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U.S. Open: Meet the amateurs competing this week at Brookline
13 Jun 2022
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com

see also: U.S. Open Golf Championship, The Country Club

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In true U.S. Open fashion, the 122nd edition of the national championship will have 15 amateurs in the field.

Ten of the amateurs qualified through regional and final qualifying, while five other golfers earned their trip to Brookline through exemptions.

The Country Club is rich in amateur history, as it is the site of one of the biggest moments in American golfing history when 20-year-old Brookline native Francis Ouimet stared down two legends - Harry Vardon and Ted Ray - to capture the U.S. Open title.

In its history, five amateurs have won the U.S Open. Ouimet in 1913, Walter Travers in 1915, Chick Evans in 1916, Bobby Jones in 1923, 1926, 1929 and 1930. The last amateur to kiss the U.S. Open trophy was Johnny Goodman in 1933.


In the intervening 89 years, the closest any amateur has come to winning the tournament was Jack Nicklaus in 1960 at Cherry Hills. He finished in second place and held the lead in the final round before succumbing to another legend: Arnold Palmer.

This year's batch of amateurs hail from five different countries and nine different states. The youngest participant is Nicholas Dunlap, 18, and the oldest is Stewart Hagestad, 31. Their accomplishments are long and distinguished and the battle for low amateur will be a great one this week at The Country Club.

Amateur Players who earned exemptions.

Austin Greaser; Vandalia, Ohio
The 21-year-old from Vandalia, Ohio, earned his first U.S. Open start by finishing runner-up to James Piot in the 2021 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club. The University of North Carolina rising senior lost in the 36-hole final, 2 and 1. Greaser was a quarterfinalist in the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, losing to eventual champion Preston Summerhays, 2 down. In April, he missed the cut at the Masters Tournament, his first major-championship start. As a UNC sophomore, he earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors and was an honorable-mention All-American.

Keita Nakajima; Japan
Earned his first U.S. Open start as the recipient of the 2021 McCormack Medal for being the leading amateur in the World Amateur Golf Ranking last fall. This will be his second major-championship start after playing the Masters in April. He earned that invitation with his victory in the 2021 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He also won the 2021 Australian Amateur, 2021 Japanese Amateur and the Panasonic Open on the Japanese Tour. He competed in the 121st U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club, but failed to advance to match play.

Stewart Hagestad; New York City
Hagestad earned his fourth U.S. Open start by virtue of claiming his second U.S. Mid-Amateur championship at Sankaty Head Golf Club on Nantucket Island in 2021. In 2017, he became the first invited U.S. Mid-Amateur champion to make the cut at the Masters. He has represented the USA in the past three Walker Cups, all wins. He played the 2017 Match at his home course, The Los Angeles Country Club. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Hagestad is currently working on his MBA. He has competed in 12 U.S. Amateurs, reaching the Round of 16 in 2020 at Bandon Dunes and 2018 at Pebble Beach.

Nicholas Dunlap; Huntsville, Alabama
Earned his first U.S. Open start by capturing the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur last July at The Country Club of North Carolina, where he defeated Cohen Trolio in the 36-hole championship match. Dunlap has signed to play at the University of Alabama in the fall; he won the 2021 AJGA Polo Invitational, the only match-play event on the circuit. He also was the runner-up in the 2021 PGA Junior Championship. Dunlap also is a past age-division runner-up in the NFL's Punt, Pass and Kick competition.

Laird Shepherd; England
Rallied from 4 down with 4 to play to defeat countryman Monty Scowsill in 38 holes to win The Amateur Championship at Nairn Golf Club in Scotland last year. The 24-year-old from England trailed Scowsill by 8 holes with 19 to play in the 36-hole final. This will be his first U.S. Open start and third major championship after missing the cut in last year's Open Championship and the Masters in April.

Players earning a spot through qualifying.

Sam Bennett; Madisonville, Texas
Bennett, one of the top amateurs in the country, will tee it up in his first U.S. Open, thanks to posting 8-under 135 at Kinsale Golf & Fitness Club and Wedgewood Golf & Country Club. He just completed his senior season at Texas A&M, where he has been a first-team All-American the past two campaigns. He placed 10th at the NCAAs, thanks to a final-round 64 that was the lowest of the championship. His single-season stroke average of 69.97 eclipsed the record held by Chandler Phillips. (70.18). He also was named the Southeastern Conference's Golfer of the Year.

Fred Biondi; Brazil
The University of Florida standout and Brazil native qualified for his first U.S. Open after posting 3-under-par 139 at The Club at Admiral's Cove in Jupiter, Fla. He was exempt from local qualifying, thanks to his runner-up finish in the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship held in the Dominican Republic. He has made the cut in all four of his starts in the LAAC. He won the 2021 Florida Amateur, and was the back-to-back Florida Junior champion in 2016 and 2017. He was the 2016 Florida State Golf Association Junior Player of the Year. He will represent the International Team in this year's Palmer Cup.

Adrien Dumont de Chassart; Belgium
De Chassart will compete in his first U.S. Open after posting a 4-under 136 at the Springfield (Ohio) Country Club final qualifier. Part of the pipeline of Belgian players recruited to play at the University of Illinois, which includes Thomas Dietry and Thomas Pieters. De Chassart is a rising fifth-year senior who is taking advantage of the extra year granted by the NCAA for COVID-19. He is a two-time Big 10 Player of the Year (2021 and 2022) and has represented the International side in the Palmer Cup in 2021 and '22. In 2019, he won the Big 10 individual title. Before arriving at Illinois, he won the 2017 French Boys title.

Ben Lorenz; Peoria, Arizona
Lorenz, a standout at the University of Oklahoma, grabbed the third and final spot from the Pronghort Resort final qualifier in Bend, Ore. He posted 6-under 138 and then edged Ty Travis in a playoff for the spot. He just completed his sophomore season in Norman, where he helped the Sooners qualify for match play in the NCAA Championships. He is the second Sooner from that team to qualify for the U.S. Open (Chris Gotterup). Prior to going to Oklahoma, Lorenz competed on Arizona's Junior Americas Cup team.

Caleb Manuel; Topsham, Maine
Manuel will make his U.S. Open debut after posting 3-under-par 137 to share medalist honors in the Purchase, N.Y., final qualifier conducted at Century and Old Oaks Country Clubs. Manuel first survived local qualifying at The Golf Club at Oxford Greens in Connecticut. The University of Connecticut rising junior was the 2022 Big East Conference Player of the Year after sharing the conference individual title. Last season, Manuel was named the Big East Freshman of the Year. In 2020, he won the Maine State Junior title and was third in the New England Amateur. He also qualified for the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur.


Maxwell Moldovan; Uniontown, Ohio
The Uniontown, Ohio, native qualified for his first U.S. Open by shooting 5-under-par 135 at Springfield (Ohio) Country Club. A rising junior at The Ohio State University, Modolvan posted three wins in the 2021-22 season while compiling a 70.79 stroke average. In 2019, he was named the American Junior Golf Association's Player of the Year, and was a member of the 2019 USA Junior Presidents Cup Team. He advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2019 U.S. Amateur, losing to eventual champion Andy Ogletree. That year, he won the Ohio Amateur. He also won the 2019 AJGA Junior Polo Classic, the lone match-play event on the circuit. He reached the Round of 16 of the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur.

William Mouw; Chino, California
Mouw, a member of the victorious 2021 USA Walker Cup Team, will make his first U.S. Open start after posting 12-under 130 on the Ocean Course at The Olympic Club in San Francisco to earn medalist honors. Mouw helped Pepperdine to a national title in 2021. The junior posted six top-10s in 14 events this season for the Waves. Mouw has played in the last four U.S. Amateurs, advancing to the Round of 16 twice in 2018 and 2020. He also was a member of the 2020 USA Palmer Cup Team. Prior to enrolling at Pepperdine, he won the 2017 Western Junior, and was a member of the 2017 USA Presidents Cup Team. His father, Billy, played at Azusa Pacific and Cal State San Bernardino before briefly giving professional golf a try.

Charlie Reiter; Palm Desert, California
Reiter qualified for the U.S. Open at the Bermuda Dunes Country Club local qualifier in California (Brady Calkins). The University of San Diego standout shot 7-under 135 on the Ocean Course at The Olympic Club in the 36-hole final qualifier to garner one of the five spots. The Palm Desert, Calif., native transferred to USD from the University of Southern California. Reiter was the runner-up in the 2020 California Amateur at Torrey Pines, losing to Joey Vrzich, of Pepperdine, in the 36-hole final. He was a sponsor's invite to the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Competed in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur. This year for USD, he posted two top-five finishes in 13 events.

Travis Vick; Houston, Texas
The University of Texas standout shot 9-under-par 133 in final qualifying at Royal Oaks and Lakewood country clubs in Dallas to qualifiy for his first U.S. Open. Vick was exempt from local qualifying by virtue of being a 2021 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist. Vick was the stroke-play medalist in the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., advancing to the Round of 16. He won the 2016 Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and was a 2018 American Junior Golf Association first-team All-American. This year, Vick, a junior, clinched the winning point for the Longhorns in the national championship match against Arizona State. At Houston's Second Baptist High School, Vick also played quarterback on the football team and pitched on the baseball team.

Michael Thorbjornsen; Wellesley, Massachusetts
Thorbjornsen captured the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol in extra holes over Akshay Bhatia in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links he became the only Junior champion to play 72 holes under the new U.S. Open exemption that grants the reigning Junior Am champ a spot in the field. Thorbjornsen qualified the 2022 U.S. Open on June 6 via an 8-for-3 playoff at Century and Old Oaks Country Clubs in Purchase, N.Y., after shooting 2-under 138 over 36 holes. He is a rising junior at Stanford University. He recently was named to the 2022 USA Palmer Cup Team. Thorbjornsen won the 2021 Western Amateur and Massachusetts Amateur, defeating 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale in the final match. He currently resides in Wellesley, Mass., not far from The Country Club.


ABOUT THE U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is the biggest of the 14 national championships conducted by the USGA. Open to amateurs and professionals.

The USGA intends to make the U.S. Open the most rigorous, yet fair, examination of golf skills, testing all forms of shot-making. The USGA prepares the course after careful consideration of 14 different factors.

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