Wednesday at the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur

Matthew Sughrue (Photo courtesy of the USGA)

Yes, the Psychotherapist Is In

St. Louis, Mo.

The match play final of the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur, scheduled Thursday morning at Old Warson Country Club, includes two unlikely characters — the Taylorville Tornado against the Psychotherapy Kid.

Dave Ryan (Photo by James Achenbach)

In straightforward terms, that would be 62-year-old Dave Ryan of Taylorville, Ill., against 57-year-old psychotherapist Matthew Sughrue of Arlington, Va.

Ryan, who is retired from several family businesses, was a graduate of Taylorville High School, where the mascot was a tornado. Here at the Senior Amateur, he experienced a tornado-like storm of notoriety Tuesday when he scored a hole-in-one on the par-4 14th hole at Old Warson.

Meanwhile, Sughrue has done his best to educate a golf audience in the practice of psychotherapy.

Tim Jackson, 36-Hole Qualifying Medalist (Photo by James Achenbach)

“I’m a family therapist,” he explained. “I use psychology to treat mental illness and deal with various problems. It’s relational therapy, marriage and family therapy.”

It is not golf therapy, however, and Sughrue has turned down a number of requests to treat golfers for the yips.

Talking about his own golf game, he said, “Sometimes the less you care, the better you play,” reminding all of us that golf is a leisure sport and cannot be compared to the seriousness of something like family therapy.

How dedicated is Seghrue to the profession of psychotherapy? So much so that he sold his insurance business and attended graduate school for three and a half years to study psychotherapy. Oh yes, he also endured a three-year residency after graduate school.

Matthew Sughrue (Photo by James Achenbach)

Most of this came in his 40s as he pursued a major career change.

Oh yes, he played a little golf, too. He won the 2014 Maryland Senior Open and was second in the British Senior Amateur, also known as the Seniors Amateur Championship.

It was the Seniors Amateur, where he bogeyed the final two holes to lose by one stroke, that provided what may be Seghrue’s greatest personal lesson in golf. Essentially he was given a dose of golf psychotherapy by former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch.

At Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, Seghrue had gone for the par-5 18th in two, falling short and losing the tournament title at the same time.

Kevin Cahill, who lost to Matthew Sughrue in the semifinal on the 19th hole (Photo courtesy of the USGA)

“I was just trying to make sense of what happened there,” he said. “Finch walked me through the 18th hole. He said, ‘Hey, you tried to win it. That’s what you have to do. Don’t play safe when you have a legitimate chance to win. Go for it.’ It was just what I needed to hear, and I felt better.”

Looming ahead is the battle for the U.S. Senior Amateur title. His wife, Carolyn, is flying in for the final. Ian Baker-Finch will be there, too, at least in spirit.

The phrase of the day: Go for it.

—James Achenbach, Senior Golf Insider

For all 2016 US Senior Amateur Match Results and Starting Times, Click here:–senior-amateur/scoring.html