HONOLULU, Hawaii (November 18, 2015) -- Bill Walbert is a 47-year-old physician's assistant who specializes in heart and lung cancer surgeries. On Nov. 12, he was called into surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.
That same day, Walbert also qualified for the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
No, Walbert didn't pull double duty. He never made it to Honolulu Country Club for his qualifier. Instead, his partner Brent Grant, 18, shot the round of his life, a 9-under 63, to earn the pair a spot in the May 2-6 event at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
“What a deal,” Walbert told the USGA, which reported the story. “It’s quite a story. This kid is a really good golfer. And together we are a good team.”
According to the U.S. Golf Association, Grant was able to qualify despite his partner being absent because of Rule 31-2 of the Rules of Golf:
"A side may be represented by either partner for all or any part of a stipulated round; both partners need not be present. An absent competitor may join his partner between holes, but not during play of a hole."
Grant's previous best round was a 68, which he shot in the first round of a qualifier for the 2013 U.S. Amateur. Grant followed that round with a 69 to earn a spot in the field at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. He also competed for Hawaii in the USGA Men's State Team Championship last month.
"Something just went right,” said Grant, who plans to attend Oregon State in 2015. “The putts just started to fall and I was focused on what I was doing.”
– Information from the USGA was used in this report.
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