If you were watching the final round of the last Sunday’s 3M Open on the PGA Tour, you saw a thrilling finish during which 20-year-old tour rookie Matthew Wolff, playing in only his third tournament since turning pro, eagled the final hole to edge veteran Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa.
What you may not have noticed was that Wolff’s caddie was 36-year-old Steve Lohmeyer, who won the Ohio Division II golf championship for Oakwood High School in 1999 before graduating from Kent State University.
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It was another in a series of triumphs for Wolff, the Oklahoma State golfer who won the NCAA individual championship and received the Jack Nicklaus Award as college player of the year.
Needing a birdie on the last hole to tie and an eagle to win, Wolff rolled in a long putt for the win and received an enthusiastic congratulations from Lohmeyer, who also received a big lift from the victory.
“I’m still speechless,” Lohmeyer said Wednesday night when I reached him by phone in Moline, Ill., where he is caddying for Wolff this week in the John Deere Classic. “I’m so proud of Matthew, the way he handled himself. It was fantastic. It was very surreal for me.”
While Wolff earned a two-year exemption to PGA Tour events and an invitation to major tournaments, including the 2020 Masters, Lohmeyer not only will receive a nice check (10 percent is common) from Wolff’s $1,152,000 prize money, but he received a huge mental boost at a time when he needed one.
Lohmeyer has been without a regular job since parting ways with golfer Scott Stallings.
“It hasn’t been the best run for me,” he said. “I was in a tough spot. You wonder if you’re doing a good job. Everything around me I was very content with, but I felt strongly about (not) working with a team. I believe in myself as a caddie, but I was seriously thinking about giving up caddying and going back to Scottsdale (Ariz.).”
Everything changed when Lohmeyer got the offer to carry Wolff’s bag.
He knew a lot about Wolff and his ability because he had stayed in touch with Donnie Darr, who had recruited Lohmeyer for Kent State 19 years ago and coached him for three years. Darr, who was head coach at Ohio State from 2009-15, is now an assistant for coach Alan Bratton at Oklahoma State.
Lohmeyer thought he might get the caddying assignment with Wolff when he joined the tour, but some of Wolff’s handlers chose instead to hire veteran caddie J.P. Fizgerald, who previously worked for Rory McIlroy.
Lohmeyer met Wolff at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Tournament in February when he tied for 50th. “We talked there and kept in touch,” Lohmeyer said. They met again when Wolff was in Phoenix the week of the Masters and in Detroit on June 28 after Wolff missed the cut in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“Then everything aligned at the right time,” Lohmeyer said. The victory was his second. He caddied for Brendon Todd when Todd won the Byron Nelson Classic in 2014.
Lohmeyer’s girlfriend, Jenna Ellrich, and college roommate Phil Bojc were there for this one. “I started to give Jenna a big hug and I started crying,” he said.
• Austin Greaser of Vandalia will be in the field for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship which begins Monday (July 15) at The Inverness Club in Toledo. Greaser tees off at 2:26 p.m.
• Qualifying rounds for the U.S. Amateur championship will be held Monday (July 15) at Coldstream Country Club and Tuesday (July 16) at Camargo Country Club. Both clubs are in Cincinnati. The U.S. Amateur is Aug. 12-18 at Pinehurst Resort & Golf Club in North Carolina.
The 96th Women’s State Amateur Invitational and third Mid-Amateur Invitational will be held next week at Piqua Country Club. There will be 64 players in the Open Division and 24 in the Mid-Amateur division for those 30 years old by July 22.
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