Matt Parziale didn’t get much time to celebrate the biggest win of his golf career – he had to get back to work.
“We actually missed our first flight out from Atlanta, the traffic just got so bad. By the time I finally got home it was around 2 A.M.,” Parziale said. “And then I had to be in at 7.”
Parziale, 30, had taken time off from his full-time job in the Brockton, Massachusetts Fire Department to play this week’s U.S. Mid-Am. He’d played in the event three times before, but had never won a match. This time, he won them all.
“Obviously, the more matches you win, the longer you’re there,” Parziale said. “I’m lucky to have a job where I can work in time to play in events and make the time back up later.”
The newest Mid-Am champion will have some serious scheduling to do this upcoming year; with the win, he earned himself a spot in the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, with an invitation to The Masters certain to follow.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) October 13, 2017
“Oh, gosh, that’ll be a good problem to have, I think,” Parziale said when asked how he might work major championships in among his regular shifts. “None of that has sunk in, and everything is such a blur right now. I was trying to go through my phone, and everyone has just been so supportive, reaching out, following along, it’s really been incredible.”
After an eight-birdie barrage in the first 18 holes of Friday’s 36-hole finale at the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club in Atlanta, Parziale sat 6-up over Josh Nichols, a wedding caterer from Kernersville, North Carolina. He would go on to win 8&6, one of the widest margins of victory in the event’s history. “For most of the tournament it was just steady, y’know, rounds of one-under, two-under, some birdies, pars, bogeys,” Parziale said. “But what happened in the final was just special. It was one of those days where everything just fell into place. I was aggressive, I had some good numbers, and the putts kept going in.”
Parziale is a Southeastern grad who played the mini-tours for a few years after college, but regained his amateur status in 2013 and was No. 247 in the World Amateur Rankings entering the event.
Parziale’s father, Vic, is a member of the Brockton Fire Department, too. But he was in Atlanta caddying for his son. He, too, may need to find some time in his schedule for bigger gigs next season.
“He caddies all the big ones,” Matt said of his father. “He used to caddie all of them, and he still makes sure he’s always there for the big ones.”
But at work, it’s clear that Parziale, who is in his fourth year on the squad, won’t get any special treatment. “Some guys follow, and that’s awesome, but if golf doesn’t come up at work I’m definitely not going to be the guy to bring it up,” he said. “I’m happy to keep the two separate; it works well that way and everyone is there with a job to do.”
Parziale didn’t get much time to celebrate Friday night, but said that after his shift on Saturday he’d head up to Thorny Lea, his home course, to catch up with some friends from home. Several, including his fiance, had made it down to Atlanta in time to see his big win, but now he’s got a trophy to show off to the rest of Brockton.
The celebration can’t go too late into the night, though. Parziale is back to work at 7 A.M. Sunday.