Cinderella story firefighter qualifies for 2018 Masters, U.S. Open with Mid-Am win

We already have golf's best Cinderella story of 2018, and it's not even November of 2017 yet. Matt Parziale won the U.S. Mid-Amateur 8 and 6 over Josh Nichols last week, and as a result he gets to play in the 2018 Masters and 2018 U.S. Open. An incredible prize for a washed-out mini-tour player whose day job is as a full-time firefighter in Massachusetts.

In the 36-hole match play final, Parziale actually shot a 63 over the first 18 holes to blow away Nichols at Capital City Golf Club's Crabapple Course. The afternoon was mostly a foregone conclusion.

"I didn't even know I shot 63 until someone texted me after," Parziale told reporters. "I was really just trying to take it one hole at a time. I know that's what everyone says, but that's what I did today."

Parziale, who said his dream practice round pairing at Augusta National is with Tiger Woods, tried the mini tours for a few years after a college career at Southeastern University, a NAIA school in Florida. He once again obtained his amateur status a few years ago, and now at age 30 and ranked outside the top 240 in the world amateur golf rankings, he's hit the jackpot.

Both Matt and his father Vic work at the Brockton Fire Department in Massachusetts, and Matt said he got home at 2 a.m. the night of the win and had to be at work at 7 a.m. Vic is a captain, but he's also Matt's caddie on the course and will be at Augusta National and the U.S. Open next year, according to USA Today.

The U.S. Open at Shinnecock will mark the first time a Mid-Amateur winner enters that event based on his previous year's victory. The Masters normally invites the Mid-Am winner, including Stewart Hagestad last year, who went on to finish as the low amateur at Augusta National in April. He congratulated Parziale after his victory.

"It's great. I love my career," Parziale told reporters. "We're a very busy station. It allows me to [play competitive golf] time-off wise. It's a great group of guys, too."

He said he normally takes time off in the winter from playing, but that's not going to be the case this year with two major championships to prepare for next year.

"If this didn't happen, I wouldn't play again," Parziale told USA Today. "I'd play on the nice days until the snow melts in March or April. Now, I've got some things to figure out next year. It will be a different winter, but I'm excited."

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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