Andrew Von Lossow (Credit: Sean Melia)
The momentum started to shift for Andrew Von Lossow
in his match against Michael-Thorbjornsen
around the ninth hole. Then he holed out from the bunker on the 11th to grab a two hole lead.
"I just try to be annoying in match play," Von Lossow said. "Hitting into the greens first helped me, too. I kept the pressure on him."
Von Lossow, a mid-amateur from Spokane, Wash., was easy to spot as he strode the golf course in his Hawaiian shirt. It was the same shirt he slipped on early in the morning for the 15-for-11 playoff. He succeeded by hitting a solid 9-iron, one more club than he had hit during his round on Tuesday at Ridgewood, onto the green and two-putting for par.
"It was cold and I knew the ball wasn't going to fly," he said after his victory over Michael Thorbjornsen. "I hit wedge yesterday and this afternoon."
Von Lossow said he had once made eight birdies in a row. He's not afraid of the moment and playing good golf in high-pressure situations. There is an intensity hidden beneath the big smile and benevolent charm.
Once he smelled blood in the water, Von Lossow kept the pedal to the metal and didn't give Thorbjornsen an opportunity to get back into the match.
There's golf in Von Lossow's lineage. His dad, Jim Von Lossow, was a pro and then opened a golf store called Von's Golf in Seattle that offers club fitting and instruction. Jim Von Lossow was also a hickory golfer, as Andrew is now.
Related: Accomplished mid-am Von Lossow crosses over into hickory golf
Von Lossow had a solid following that grew as the round progressed. Some decided as soon as they saw him in the playoff that he was their guy. Some were swept up into the Von Lossow wave mid-round.
Others, like his friend Jordan, flew on a red-eye from Washington to watch his friend compete against one of the best amateur golfers in the world. Jordan's family lives on Long Island, and he booked the flight last week.
He watched the scores closely and once his friend was in a playoff he decided he would go.
"When I saw it was 15-for-11, I knew he'd make it through," Jordan said.
might have been the proudest of his friend. He could be heard yelling for his friend after every holed putt. He even got a small "AVL" chant going on the 16th green as Von Lossow and Thorbjornsen shook hands.
As they celebrated with beers following the round, Joey said that he and Von Lossow met on the golf circuit - caddying at Bandon Dunes and competing in events in the Pacific-Northwest area. Lovell is from Montana and coaches the women's golf team at Montana State.
"When he got into this, I texted him and said I was going to qualify, too," Lovell said.
Lovell was right, and the friends both played in their first U.S. Amateur this week.
There are often sliding door moments in golf. Von Lossow had a wicked lip-out on the 18th hole of his second round. If that putt drops, he's not in the playoff, and he's not playing Thorbjornsen.
On Thorbjornsen's side of things, he made a double bogey on his final hole of stroke play, which included a missed tap-in for bogey, dropping him into a tie for medalist honors. Make bogey and Von Lossow and Thorbjornsen aren't facing each other at Ridgewood CC in the first round.
Von Lossow, incidentally, is the reigning US Hickory Golf champion. He lamented that he has to send the trophy back so it can be engraved.
He has bigger fish to fry this week, though.
He'll tee it up at 9:20 am Thursday against Ben Carr in the round-of-32.
ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur
The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA
championship, was first played in 1895 at
Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The
which has no age restriction, is open to
with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is
of 14 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are
for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent
competition in the world.
Applications are typically placed online in the spring
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