Jeff Wilson will begin 36-hole stroke play qualifying on Monday at the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship, which is being played at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course on the Monterey Peninsula.
Wilson, a Fairfield resident who plays out of Green Valley Country Club, qualified for the U.S. Amateur by capturing low-amateur honors at the U.S. Senior Open Championship in July at The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs. Wilson had rounds of 76, 71, 70 and 73 for a 10-over-par 290 total in the PGA Tour Champions event.
He was presented with a gold medal by the U.S. Golf Association. He tied for 31st overall.
“I was 9-over through 21 holes and something kind of clicked, where I just kind of played comfortably,” Wilson, 55, said in a telephone interview last week. “I wouldn’t say I played outstanding. But it wasn’t like I was stressing so much.
“More than the medal, more than everything, I just got to the point where I was able to play my game. I just felt more comfortable, and all of a sudden I started playing like it. I wouldn’t say any one thing stood out or anything.
“Let’s be honest, I’m not going to go there and contend for the tournament. But for me to finish where I did, that was pretty good.”
There are 312 players at the U.S. Amateur. The field will be reduced to the low 64 scorers after stroke play qualifying. It’s Wilson’s 10th U.S. Amateur appearance and his 30th USGA championship.
There will be six rounds of match play starting Aug. 15. The event ends on Aug. 19.
“To get into the U.S. Amateur, at Pebble Beach, that’s like a dream,” said Wilson. “I’ll still try to qualify for these things. But realistically, how many more of them can I play in? And being able to play one right here at Pebble, it’s pretty special.”
The U.S. Amateur is open to amateur golfers who possess a USGA handicap index not exceeding 2.4.
Sectional qualifying, played over 36 holes at 93 U.S. sites and three international sites, was conducted between July 2-25, the USGA said.
Wilson is feeling good about his overall game. He was the low amateur at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
“I’m going to have to play very well, I understand that,” he said. “The one thing about Pebble Beach is that I’ve played there a lot. I think if there’s ever a U.S. Amateur course I could compete on, it would be this one. I’m looking forward to that. I think I can compete down there.
“But I’ve got to feel that I’m playing against some younger guys that are awfully good players. The kids compete so much, that they’re ready to go.”
Wilson has a connection to Napa, as his son, Jack, and daughter, Olivia, are Justin-Siena High School graduates. Jack played golf at Justin-Siena and Brown, and is a Brown graduate. Olivia is a USC graduate.
Jeff Wilson is also exempt into the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur and the 2019 U.S. Senior Open.
“I’ve played a lot this summer. I’ve been playing pretty well and I’ve been working pretty hard on it,” he said.
Pebble Beach Golf Links will be set up at 7,075 yards and will play to a par of 35-36–71. Pebble Beach will host all match-play rounds. Spyglass Hill will be set up at 6,987 yards and will play to a par of 36-36–72, according to a USGA press release.
The match-play portion of the event will be carried by Fox and FS1.
Ticket information is available online at www.pebblebeach.com/events/2018-us-amateur
Napa Junior Championship
Dymphna Udea won titles in girls 15-18 and girls 12-18 with a round of 77 at the Napa Junior Championship, a Junior Golf Association of Northern California event Aug. 4 at Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park.
Other titles were won by Adrian Davis (boys 14-18, 76), Bowen Yin (boys 14-15, 77), Madison Starke (girls 12-14, 79), and Jaden Dumdumaya (boys 12-13, 77).