Eight months removed from a thrilling 36-hole final at the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, Tyler Strafaci and Charles “Ollie” Osborne are reunited this week on the other side of the country. By virtue of being U.S. Amateur finalists, Strafaci, who rallied from 5 down to win the match on the 36th hole, and Osborne earned an invitation to the 2021 Masters. They are also both exempt into the 121st U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June.
For Strafaci, his 1-up victory continued a family legacy that began with his late grandfather, Frank Strafaci Sr. Frank won the 1935 U.S. Amateur Public Links and later went on to compete in a pair of Masters and U.S. Opens, finishing ninth in the latter two years after his APL triumph.
Tyler, 22, of Davie, Fla., won his last four matches at Bandon Dunes on the final hole. With father, Frank Jr., on his bag and mother, Jill, and older brother, Trent, walking every step of the way, Tyler closed out Osborne, a 21-year-old from Reno, Nev., with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 closing hole.
Moments after sealing the win, the Georgia Tech standout enjoyed an emotionally charged celebration with his family. A congratulatory embrace also came from 2021 USA Walker Cup captain Nathaniel Crosby as Strafaci’s victory guaranteed him a spot in next month’s Match at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., just a short drive from his family’s residence. A Walker Cup berth was not lost on Tyler because his grandfather never made a USA Team, despite his sterling amateur record.
Strafaci’s victory gave Georgia Tech a second consecutive – and fourth overall – U.S. Amateur title. He joined legendary Bob Jones (5 wins), Matt Kuchar (1997) and Andy Ogletree (2019) on the Havemeyer Trophy.
The two finalists put on a show for the national-television audience on NBC/Golf Channel, combining for 25 birdies and one eagle. Now they are at Augusta National Golf Club, seeking to repeat their remarkable U.S. Amateur performances on an even bigger stage. They are two of the three amateurs competing at Augusta as they are joined by Joe Long, of England, who won the 2020 British Amateur. Normally, six amateurs receive invitations, but COVID-19 canceled the 2020 U.S. Mid-Amateur, 2020 Asia-Pacific Amateur and 2021 Latin America Amateur championships.
Of the 88 invitees, 16 are USGA champions. Six are past U.S. Amateur champions as Strafaci is joined by Bryson DeChambeau (2015), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013), Viktor Hovland (2018), the aforementioned Kuchar and Phil Mickelson (1990). Brian Harman (2003), Scottie Scheffler (2013), Jordan Spieth (2009, 2011) and Will Zalatoris (2014) are the four U.S. Junior Amateur champions competing.
Dustin Johnson, who won the rescheduled Masters in November, is among eight U.S. Open champions in the field, including DeChambeau, who claimed the title by six strokes last September at Winged Foot. The others are two-time winner Brooks Koepka (2017, 2018), Rory McIlroy (2011), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012), Spieth (2015) and Gary Woodland (2019). Bernhard Langer (2010) is the only U.S. Senior Open champion in the field.
Strafaci gets the traditional grouping with the defending champion. Lee Westwood is the third man in the group, which goes off Thursday at 10:34 a.m. ET. Osborne is grouped with 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples and 2018 Open champion Francesco Molinari at 12:24 p.m. on Thursday.
Seventeen players have captured the Masters and U.S. Open titles, an elite fraternity that includes nine-time USGA champion Tiger Woods, who is at home in Florida recovering from injuries sustained in an automobile accident two months ago. Spieth and Johnson are the only golfers in this year’s Masters to have both major titles to his name.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.