed you to go low?
I just kept it simple that day because my game had been trending in a good direction the past couple weeks. Sometimes the more simple I make it the better it turns out.
6. With the lead for most of Friday and Saturday, what mental approach, or shot routine, allowed you to stay in the moment and execute properly?
I just kept it as simple as possible and kept a positive attitude. Ultimately when you are competing to win a golf tournament you are going to face adversity and the person who reacts to that adversity the best is going to come out on top. I have figured out my formula for success and implemented that anytime I have gotten into contention and it has worked.
7. Tell us about your caddie and what he brought you this week at Niagara Falls country club?
My good friend Alec Bard caddied for me. He is the brother of my old Teammate Derek Bard and played in the morning. He came out for my last 12 holes. More than anything he was there to keep the mood light and keep my mind off golf. He shared some funny stories with me and made sure I stayed in the moment. We never thought ahead about anything and always focused on the shot in front of us. He and I are great friends and that’s a memory I will never forget and will always be grateful for what he did.
8. Regarding your game, if there is a go-to shot you have, when all is on the line, what is it and how do you hit it?
My go to shot under pressure is a fade. I can hit fade driver under about any circumstance with confidence it is going to go where I want.
9. What question have we (and everyone else) failed to ask, that you would love to answer? Ask the question and answer it, please. Thank you for your time.
What;s the story behind your story?
None of this would be possible without the help from my family, coaches at University of Virginia, physical therapist Eric Hegedus and swing coach Brian Mogg. These people do all the work behind the scenes and are a massive part of my success.
Thomas Walsh swing sequence from Thursday’s second round, 3rd fairway, Niagara Falls country club