Vick adds US Open low amateur medal to NCAA team title
BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) — Travis Vick was already an NCAA team champion at Texas. Now he can add low amateur at the U.S Open to his resume.
Vick shot a 3-over 73 at The Country Club on Sunday to finish at 8-over par for the tournament and claim a silver medal from the USGA. Vick also had the winning point for Texas in the national championship earlier this month.
“It’s kind of been like a golfer’s high in a sense,” Vick said Sunday. “I qualified for the Open, and then the following week we go to the NCAAs and end up winning. Then I get here and finish low am.”
Vick was 1 under to make the cut after shooting 70 and 69 in the first two rounds. He followed that with a 76 — blowing up with a 9 on the eighth hole on Saturday — and then shooting 73 to finish two strokes ahead of Sam Bennett (73), who played for rival Texas A&M.
Austin Greaser (17 over) and Stewart Hagestad (19 over) were the only other amateurs to make the cut.
“It’s just been an honor being here. The whole experience was incredible,” Vick said. “Then to top it off with low am, it’s hard to put into words how awesome that is.”
Vick said playing in the NCAA was “way more pressure, even though there’s thousands of more fans here.”
“When you’re playing for your team and you’re playing for a university, there’s just something about it because it’s something that we practice for all year long and you only get one opportunity to do that,” he said.
“But to say that there was no pressure out here would be a lie, especially when you’re on the first tee with Brooks Koepka right next to you.”
ANOTHER TOP 10
Rory McIlroy, the 2011 winner, shot 69 to finish 2 under for the tournament and tied for fifth. It was his fourth straight top-10 finish at the U.S. Open after missing the cut the previous three years.
He also finished second at the Masters in April and eighth at the PGA Championship in Tulsa in May.
“I’ll look back at this as another missed opportunity, just as (the PGA in) Southern Hills was,” he said. “But missed opportunities are better than not contending at all. So that is a positive.
“I have to stay patient at this point,” McIlroy said. “Because if I just keep putting myself in position, sooner or later it’s going to be my day and I’m going to get one.”
A string of holes early where he went bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey set the tone.
“A bit of a roller coaster on the front nine,” he said. “That’s the way the U.S. Opens go. There is a lot of highs and a lot of lows.”
McIlroy, who won in Toronto last week, was aiming for his fifth major victory — but his first since 2014. It was his 26th top-10 finish in a major.
“It’s not win or bust. It’s not as if where I finished today is the same as not playing on the weekend,” he said. “I guess when I look back, will I remember the fifth place I had at Brookline? Probably not.”
CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN
Will Zalatoris came dressed for the occasion when he arrived at The Country Club for the final round of the U.S. Open.
The overnight co-leader wore a shirt that was dotted with the silhouette of Francis Ouimet and his 10-year-old caddie, Eddie Lowery, from the 1913 U.S. Open at The Country Club.
Ouimet was a 20-year-old amateur who lived across the street when he beat celebrated British pros Ted Ray and Harry Vardon in a playoff. The victory led to a golf boom in the United States and was celebrated in a book and movie called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
A statue of the two sits at the entrance to a municipal course adjacent to The Country Club.
Qualifier Joel Dahmen couldn’t finish the job after taking a share of the 36-hole lead, but he’ll leave The Country Club with an exemption into next year’s U.S. Open.
The top 10 finishers don’t have to go through qualifying for the event at the Los Angeles Country Club next summer. That means Denny McCarthy and Adam Hadwin, who finished tied for seventh at 1 under, and Dahmen, who was tied for 10th at even par, can avoid the local qualifying as well as the 36-hole final step that is known as “the longest day in golf.”
The other seven in the top 10 had earned exemptions into this year’s tournament.
“I had no idea on any of that stuff,” Dahmen said. “I might be able to hang on to that. I don’t enjoy that 36-hole day.”
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson and AP National Writer Eddie Pells contributed to this report.
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