Travis Vick (University of Texas photo)
by Art Stricklin, for AmateurGolf.com
The King of the Second Place Finishes is no more. Amateur Travis Vick
is going to the U.S. Open next month at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Burned by agonizingly close losses and bizarre rules incidents, and at times overlooked for his more publicized University of Texas teammates, Vick seized his golf destiny Monday at the U.S. Open final qualifying at Lakewood Country Club.
Vick shot a second-round 65, highlighted by a 17th hole eagle after a morning 68 to earn his first-ever spot in a U.S. Open.
“It’s just a great feeling to finally make it and a great encouragement to see where my game stacks up against the greatest players in the world next month,” Vick said after signing his scorecard.
Last year at the final U.S. Open qualifying at nearly Dallas Athletic Club, Vick missed out after he found he had 15 clubs in his bag. That followed two agonizingly near misses at the Western Amateur where he missed the match play portion by a single shot.
“We kind of called ourselves the king of the second-place finishes, but to do it today was great. I just stayed out of his way and acted as his mule,” said Travis’ dad and caddy Trey.
Texas Tech senior Sandy Scott almost became the second amateur to qualify at a spot dominated by professionals, including former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell - who failed to advance after posting 6-under. Scott was eliminated on the second playoff hole when he failed to get up and down for par on No. 18.
“I’m proud of myself for the number of clutch putts I made during the day. I just put myself in a bad position on the 18th hole. We’ve got (NCAA) nationals next week, and then I’ll stay amateur through the summer to play in a number of amateur events,” said the Nairn, Scotland native.
Vick, often overshadowed by brothers Parker and Pierceson Coody at Texas along with Cole Hammer – who qualified for the Open at this very same course while in high school – said he felt 8-under-par would be enough to get one of the 13 coveted U.S. Open spots.
After a morning round at Royal Oaks Country Club, Vick knew he needed a good start in the afternoon at Lakewood and responded with birdies on Hole Nos. 4, 6, and 7 and added another birdie on the 15th hole to get just inside the cut line for advancement.
But when Vick arrived at the par 5 17th hole, he took matters into his own hands. Fearing a driver would be too much off the tee, he hit a 3-wood tee shot 268 yards to the middle of the fairway. Then he took a pitching wedge approach from 153 yards to just two feet of the cup for an easy tap in eagle.
“To be honest, I pushed the approach a bit, but it went right at the hole and I was able to tap it in,” said Vick.
All he needed was a routine par at the last to clinch his long-awaited opportunity to tee it up against the world’s best at the Open at Brookline.
“I thank those guys at Texas all the time for pushing me and making me better ever since my freshman year,” he said of his more famous UT teammates.
Parker Coody failed to qualify at Lakewood CC, while Pierceson Coody and Hammer will attempt to qualify elsewhere.
“I’ve got to get back to Austin tonight because we are leaving for nationals in Scottsdale tomorrow,” said Vick. “But this is a great feeling.”
Mr. Second Place is no more. Mr. 2022 U.S. Open amateur participant is alive and well.
ABOUT THE U.S. Open Final Qualifying
Final qualifying for the U.S. Open Championship.
Played at various sites across the U.S. on the
week and half
before the U.S. Open. There is also a qualifier in
and in England. 36 holes of stroke play at each
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