July 18, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. -
J.T. Poston, a rising junior on the Western Carolina men's golf team, earned his spot in the field for the 113th annual United States Amateur Championship to be played Aug. 12-18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Poston qualified by finishing second in his sectional qualifying tournament held July 16-17 at the par-72, 6,867-yard Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club in Denver, N.C.
According to available research, Poston is just the fourth Catamount men's golfer to qualify for the U.S. Amateur joining Ricky Stout in 2010, Matt Cook in the summer of 2008 and Clay Kilgore who qualified back in 2002.
"I did not realize I was just fourth Western Carolina golfer to qualify for the U.S. Amateur. It is differently something I am proud to accomplish," said Poston. "It is a big tournament, one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the world, and something any college player wants to play. I've been trying to get into it for the past few years, and now I've finally been able to break through."
Poston carded a five-under par 139 (69-70) over the 36 holes of qualifying, finishing a stroke in arrears of Scott Harvey of Greensboro who claimed top individual honors. Harvey, a two-time Carolina Golf Association Men's Player of the Year, used seven birdies in his final round to shoot five-under par and pull ahead for the first-place finish. Pinehurst, N.C., native Joshua Martin was the third individual to advance from the qualifying tournament shooting three-under, 141, to finish among a four-way tie, but won on the first hole of a playoff.
Poston shared the qualifier lead with three other golfers after shooting a three-under par, 69, on Tuesday. Opening on the back nine, Poston was even through the first eight holes of his round with eight pars before a bogey on the par-5 18th left him at one-over at the turn. Still at one-over through 11 holes, Poston carded three-straight birdies on holes No. 3 through 5 to move to two-under with a fourth birdie on the par-3 eighth leaving him atop the leader board at three-under par, 69.
In Wednesday's final round, Poston overcame an opening bogey on No. 1 with a birdie on the par-4 fourth to return to even for the round, three-under for the tournament. He would birdie and bogey consecutive holes on the seventh and eighth, making the turn at even-par for the round and remaining at three-under for the event.
On his final back nine, Poston was near perfect with seven pars and two birdies to finish the round two-under and five-under par for the qualifier to lock in his berth.
All told, Poston recorded 25 pars, eight birdies and just three bogies over the 36-hole event.
Qualifying for the U.S. Amateur continues a solid summer for the Hickory, N.C., native. Poston, who scored an at-large bid to the NCAA Tallahassee, Fla., regional at the end of the 2012-13 season, brought home top individual honors at the 98th Annual Southwestern Amateur - the longest running amateur golf tournament in the Southwestern United States - back in late June. He also just finished tied for fourth in the 99th Annual Carolinas Amateur Championship held at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., July 11-14. Poston shot rounds of 76-73-71-73 for a 72-hole score of five-over par, 293.
"One of the big reasons I have had so much success this summer is because of the momentum I gained during the season at WCU," added Poston. "I had some really good results this year and have just been continuing to ride the momentum through the summer and hopefully into the 2013-2014 season as a Catamount."
Poston will leave for Brookline, Mass., on August 9 to practice on August 10 and August 11 before the start of the U.S. Amateur.
The 2013 United States Amateur Championship will be played August 12-18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Last year's U.S. Amateur was won by a former Southern Conference competitor as Chattanooga's Steven Fox claimed the top honors.
This year, the USGA accepted 7,002 entries for the U.S. Amateur Championship, which was 599 more than in 2012. The record for entries is 7,920, set back in 1999. The 7,002 entries are the most since the 2008 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2 (7,298). A field of 312 players will compete in two, 18 holes of stroke play on Aug. 12 and 13, after which the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers. Six rounds of match play begin on Aug. 14 and the championship concludes with a scheduled 36-hole championship match on Aug. 18.
For the U.S. Amateur, The Country Club will be set up at 7,310 yards and will play to a par of 34-36-70. The companion stroke-play qualifying course, Charles River Country Club will be set up at 6,574 yards and will play to a par of 35-35-70.
The 2013 U.S Amateur is the 55th USGA championship and sixth Amateur to be conducted in Massachusetts. The Country Club has hosted five U.S. Amateurs and three U.S. Opens. In 1982, Jay Sigel won the first of two consecutive Amateur championships. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of amateur Francis Ouimet's historic U.S. Open win over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. The champions in all three Opens at The Country Club won in playoffs, including Julius Boros in 1963 and Curtis Strange in 1988.
Click here for more information on the 2013 United States Amateur Championship.