Connor Schmidt with the W.C. Fownes, Jr. Trophy after winning the 119th WPGA Amateur Championship at Oakmont Country Club.

Schmidt’s senior college golf campaign cut short
By WPGA • June 16, 2020

Venetia, Pa. native, Connor Schmidt sat surrounded by his Drexel University golf teammates and coaches on the morning of March 13th discussing the potential impact COVID-19 could have on his senior golf season. No one could be completely ready for what was coming next.

One hour later, notice from the Colonial Athletic Association. The conference suspends all athletic events indefinitely.

One hour after that, a statement from the NCAA. All remaining winter and spring championships cancelled.

“Tough to put into words the feeling in that room,” Schmidt said. “All the hard work and sacrifice we made as a group working toward a common goal, and it ends like that? We were totally devastated and heartbroken.”

In a blink of an eye, the reigning Frank Fuhrer III College Player of the Year’s college golf career looked to be over.

Luckily for Schmidt, that might not to be the case. The NCAA has since come out with a policy granting all spring student-athletes another year of eligibility, a ruling that Schmidt hopes to take advantage of at Drexel if it all works out.

A self-proclaimed “late bloomer”, Schmidt was a relatively under-recruited player coming out of Peters Township High School.

“The recruiting process was tough. I knew I was good enough to play on the collegiate level but I didn’t have the best resume,” Schmidt said looking back to his high school days.

He contacted all the Division I schools within driving distance looking to get some level of attention from coaches.

“It’s hard to show coaches you have serious potential unless they see you play a few times,” he added.

In the end, he received only two offers, Drexel and St. Bonaventure. To Schmidt, Drexel seemed like the perfect fit athletically and academically. The program had shown continued improvement and generated some great players, and he knew he would be challenged in the classroom.

Schmidt’s career as a Dragon has been nothing short of spectacular. He certainly has already left a lasting impact on the program and its record books. During his junior season, he set the Drexel record for lowest single-season scoring average (71.4), a record he would eventually break during his senior season (70.5). He also posted the school’s lowest 18, 36, and 54-hole totals. Nationally, Schmidt held claim to the lowest final round scoring average (68.38) in all of college golf during his senior year. In total, Schmidt’s career includes three individual victories to go along with many team wins.

Outside of his collegiate success, he captured the 2018 Pennsylvania Amateur at Sunnehanna Country Club and last summer, won the WPGA Amateur at Oakmont Country Club, a course he labels as his favorite in the world.

After college, Schmidt wants to give the professional game a go and has aspirations of playing on the PGA Tour someday. He plans on turning professional shortly after completing college with his Drexel University degree in Business Analytics and Supply Chain Management.

As for now, golf remains on the back-burner for Connor Schmidt during this unprecedented time. Luckily, he has been able to train and work on his short game fundamentals at home to keep his game sharp.

When asked what he was looking forward to most when golf restarts, Schmidt replied, “I really miss the competition and grind of tournaments.” After a short pause he added, “well actually, I miss just about everything at this point.” And that’s something all of us can relate to.

About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.