(June 14, 2017) - At 39-years-old Scott Harvey
has accomplished just about everything imaginable in the amateur golf game. In 2014 he won the U.S. Mid-Amateur, in 2015 he played in the Masters, he was a member of the 2015 Walker Cup team and he is in position to make the 2017 team as well.
The Kernersville, NC resident has also won; among numerous other tournaments the 2017 Coleman Invitational at Seminole Golf Club and the 2016 George C. Thomas Invitational hosted by this years Walker Cup site Los Angeles Country Club. For Harvey, who has dominated the Carolinas Golf Association circuit as well, the list of accomplishments can fill a book.
However, until Tuesday, June 5th he had never successful made it through Sectional Qualifying and into the U.S. Open. Exempt through Local Qualifying because of his runner-up finish at the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur, Harvey decided he was going to try to punch his ticket to Erin Hills, the site of this weeks U.S. Open, by teeing it up at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, NJ.
Complete U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying Coverage
Harvey, who hadn't seen the course until the 36-hole day of qualifying, was a man on a mission from the start. With the field split between the North and South Course's, Harvey opened with a bogey-free 9-under 63 on the North Course and then safely played his way around the South Course in the afternoon to a shoot a 1-over 71 that left him at 8-under and inside the required top-five of the standings.
With the U.S. Open set to begin on Thursday AGC was able to talk to Harvey a few days before he made his way to Wisconsin for his first career U.S. Open appearance and here is what the top-ranked played in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Amateur Rankings had to say.
I'm sure you couldn't have imagined a better start than your first round 9-under 63?
The swing felt great on the range and of course that doesn’t always translate to a good round of golf, but it just felt good from the first tee. I had never seen the course before, I wasn’t able to get a practice round in and I just kept stripping it down the middle of the fairway and hitting greens and then a few putts started going in and it just turned into lets so how low we can take it.
What was working best for you during the round?
Everything really, I was hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. I think I hit only one bad shot and it wasn’t even that bad and I ended up just in a bunker and then I knocked the next shot to three-feet and saved par and that was about the only stressful moment of the round. Oddly enough during the round I pared three par-5’s which is strange on a low round.
You were in a great position to qualify heading into the afternoon round. What was your mindset going into round two?
I had heard the other course was a little different in that it was a placement course with a lot of doglegs and strange yardages off the tee and not seeing that before I was a little uncomfortable so I played a little more safe. Because of my first round I was really in prime position where I didn’t have to press and I was able to just hit the green and two putt and get out of there. I knew where I stood most of the day because there were scorer's walking with every group so I was in pretty good control.
I knew that a bogey on the last hole would get me in and I knew I had a shot to give so I laid up off the tee, laid up into the green, chipped up to 10-feet and two-putted and said see you later.
How many times have you tried to qualify for the U.S. Open?
Somewhere between 8-10.
What made you choose New Jersey for Sectional Qualifying?
Being exempted through Local [Qualifying] I just took a list of all the courses and just starting calling people and asking what type of course was this and that and everybody kept saying that Canoe Brook Country Club was an old tree lined golf course where you have to drive it straight and I love old classic courses.
My home club, is an old classic course with tree lines and I just like the feel of it and so that is why I went up [to New Jersey]. I went up there to play a practice round but the weather was iffy so I didn’t get out there but I guess it worked out.
What does it mean to you to qualify for the U.S. Open and where does it rank?
It is pretty unbelievable, it is another one of these things where you have it in the back of your mind that you always want to do and you just never know. It is something that is really hard to do so it is certainly right up there in the darts of my accomplishments.
It’s tough to answer though, with the Masters and Walker Cup and the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship. [The Coleman Invitational] at Seminole was a big one for me personally and it is just hard to put one thing above the next.
You mentioned the Walker Cup, how do you feel about that? What do you think qualifying for the U.S. Open does for you as far as trying to make the team?
I know that there was a statement released earlier that they were going to back off the commitment made to two mid-am’s but I still think and hope that they will have two mid-am’s. They haven’t said they aren’t having two mid-am’s they are just kind of creating a policy so I think that me and Stewart [Hagestad] are certainly making a pretty good push.
I’d be shocked if there weren’t two mid-amateurs on the team. It is pretty unusual to have two mid-amateurs doing what Stew and I are doing.
What is your game plan heading into the U.S. Open?
It’s funny because I got done [with Sectional Qualifying] and an hour after I made it I realized that it was next week. I had no idea, I just thought I had a couple weeks. I just spent [Tuesday night] and all Wednesday morning trying to plan. I’m going to get there Saturday night and just kind of mess around Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and just kind of take a look at the place, get settled in and get ready to go.
I have a bunch of family friends that are coming and it is going to be a great time.
What are looking forward to most?
For me it is participating on that stage and being around the best players in the world and being with the best players in the world and competing with those players. For me that is just a dream come true, it is what the U.S. Open is all about. I mean I’m a 39-year-old amateur and it just isn’t something that happens all the time.
Not to sound like Tin Cup but I got nothing to lose. I’m there and I’m just going to go with the moment.