Fraternity Brothers Reunite at Old Warson September 17, 2016 | ST. LOUIS, Mo. By Tom Mackin

Andy Frost (left) and Dan Levinson, two fraternity brothers at Duke, are soaking up their first experience playing a USGA championship. (USGA/Chris Keane)

U.S. Senior Amateur Home

Almost four decades after they met as fraternity brothers at Duke University, Andy Frost and Dan Levinson found a good reason to get together at a golf course: they both qualified for the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship that began on Saturday at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.

It’s a long way from the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house at Duke University where Frost and Levinson first met.

“There was a guy in Dan’s class from St. Louis who came to my dorm one day and dragged me over to a party at the Beta Theta Pi,” said Frost, an orthodontist in St. Louis who grew up playing golf. “At that time the fraternity was probably half New Yorkers, a bunch of North Carolinians and three guys from St. Louis. Dan and I struck up a fast friendship and eventually lived right next to door to each other in the house. We’ve kept in touch ever since.”

“He was always the guy with the camera back then,” the 56-year-old Frost said of Levinson, who is president of Moxie Pictures in New York, N.Y., and has produced numerous golf documentaries, including “More Than a Game,” a USGA documentary about William Powell and Clearview Golf Club in Dayton, Ohio. “He was always going to be in that business no matter what he studied. Everybody knew that.”

“I didn’t know that he was going to be an orthodontist, but we all heard about Frostie playing golf,” said Levinson, 58. “I didn’t play golf back then so it wasn’t even on my radar screen.”

Frost, who has played in seven previous USGA championships (from the 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur to the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur), grew up right down the street from Old Warson Country Club.

“I used to sneak on when I was 12 and get balls out of the creeks,” said Frost, who estimates he has played the course 60 times. “You have to drive the ball well here, that’s number one. If you don’t hit the fairway, there’s no chance you’re going to be able to get it anywhere near the hole. You also have to lag-putt well. Anytime you get a nice two-putt par, you’re gaining.”

“Everywhere I go around the club, people are like, Andy Frost this and Andy Frost that,” said Levinson, competing in his first USGA championship. “I got a ride from a USGA official who saw my Duke tag and asked if I knew Andy Frost. The guy’s a local hero.”

The old friends played golf together for the very first time six years ago at the Duke University Golf Club in Durham, N.C., during a fraternity reunion. “I remember seeing Dan then and thinking he was a very good player,” said Frost. “He told me he was getting into competitive golf, so I started following him on Facebook.”

When Levinson qualified for the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur last month at Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale, N.Y., he sent Frost a picture of the official USGA championship invitation. “I was sitting at home thinking, you gotta be kidding me,” Frost said. “I thought, now I have to qualify, too.”

He did more than just qualify: Frost was the medalist in the St. Louis sectional qualifier at the Country Club of St. Albans in St. Albans, Mo., despite hitting a ball out of bounds on the 10th hole. He stood at 3 over par before reeling off five birdies. He immediately sent Levinson a picture letting his college buddy know that he would see him in St. Louis.

“Of course he couldn’t just qualify, he had to be the medalist,” said Levinson with a laugh.

So what happens if the two old friends were to advance to match play and find themselves as opponents?

“You play as hard as you can no matter who you are playing,” said Frost. “Believe me, to make match play in a USGA championship is not easy. This will be my eighth attempt and I have never advanced to match play yet. That’s a big goal.”

“Look, if that happens, I would hope it would be a Henrik Stenson-Phil Mickelson thing like at this year’s Open Championship where we both went out there and just tore it up,” said Levinson. “Whoever played better would win.”

Arizona resident Tom Mackin is a frequent contributor to USGA websites. Email him at temackin@aol.com.

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