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U.S. Amateur Preview: Without Doc, we'll have a new champ
12 Jul 2018
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: U.S. Amateur Golf Championship, Pebble Beach Golf Links

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Joann Dost photo
Joann Dost photo

PEBBLE BEACH, California (July 12, 2018) -- California had an amazing run of USGA events in 2017, starting with the U.S. Women's Amateur in San Diego, and moving up to Los Angeles for the U.S. Amateur at Riviera and the Walker Cup at Bel Air.

Fast forward a year and the amazing opportunities to watch the world's best amateur golfers up close will belong to Northern California, as the U.S. Amateur gets set to tee off from August 13-19 at Pebble Beach. It will be the fifth time the most important title in the competitive amateur game gets played at one of golf's most iconic courses.



The last time around, 1999, we were still eight years from the first iPhone, and a 15-year-old Marc Zuckerberg probably wasn't thinking about passing Warren Buffet in net worth.

Even AmateurGolf.com wouldn't hit the scene for another year. We launched at the U.S. Open in 2000, appropriately at Pebble Beach.

But David Gossett, age 20, was laser focused on the task at hand, and after a first round 80 at Pebble Beach nearly cost him a spot in match play, he righted the ship and shot 71 to get in one under "the number." After a close call in the first match when he lost the first three holes, Gossett took a pep talk from caddie Andy Martinez to heart, came back to win and never looked back.



By the end of that historic week at Pebble, Gossett had set the record for largest margin of victory in the U.S. Amateur, with a 9-and-8 win over Sung Yoon Kim. (That record was tied by Hal Sutton in 1980, but to this day hasn't been beaten.)

We had an opportunity to play both Pebble Beach and it's sister course Spyglass Hill at a USGA Preview event July 9 and 10 -- I know, it's a tough job -- and took away a few tidbits which I'll share with you as you gear up for qualifying, or attending the U.S. Amateur.

THE VENUE
There are just a handful of layouts in the world where avid golfers can describe almost every hole. And the things that took place there. Jack Nicklaus' 1-iron that hit the flagstick at No. 17 and Tom Watson's chip-in on the same hole put that hole on the list as one of golf's most iconic par-3s, and it's followed by a par-5 that everyone needs to play at least once. If you're over your first tee jitters at Pebble Beach, you'll get a second chance when you gaze at the task ahead on No. 18, OB right and Pacific Ocean left. With such an amazing closing stretch, it's a shame that many of the matches will end early. The second qualifying course, Spyglass Hill, is an NCGA tournament player favorite with five amazing ocean holes to start, followed by a scenic wind through the forest. Spyglass is no slouch -- it doesn't require any extra length from the everyday blue tee markers to provide players with all the test they need.

THE FIELD
Getting into the U.S. Amateur isn't easy. First, you need a handicap of 2.4 or less. Then, it's a 36-hole qualifier to try and capture one of the spots in the 312 player field. But many of those spots are already accounted for by exempt players from a list of criteria that includes not only winners and top finishers from the U.S. Amateur, but champions of other USGA events as well. And the top-50 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (with a new second glance on June 27) means the world's top amateurs will be there waiting for you once you've captured your spot in the 36-hole sectional qualifier. But at least you won't have defending champ Doc Redman to contend with!

SECTIONAL QUALIFYING ROUND-UP (updated daily)

HOW TO ATTEND

Daily tickets are available for just $25 for adults. Children under 18 attend free. To really experience the U.S. Amateur in style, check out the Fairway One hospitality packages which start at just $1500 and include tickets plus food and beverage at a new private facility right next to the first tee. Having just been treated to lunch outside the Fairway One building (where you'll be setup for the tournament if you take advantage of this) I can tell you it's one of the coolest places at Pebble Beach. Watching every match tee off and walk the first fairway will be amazing.

FEATURED PLAYERS

While the majority of the field is being filled out through sectional qualifying, the list of exempt players already in the field is impressive. They include USGA champions, Walker Cuppers, past U.S. Amateur high finishers, U.S. Open qualifiers, winners of major international competitions, and highly-ranked (world top 50) amateurs:

Shintaro Ban (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Philip Barbaree (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Garrett Barber (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Luis Fernando Barco (2018 Mexican Amateur champion; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Zachary Bauchou (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Jacob Bergeron (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Hugo Bernard (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Hayden Buckley (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Nick Carlson (2016 U.S. Amateur semifinalist)
Todd Clements (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Brad Dalke (2016 U.S. Amateur runner-up; 2016 USA World Amateur Team competitor; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Robin Dawson (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Alex Fitzpatrick (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Luis Gagne (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Oliver Gillberg (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Noah Goodwin (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur champion; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Will Grimmer (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Stewart Hagestad (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion; 2017 USA Walker Cup competitor; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Cole Hammer (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Scott Harvey (2015 USA Walker Cup competitor)
Angel Hidalgo (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Daniel Hillier (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Viktor Hovland (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Franklin Huang (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Matthew Jordan (2017 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup competitor; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Sean Knapp (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur champion)
Mark Lawrence Jr. (2017 U.S. Amateur semifinalist)
Min Woo Lee (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Yuxin Lin (2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur champion)
Hurly Long (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra Coto (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Patrick Martin (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Michael McCoy (2015 USA Walker Cup competitor)
David Micheluzzi (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Collin Morikawa (2017 USA Walker Cup competitor; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
William Mouw (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Zach Murray (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Josh Nichols (2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up)
John Pak (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Matt Parziale (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion)
Dylan Perry (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Gian-Marco Petrozzi (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Chandler Phillips (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Garrett Rank (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Rhett Rasmussen (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Jovan Rebula (2018 champion of The Amateur Championship conducted by The R&A)
Kristoffer Reitan (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Davis Riley (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Dave Ryan (2016 U.S. Senior Amateur champion)
Paul Simson (2017 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up)
Alex Smalley (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Tyler Strafaci (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Justin Suh (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Sahith Theegala (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Braden Thornberry (2018 U.S. Open qualifier; 2017 USA Walker Cup competitor; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Sami Valimaki (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Jeff Wilson (Low amateur in 2018 U.S. Senior Open)
Timothy Wiseman (2018 U.S. Open qualifier)
Matthew Wolff (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Shane Wools-Cobb (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Chun-An Yu (2017 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist; 2018 U.S. Open qualifier; Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)
Andy Zhang (Top 50 in World Amateur Golf Ranking)

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online, starting the third week in April at www.usga.org.

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