Colin Prater is ready for his U.S. Open debut
Colin Prater (right) (Submitted Photo)
Colin Prater (right) (Submitted Photo)

Colin Prater is a 29-year-old science teacher who coaches boys and girls golf and is expecting his second child this month with his wife. 

And he is also playing in the U.S. Open.

“It is so much fun,” Prater said about final qualifying. “This is my third time (playing in final qualifying), so I have a little bit more experience in it.”

Prater finished as the second qualifier in the Bend, Oregon qualifier at Pronghorn Resort, the Nicklaus Course. Prater finished 2-under, one shot back of medalist Joey Vrzich, who finished 3-under. 

Prater finished sooner than a lot of the field, but he wanted to make sure he was fresh for a possible playoff, mentally and physically.   

“I didn’t want to go watch it,” Prater said of the golfers still on the course. “That would make me a nervous wreck since I kind of already was. The perfect answer is that I was trying to get mentally prepared for a playoff, which I kind of was by taking a deep breath and just relaxing for a little bit.”

Prater added, “I pulled in at 7 am and finished just before 7 pm, so I was just trying to relax a little bit, and if I needed to go prepare for a playoff, I would have.”

When it was all said and done, none of the field was able to catch him, and Prater punched his ticket to Pinehurst.

“It’s just next level,” Prater said, “I woke up this morning thinking there was a slight chance that the stars aligned, and everything went well; I could be playing in the U.S. Open and having the day finish and actually do it is pretty awesome.”

Prater also recently played in the 2024 U.S. Four-Ball Amateur, making him a multi-time USGA championship participant this year. He has an impressive resume, having won the 2023 Colorado Mid-Amateur and the 2020 Colorado Amateur. He has finished in the top five of the Colorado Amateur for four straight years. 

“It was good preparation,” Prater said about the Four-Ball. “A friend and I played in the U.S. Four Ball last week. It was a big boy, tough golf course, so to be honest, that helped me prepare a lot.”

Prater has experience at Pinehurst Resort. He played in the 2019 U.S. Amateur, but he did not advance past stroke play.

“It's awesome; it is a really cool place, and it's really surreal," Prater said. 

While he knows the challenge he faces, Prater has played in big events before and trusts his game can translate to the North Carolina gem.

“If I can tame the moment and turn it into just another round of golf, I think I can have some success,” Prater said.

Prater added honestly, “I haven’t really wrapped my head around the fact that I am playing in the U.S. Open.” 

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