Coody Twins Keep Winning, Can’t Meet Until U.S. Am Final
August 15, 2019 | PINEHURST, N.C.
By Stuart Hall
Twin brothers Parker and Pierceson Coody are cognizant that their names are on opposite sides of the U.S. Amateur Championship match-play bracket. That reality and their concerted march into the Round of 16 on Thursday morning has heightened talk of a possible Coody clash in Sunday’s 36-hole final at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.
“Yeah, it just happened to work out that we’re on opposite sides, but we’re not talking about it because there is too much business to take care of before we get to that point,” said Parker, who won four out of five holes early in his Round-of-32 match against Shiryu Oyo, of Japan, and rolled comfortably to a 5-and-4 victory.
Meanwhile, Pierceson won the first hole against Van Holmgren, of Plymouth, Minn,, never trailed and won on the 17th hole, 3 and 1.
Aside from being successful twins who contributed to a team runner-up finish for the University of Texas in at the NCAA Championships in May, the Coody brothers are also known for being the grandsons of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody.
The twins, 19, of Plano, Texas, have heard countless stories about their grandfather’s playing days, which include the 1962 U.S. Amateur here at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2. The senior Coody advanced to the semifinals before losing to Downing Gray, 3 and 2. Labron Harris Jr. captured that U.S. Amateur, the first of 10 USGA championships played here. Coody also competed in the 1994 U.S. Senior Open on Course No. 2.
“It’s still my favorite course,” said Coody, 82, of Course No. 2 in a phone interview on Thursday after his grandsons reached the Round of 16. “I think you have to be proficient in all aspects of your game, and if you’re deficient in any one area, then you will be exposed. One of the main keys I mentioned to the boys is distance control with the irons. The greens are not that big, so if you can put the ball in the middle of the greens you are only going to have 20 to 25 feet left.”
Parker was most appreciative of the support their grandfather has been sending them from Texas.
“I know this is where he got his Masters berth as an amateur, but he hasn’t talked much about that,” Parker said. “He’s been sending texts of encouragement to both of us.”
Heading into this week, Pierceson was considerably higher than his brother in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, sitting at No. 31, while Parker was No. 222. They each shot 3-over-par 143 in stroke play. Now, Parker is attempting to put a positive spin on an otherwise mediocre summer season.
"I'm not at all surprised, because they are fantastic players."--Charles Coody, 82, 1971 Masters champion and Coody twins' grandfather
“Coming off NCAAs was awesome, obviously didn’t get the job done and would have liked to, but still a great experience,” said Parker, who went 2-1 in the NCAA Championships, including a 6-and-5 victory over Daulet Tuleubayev in a 3-2 loss to Stanford University in the final. “Then this summer has been OK. I missed a couple of cuts [at the North & South Amateur Championship] and at the Western Amateur, but have had a few good finishes. Just trying to have a good tournament here before going back to school.”
The twins are making their grandfather proud, who said of their success so far this week: “I’m not at all surprised because they are fantastic players. Pierceson has probably exhibited a bit more of late, but Parker is playing some good golf as well. I think Pierceson has a bit more imagination in executing shots.”
Through Wednesday morning, Parker, who reached the Round of 32 three times in the U.S. Junior Amateur, was only getting better.
“Finally drove it well today,” he said. “I haven’t been driving the ball well, but it’s gotten progressively better each day. That was a big thing today, get in the fairway first. From there, I was scoring with my wedges and putter. Distance control, ball control … they’re all coming together. So it was easy.”
Easy on Course No. 2? That may sound surprising, but through their first two matches at this championship, the twins have almost made it look that way. Parker has led for 25 of the 27 holes he has played, while Pierceson has played 30 and led 27.
If that kind of performance continues, they may just find themselves squaring off on Sunday.
Stuart Hall is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work frequently appears on USGA digital channels.