TAMPA — Anthony Maccaglia may be only a senior in college, but he is considered one of the top amateur golfers in America.
He’s also humble — he often refers to himself as a “journeyman,” a player who knows he might spend his career hopping from mini-tour to mini-tour.
Maccaglia, a Jesuit high grad, has a lot more going for him than the title of “journeyman.” His journey started at the age of 4 and led to a scholarship at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, where he stood out enough to become the first Division III golfer in history to earn a spot on the American team in the Palmer Cup, the college equivalent of the Ryder Cup.
He joined nine other amateurs on the team — all from Division I programs. California coach Steve Desimone had the chance to add someone from outside the Division I ranks and he went with Maccaglia.
“It was an unbelievable honor,” Maccaglia said. “I put in a lot of hard work and it was extremely humbling to me.”
It wasn’t always easy. Maccaglia had a golf club in his hands at an early age, but he didn’t really start blooming until he got to Jesuit.
The big Division I colleges weren’t looking his way, but he kept at it. Persistence, he said, is what kept him going. It meant hours at the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, which doesn’t have a driving range, but has a serious 80-yard chipping range. He honed his short game while knowing he was never going to be a long hitter.
“I am always going to have to try to be better,” Maccaglia said. “Hard work pays off and I’ve learned that.”
He never won states while at Jesuit, but he continued to improve. By the summer of 2013, after jumping to the No. 1 spot at Oglethorpe, he made a mark on the national scene, missing the cut for the U.S. Amateur by only two shots. He knew at that time he had come a long way from being a young golfer at Jesuit to being someone who could compete on the national stage.
“I didn’t have any idea what was going to happen after I graduated from Jesuit,” Maccaglia said. “At the time, I was only happy to be considered by a Division III school. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
Maccaglia, a psychology major, harbors no illusions. He says that being a “journeyman” golfer might be as far as it goes, but he still has hopes for the future. He plans to play the mini-tours and go after exemptions for the Web.com Tour, but he’s happy and said he’s already achieved more from golf than he ever thought.
“The game has been great for me. I just have to see where it goes,” he said. “I have been humbled and honored and we’ll see where it ends up.’’