Wilson remains on top after opening with 62
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – As any golfer will tell you, coming back after an incredible round – a career-low round – with another very low round is one difficult task.
Jeff Wilson knows that all too well. The 47-year-old Toyota dealer from Fairfield, Calif., followed his opening round 10-under-par 62 at the Home Course with a 3-over-par 74 Tuesday at Chambers Bay.
“I felt different today,” said Wilson. “I knew it was going to be hard to come back (with another great round). You have a 62 and you say, ‘What’s it going to take to make match play? I can shoot 84.’ The ultimate goal is to get into match play.”
Not only did Wilson do that, he did it as this year’s medalist with his 7-under 136. It marked the fifth time he’s been a qualifying medalist at a USGA championship, doing it three times in the U.S. Mid-Amateur and one other time at the U.S. Amateur.
Still, Wilson is a realist and knows the real prize is still out there.
“(Being medalist) means you played pretty well,” he said. “It’s nice to hand in the office. It means a lot, but the bottom line is the tournament starts tomorrow.”
Wilson’s 62 certainly got the attention of his many friends who were eager to offer their congratulations.
“My cell phone was blown up last night,” he said. “It was a lot of fun to talk about. It was a once in a lifetime round.”
At Chambers Bay, Wilson opened with a bogey on the first hole, made birdie at six, bogey at seven and birdie at eight to turn in even-par 36.
The back nine took its toll. He double bogeyed the par-4 13th, and made bogey at 14 and 17 before closing with a birdie at 18 for a 3-over 38.
“It’s kind of crazy. Those last nine holes I hit the ball as well as on any nine holes in the tournament,” Wilson said. “I hit two 4-irons back to back on 13 and 14 – two long par 4s – and hit them exactly where I was looking. And I made six on one and five on the next. You are 210 yards out and you hit it where you are looking, but that’s the way this golf course goes. Sometimes the bounces go your way and sometimes they don’t.”
For now, Wilson will be looking at match play and more importantly, finally adding a championship trophy to his already impressive medal collection.