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American Heritage International : grad Tyler Strafaci to make major debut at U.S. Open

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06/14/2018 | 02:36am CEST

June 13--Tyler Strafaci comes from a golf family. His grandfather, Frank Strafaci, won the 1935 U.S. Amateur Public Links, played in the Masters and U.S. Open and was the general manager at Doral.

His mother played at the University of Florida, and his father, also named Frank, played in college as well and qualified for seven amateur national championships.

"Never accomplished anything near what Tyler has," he said, however.

That's because Tyler Strafaci, a 19-year-old golfer from Davie who attended American Heritage in Plantation, will be making his debut in a major golf championship at the U.S. Open on Thursday morning.

The former Sun Sentinel Broward County Golfer of the Year has an 8:57 a.m. tee time in Shinnecock Hills, N.Y. He qualified on June 4 by winning a 6-for-1 playoff after posting a 36-hole total of 3-under 141 at The Bear's Club in Jupiter to finish third out of 48 competitors for the final sectional qualifying spot.

Brandt Moser, his coach at American Heritage, said he wasn't surprised to learn Strafaci, who just completed his sophomore year at Georgia Tech, was able to make it this early in his career because of the influence his family has had on him, among other factors.

"You go in the backyard, they've got a putting green," Moser said. "Ty has all the genes you need to play well. He's got the size. He's got the mentality. Parents know what to do, when to do it, how to do it."

It will be Strafaci's second time playing in a PGA Tour event. He played in the Valspar Championship near Tampa in March as an amateur, gaining entry by winning the Valspar Collegiate Invitational as a freshman in April 2017.

He didn't make the cut there, although Frank Strafaci said he played decently. However, that experience will prove useful on the brutal course Moser calls "big boy stuff."

"I never would've thought this was that much bigger of a deal, but it is. It's a zoo," Frank Strafaci said. "This is that on steroids."

The Strafacis rented a house nearby and went up on Saturday. Tyler played nine holes then, got sick with a stomach flu, played 18 for the first time Tuesday and was back at it on Wednesday. Hopefully, the familiarity with the course will be there as he keys in on avoiding a waist-high rough in some areas.

Moser caught a flight to join them on Wednesday. The first time one of his Patriot alumni qualified for a major (T.J. Vogel at the Masters in 2013), he regretted not being there. He hopes his presence can keep Strafaci calm.

"When you come and watch the kids, they think it's high school again and they start having fun and realizing it's just a game," Moser said. "They enjoy it a lot more when you're watching."

Strafaci was an accomplished high school golfer. He set a Broward County record as a senior in the fall of 2015 by shooting under par his first eight 18-hole rounds that season. As a junior, he was part of a team that won a Class 1A state title by 37 strokes.

He enters the U.S. Open with a goal of making the cut. Regardless of whether he makes it, the experience alone of playing on such a stage will go a long way for the budding local golfer.

"The U.S. Open is the hardest, sternest test in U.S. golf, and that's why the best players in the world win it," Frank Strafaci said. "No matter how he plays, it's a great experience for him."

[email protected] / @DavidFurones_


(c)2018 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

© Tribune Content Agency, source Regional News

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