TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State Men’s Golf senior John Pak fired a final-round 74 at Winged Foot Golf Club, finishing 18-over par at the 2020 U.S. Open.
The Scotch Plains, N.J., native became the most recognizable amateur of the week, earning low amateur honors. Pak was honored in the tournament’s ceremony with a silver medal, which also included 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.
During the ceremony, DeChambeau gave his props to the play of Pak. Of the 13 amateurs competing at arguably the toughest major in golf, only Pak remained after being 5-over through the first two rounds.
On Sunday, he secured his first eagle at a major when he buried a 13-foot putt off the fringe on the 304-yard, par-4 sixth hole, which was set up by his 310-yard drive just off the green.
Although just an amateur competing against the very best, Pak came away earning plenty of notoriety. He was the only Metropolitan New York-area player to make the cut, and his inspiring background which included sacrificing some of his life to move with his father to Orlando at a young age earned a good bit of talk on the broadcasts.
“It puts a lot of things into perspective,” Pak said following his final-round press conference when asked about his low amateur championship. “I’ve never played in anything like this – a golf course this hard, the competition this tough. It just proves that all this hard work I’ve done is finally paying off. It shows my game is at a point where I can try and compete against the best players in the world.”
Pak also received a nice surprise when some of his Florida State teammates were able to video chat with him all at once on the U.S. Open’s Cisco jumbo screen.
“They’re like my second family,” Pak said of his teammates who were part of that video chat. “Florida State was one of the best decisions of my life. I love it there, I love my teammates. That was nice to see them there.”
Pak’s parents, who have become a little more known now after he detailed the support and sacrifices they’ve made for him and his golf game, were also able to see his final round in person.
“My parents being able to come out today, and I had it going there for a while, so they got to see me play some pretty good golf in some of the toughest conditions,” Pak said. “They’ve been my biggest supporters my whole life. For them to get out there and watch it, I felt that was really special.”
Overall, Pak tied for 51st at the U.S. Open. He joins an illustrious list of low amateurs at the U.S. Open, including Jon Rahm (2016), Jordan Spieth (2012), Matt Kuchar (1998), Justin Leonard (1993), Phil Mickelson (1990 and 1991) and Fred Couples (1979).
Looking toward the future, the collegiate All-American has his sights set on helping out Florida State in its quest for a national championship this spring.
“I’m really looking forward to the spring,” Pak added. “We start as early as January and we’ve got a really good team. I feel like we have a good shot at winning the national championship this year. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“Obviously, the Walker Cup is something I played in last year and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Playing for your country, representing it is such a cool feeling. You get a lot of nerves, and hopefully we’ll win it again this year. I want to be part of that again.”