Matthew Sharpstene (right) with his father Jeff
It was a day for golfers named Matt in Dallas on May 25. Actually, make it two days, as that's how long it took to complete the first of the 10 U.S. locations of U.S. Open 36-hole final qualifying, in Dallas, Texas.
Tied at the top of a field that included 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell were two amateurs. The first, from Germany, goes by Matthias. Last name Schmid, score 9-under, including clutch birdies on Nos. 13-15 in his final round. Next stop Torrey Pines, San Diego.
His co-medalist, Matthew Sharpstene, also blistered his way through Nos. 13-15, going birdie-birdie-eagle. On Tuesday, play was suspended (again) when Sharpstene was on 17, but he was able to seal the deal with two closing pars. At 9-under when the clouds cleared, the senior on the Charlotte 49ers golf team is also heading for San Diego.
Will Doctor of AmateurGolf.com caught up with Sharpstene as he soaked in the fact that he's playing in a major.
AG: How much did Dallas Athletic Club change with the conditions?
MS: Very different. In the practice rounds it was pretty dry, then got a few inches of rain and it changed everything. Greens and fairways were very soft.
AG: You were -7 thru 15. How were you able to navigate through the weather delays today and keep the low round going?
MS: It was just one of those days. The horn blew when I was on 17 and at that point I was leading so I kinda knew I was going to make it. That’s just golf though, you’re going to go through that and have to learn to stay focused.
AG: What does this mean for your post college playing career?
MS: I’m not really sure what’s going to happen after college but I’m sure it will open some doors. I’m planning on returning for my 5th year at Charlotte and will turn professional after that.
AG: What does qualifying for the US open mean to you? Did you watch it on Sunday’s growing up with your dad? Will y’all be able to share that experience?
MS: Qualifying for the U.S. Open means so much. It’s what you dream of as a kid, and to be there is incredible. I grew up watching golf on TV with my dad every week, to experience this with him means everything. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.