He could finish second in the event, which kicks off Aug. 22 in Erin Hills, Wisc., and still play in the Masters, since the top-two finishers in the U.S. Amateur get the invitation to Augusta.
“I think playing in the Masters is the dream of every amateur,” Davenport said.
The Cartersville golfer said he qualified for the U.S. Amateur at the Capital City Club (Crabapple Course) with a two-day score of 137, then survived two playoff rounds.
Davenport has been a member of the Cartersville Country Club since 1987. “I live in Marietta, but I’m from Cartersville.”
Davenport credits his showing to the level of play he faces at the Cartersville links and golf instructor Scott Hamilton.
“Our club is unique,” he said. “I’ve never seen a place with this level of competition. It makes you work on your game and just practice. It keeps you on your toes.”
Among those club players, he said, are Chase Jones, who won the club championship earlier this month, Jayce Stepp, Greg Johnson, Blaine Woodruff (No. 1 college at the University of South Carolina) and Chris Hall.
He also credits Hamilton as being a big part of his success — and that of other golfers.
“We have probably one of the top instructors in the country here in Cartersville in Hamilton,” Davenport said. “He’s got two guys in the PGA, two on the European Tour and many of the tour players.”
Davenport, who is a three-time winner of the local championship, said though he made the cut at the U.S. Amateur, the week before he didn’t even place in the top eight this year in the Cartersville Country Club golf tournament.
He said he also didn’t qualify this year for the Georgia amateur, which isn’t nearly as difficult as making the field with players from across the whole country.
“But that’s golf,” he said. “You have a couple of bad holes or whatever. That’s what makes it hard to do well.”
Doing well on the links is something that’s been high on Davenport’s list of priorities for some time now.
It wasn’t always that way. He said he played his golf in college at Wallace State, in Cullman, Ala., and the University of Montevallo, near Birmingham.
He said he then got into the business of raising a family and didn’t play competitively until the family rearing was past and he was out of his 30s, age-wise.
Davenport now is actively competing again in his sport.
In fact, this is the second time he has qualified for the U.S. Amateur, which he also did in 2008.
That 2008 performance kind of whetted his appetite to compete against the best and left him feeling he has the skills when the balls fall right.
“The first time I played [in the U.S. Amateur], I admit I was kind of overwhelmed. I missed the cut by six shots. I’m looking forward to going back. I don’t think I’ll be as intimidated.”
He is hardly concerned about his age:
“The first time I played I missed being the oldest by a couple of years. Now I’m 49 and it’s three years later and I know it’s kind of odd, but I’m hoping to be the oldest. I think that would be cool.”
Although he will be playing to win, Davenport knows it takes a lot of good things to happen to reach his goals in Wisconsin.
“It’s just a long shot to play into the Masters, finishing in the top two of among about 300 golfers,” he said.
But if he does make it, Davenport already has his first move on the course after making “an easy drive over to Augusta.”
“I’m going to kiss the ground,” he said.