For Sammy Schmitz, snagging a remarkable win at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship two weeks ago in Florida was the easy part. Schmitz seized victory with a stunning hole-in-one on a par-4, while his wife, who had traveled through the night to see him play, looked on.
Securing a ticket to the 2016 Masters—a lifelong dream for the 35-year-old Schmitz—was a complicated triumph for the avid golfer. Schmitz lives in River Falls, Wisconsin, a small town where winter means months of heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Preparing for the tournament would require frequent trips to Georgia to practice, leaving his wife Natalie to care for their two young daughters.
On Sunday, Natalie Schmitz turned to crowd funding platform GoFundMe to try to raise the money needed to pay for her husband’s flights to and hotel rooms in Augusta leading up to the event in April. The page, which has been active for all of 17 hours, has so far garnered $3,570 of the asked-for $30,000.
In her message to potential donors, Natalie noted that Schmitz’s joy at winning the coveted spot has been tempered by stress as the financial realities of participation became clear. “I am determined to raise enough money, with your help, to send my most deserving husband to the Masters,” she wrote. Thirty thousand dollars should certainly get him there—several times over.