2010 in review: Top 10 amateur stories
Sunday, January 2, 2011
1.) Uihlein wins U.S. Amateur
Peter Uihlein became the dominant force in amateur golf after going undefeated in the United States’ Walker Cup victory at Merion in September 2009. He won five major amateur and college titles in the next 11 months after, then claimed the biggest title of his career at Chambers Bay.
2.) Amateurs at Pebble Beach
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Scott Langley and Russell Henley impressed at the U.S. Open, tying for 16th to share low-amateur honors. Henley became a fan favorite for his crowd interaction. Langley’s good play came just weeks after his NCAA Championship victory.
3.) Matteo Manassero at the Masters
Matteo Manassero set several records this year, most notably becoming the youngest winner in European Tour history. Fittingly, he closed his amateur career in record-setting fashion. Manassero, then 16, was the youngest participant in Masters history, and became the youngest ever to make the cut when he finished 36th.
4.) David Chung’s season
Chung won the Porter Cup and Western Amateur (two of amateur golf’s biggest titles) in consecutive weeks. He ended his summer by advancing to the final of the U.S. Amateur. Despite losing to Uihlein, Chung’s amateur season was still one of the finest in recent years.
5.) Chambers Bay’s debut at U.S. Amateur
The U.S. Amateur served as a national unveiling for Chambers Bay, the unique links-style layout along the Puget Sound that will serve as site of the 2015 U.S. Open. The course received mixed reviews early in the week (in part because the USGA admittedly allowed the course to get too dry) but produced one of the most memorable Amateurs in recent history.
6.) Jin Jeong wins British Am, low am honors at British Open
Mirroring a feat accomplished in 2009 by Manassero, Jin Jeong won the British Amateur, then was low amateur at the British Open. Jeong, of South Korea, was the first Asian player to win the British Amateur when he beat Arizona State’s James Byrne in the final. Jeong went on to tie for 14th at St. Andrews.
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7.) Nathan Smith wins again at Mid-Am
Smith won the U.S. Mid-Am for a record-tying third time, thanks to a dominating 7-and-5 victory over former U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Tim Hogarth. More impressively, it was the second consecutive year that Smith was both medalist and match-play champion. At just 32, Smith will have plenty of opportunities to become the first four-time Mid-Am champ.
8.) Paul Simson’s tri-fecta
It was a feat that went unnoticed because it happened in the oft-overlooked senior realm, but it was impressive nonetheless. Simson won the U.S., British and Canadian senior amateur titles in 2010, becoming the first player to claim all three in the same year. The U.S. Senior Am was his first USGA title in nearly 50 attempts.
9.) France wins first gold at WATC
France made history in Argentina, winning its first gold medal in the World Amateur Team Championship. France faltered late, but the victory was sealed in dramatic fashion by Alexander Levy’s 50-foot birdie putt on the second-to-last hole.
10.) Byeong-Hun An advances to U.S. Amateur semifinals
Byeong-Hun An almost successfully defended his U.S. Amateur title, a feat last accomplished by Tiger Woods. He advanced to the semifinals at Chambers Bay before falling to David Chung, 1 down.