Spectators at the 2017 US Open observing Bensalem native Chris Crawford were treated to a phenom with infinite potential. They witnessed Crawford out drive Jordan Speith, Steve Stricker, and Jim Furyk in a practice round. Throughout the 36 holes played by Crawford, golf fans saw a 23 year-old reach 82 percent of his fairways (eight percent better than the rest of the field), and hit 75 percent of Erin Hill’s greens in regulation (ten percent higher than the field).
Although Crawford followers saw noticeable improvement, they also unfortunately witnessed him miss the cut for the second straight year. Considering Crawford’s journey to both Oakmont and Erin Hill’s, missing the cut is nothing to hang his head over.
Onlookers watching Crawford would be hard-pressed to believe he was barely considered a division 1 golfer out of Holy Ghost Preparatory High School.
Unlike college scouts, Crawford’s former high school golf coach Gary Nolan knew he had a division 1 talent the first day Crawford swung a club at Holy Ghost. The former Firebird’s coach explains, “Chris didn’t even come to the first varsity tryout… I had my JV coach call me and say, “I just saw a freshman shoot a 35 on 9 holes at Philmont… You’ve got to see this kid.”
Coach Nolan asked Crawford why someone of his talent didn’t try out for the varsity team. Coach Nolan clarified, “He didn’t try out for varsity as a freshman because he didn’t want to appear “pretentious”… I then made him play two rounds with my top seniors… he was on varsity the next day.”
Coach Nolan understood he had a once in a lifetime player. He recalled, “Chris’ sophomore year he was beating division 1 golfers from Penn, UNC, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forrest… He was a 5 foot 6, 110 pound sophomore and was beating everyone.”
Crawford’s junior season in high school was a turning point towards his golfing aspirations. Crawford explained “I made a short term goal of wanting to play golf in college… From that point on I tried to take my game to the next level.”
One of the few schools that showed Crawford attention was Drexel University. Upon enrolling, Crawford was on a mission, stating, “Going into college nobody really gave me a shot… I developed an edge…I wanted to go out and prove why they were wrong.”
After qualifying for two straight US Opens, Crawford’s high school coach attributes his division 1 snubbing to his current success. Nolan observes, “Chris told me he had a chip on his shoulder because all these colleges passed on him… He told me he was going to prove people wrong for overlooking him… He’s clearly already accomplished that.”
On that very point, Crawford has a message for current Holy Ghost golfers stuck in similar situations, “Keep working, you must keep believing it’s possible… Developing an edge can be a good thing.” Crawford is the ideal role model for Holy Ghost golfers. He believes if he can achieve this level of success coming from Holy Ghost, so can others. “I want to be a good example to Ghost kids who can look where I was at when I was their age and how I went about getting better,” says Crawford.
Taking his own advice into consideration Crawford believes he still has to make a few tweaks to his game to take the next step. “I need to improve in a couple different areas… I have to continue to find a way to be a little better.”
Now that Crawford has qualified for the US Open in consecutive years, one of the goals going forward will be making the cut. If Crawford continues relying on his edge and work ethic, making that cut will be one of the many accomplishments crossed off on the Chris Crawford goal’s list.