Despite low scores, Egypt Valley still a gem

Gavin Hall walks with head pro Jim Amiot after shooting a U.S. Junior Amateur-record 62.


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ADA, Mich – I spent Monday in East Lansing, Mich., with Michigan State women’s coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. She told me how tough Egypt Valley Golf Club was going to play for the U.S. Junior Amateur. I was also informed by a member of the USGA media department about the difficulty of Egypt Valley.

But when I arrived at the course Wednesday, club members, staff and players’ parents looked shocked.

Curtis Thompson earned medalist honors at 10 under, and Gavin Hall shot a course-record 62 on Tuesday.

What happened to the tough course?

“Members kept saying all week before the tournament how hard it was,” said Jim Amiot, Egypt Valley’s head pro since 2002. “We just don’t see kids of this caliber often.”

Mike Burnett, director of instruction at the club, was impressed, too.

“I thought for two rounds of stroke play, 138-140 would be the number, with the low round of about a 66,” Burnett said. “I’m not all that surprised how low these kids went, but I was surprised with 23 players in the field shooting under par.”

Burnett said that after Sunday’s practice round, defending U.S. Junior champ Jordan Spieth and his father told him how firm the golf course was.

“They thought the low score for the course would be even par,” Burnett said. “But then it rained.”

The course changed dramatically after Sunday night’s rain. Burnett and Amiot said that, with soft greens, players were attacking at every chance they could.

Who knows if the course is playing the way it truly was expected to play this week? Egypt Valley and the USGA have provided a great championship, and the course is one of the stars. With 3-inch rough, soft greens and 7,100-plus yards, the course seems just right.

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