Jack Wall posted his third round in the 60s to win by three
Jack Wall turned 20 just two weeks ago. He gave himself a late birthday present this week in Orlando, capturing the Orlando international amateur by three shots over Andrew Walker and Tommy Kuhl, at 15-under-par.
Wall, a sophomore on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks golf team, started the final round three shots behind Andrew Walker of Michigan State.
Walker had set a torrid pace for two rounds, getting to 14-under after posting 65-64 on a pair of courses called Crooked Cat and Panther Lake. The challenging venues (that each measure well over 7000 yards) are part of the Orange County National Resort, where a circular practice range is so enormous at the PGA merchandise show holds its annual demo day there each year. (You can tee off anywhere and not reach the other side.)
Playing together in the final round, Walker and Wall matched cards for the first four holes at Panther Lake. Wall credited his short game for keeping the score close, as his ball striking wasn't sharp to start the day.
"I wasn't hitting it very well in the round," said Wall in a phone interview with AmateurGolf.com. "I saved a great par on the first hole after a bad drive and second shot and made three clutch up-and-downs on Nos. 3 and 4."
When Walker made back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6 while while Wall was playing those holes 1-under, the score was tied. If anything, momentum had shifted in Wall's direction.
Indeed, Wall would play bogey free golf for the day, finding his long game and taking the lead with a birdie on the par-3 11th and never looking back.
All credit to Walker for fighting to the end, making birdie on No. 17 to get within two shots and keep Walls attention.
But a collapse was not in the cards, as Wall stepped up and made a deal-sealing birdie on 18 to win by three.
"The 18th is a split fairway with bunkers in the middle," said Wall. "I just tried to hit my drive hard at the bunkers, and if it drew or faded a little I would be fine."
Finishing just past the bunkers in light rough, and left with a downwind 207 yards, Wall drilled a 7-iron to the green and two putted for birdie.
Finishing tied for second was Walker and a surging Tommy Kuhl. The University of Illinois sophomore vaulted up the leaderboard and tied Walker for second at 12-under thanks to a low final round tying 65. (Carson Bacha also posted that number.)
Wall left Orange County National knowing he did exactly what he needed under pressure on the last hole, matching his win at the 2020 Metropolitan New York Amateur in August and runner-up finish at the New Jersey Amateur earlier in the summer as milestones as he rises up the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Men's World Rankings.
"It used to be a couple of years ago I just wanted to qualify for the Met Am, let alone make the cut for match play," said Wall, who won after qualifying as the 15th of 16 seeds this year. "That was definitely a milestone, and shooting 15-under this week and winning is a major step for me."
With five matches set for the Spring, after playing just three conference matches in the Fall, we won't be surprised to see Wall pick up a collegiate win soon.
ABOUT THE Orlando International Amateur
The Orlando International Amateur Championship is
an annual golf tournament gathering high-level
amateur golfers from the United States of America
and abroad. 54-hole stroke play championship,
playing 18 holes per day.
Open to low-handicap amateurs, players who play
college golf, players who have qualified for any of
current year's USGA or R&A championships, and
those who have the recommendation of their
country’s Federation or Association.
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