Lemieux wins 38th Mid-Amateur Championship
By Mike Dudurich • September 27, 2023
It was going to happen, that's been obvious for some time now.
The young man had a lot of things going for him. He is 6-4, quite athletic, can hit the golf ball a mile and has one more thing. He's the son of Mario Lemieux, one of the all-time athletes not only in Pittsburgh but throughout the world of hockey, and some of those genes have made their way into the young man, Austin Lemieux.
At the 38th West Penn Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship at Nemacolin Woodlands on Wednesday, Lemieux won his first big tournament.
While the whole day was a struggle - a chilly start and a significant wind blew all day - both Lemieux and his closest pursuer, Rick Stimmel, both had a tough time in the morning first round. Lemieux shot 75 and Stimmel 76.
"I just didn't have my game in the first round," Lemieux said, "I wasn't sharp but I knew I'd been playing well for a couple months and I needed to get back to that."
"I didn't play very well in the first round and then all of a sudden I get it to one-under," Stimmel said. "We got to the second round and I played good."
The scorecards of the two were very similar. Both had five bogeys on the first 18 and both put together five-birdie, no-bogey rounds in the afternoon.
"Hey, with two holes to go, we were tied," Stimmel said. "He made a good birdie on No. 8 and he wins by one. Listen, Austin can play. I play a lot of golf with him. He's very long and he has all the shots. Those are good things for a young man with higher goals."
Lemieux has already pre-qualified for Korn Ferry Tour and Stimmel believes he has a great shot to get through the first stage of that.
"I've been right there for a while but I knew I was going to have to be patient and I was today," he said. "This was my first win as an amateur. I've won some other things but this was the first "real" amateur."
He said the morning round was not a matter of nerves but rather him just not making the shots when he needed to. He pointed to a number of chips that could have made a difference in how the day went, but he corrected that in the afternoon.
"I know I'm ready," Lemieux said. "I've worked hard and I think it's starting to pay off."
Lemieux, as you might expect, was pleased and proud of his performance, As was his dad, who couldn't be at Nemacolin Woodlands on Wednesday.
"Yeah, he sent me a nice text. Told me he was very proud and that all the hard work paid off," Lemieux said. "The whole family was very proud."
Call it a first step in what could well be another great career by a guy named Lemieux.
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 nearly 37,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund and Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame.