Aug. 9, 2013
THANKS... AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!@
2:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16
This will be the end of our blog chronicling Blair Hamilton and Associate Head Coach Chris Hill's trip to The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. We hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed researching and writing.
Blair and the Cougars will tee off the fall season in less than a month. Stay tuned to UHCougars.com for the schedule and latest news and notes on your Cougars. It should be a fun 2013-14 season in the new American Athletic Conference.
A year from now, we want to have multiple Cougars competing at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship. That event will be held at Atlanta Athletic Club in John Creek, Ga., on Aug. 11-17.
Thanks again for your support of this blog, and thanks for all your support of Houston Athletics, and especially Houston Men's and Women's Golf. Have a great weekend and Go Coogs!
FINAL RECAP from CHRIS HILL
2:40 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16
We had an early tee time again, and it was amazing to walk around The Country Club in quiet, listening to the history and soaking it all in.
Blair had a tough draw lined up as he played one of the top amateurs from Australia. Blair came out the gate and played very steady for the first eight holes, and we fought back to be all square after eight! This was a very intense match, and it felt like a heavy weight bout as Blair and Nathan exchanged blows, I am glad I had a front-row seat.
Blair missed a few shots by inches and ended up in some deep rough. It was starting to wear on Blair as the course had firmed up. Blair fought until the very end and never gave up. He ended up on the wrong side 4&3.
Blair kept his chin held up and went out with class. He was disappointed, but he knew that making it to the Round of 32 was a feat in itself.
We left Brookline and changed our flights home. Blair has his brother's wedding this weekend, and I am running our Cougar Golf Camp.
Made it back around midnight Thursday night, still on cloud 9 after caddying in such an exclusive event. Already looking forward to being back on the bag next year.
FINAL RECAP from BLAIR HAMILTON
9:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15
Well, it was another awesome day in Boston, although things didn't turn out the way I wanted. I am still very happy with the way I played and with performance throughout the tournament.
At the end of the day, there is only going to be one person that wins. I'm very proud with the way that I fought this week, and I am going to carry the momentum from this week into the fall season!
Thanks so much to everyone that has followed this blog and supported me this week! It's awesome to know that there are so many people out there that support not only myself but Houston Golf in general. I play for an amazing school that is on its way back to the top! Project 17 is the only thing on my mind now
A GREAT RUN ENDS
10:40 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15
Sadly, Blair's run at the U.S. Amateur Championship came to an end this morning in the Round of 32. He dropped a 4&3 decision to Australia's Nathan Holman on Thursday morning at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Holman took a 1up lead on the fourth hole with an eagle, but Blair rallied to square the match with a par on the par-3 seventh hole and took a 1up lead himself on the par-4 eighth hole with a par. However, Holman squared the match on the next hole to close out the front nine.
On the back nine, Blair dropped four of the first five holes, and the match came to an end when both players posted par on the 15th hole.
While Thursday was a disappointing finish, there were still plenty of highlights from Blair at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. He became the first Cougar to even compete at this prestigious event since 2007 and the first Cougar to win in match play here since 1999.
As you have read in Coach Hill's daily blog entries, Blair showed a lot of maturity and development this week, and all Houston Men's Golf fans should be excited to see what he will accomplish during the 2013-14 season. It should be a fun year!
Recap with quotes and notes to follow at UHCougars.com. We will have the guys' final blog entries here later this evening.
WEDNESDAY RECAP from BLAIR HAMILTON
9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
Another great day here in Boston! It was an early start today. We were the second group off at 8:10 a.m. I played the hometown favourite (Canadian spelling) Richy Werenski, a great player who goes to Georgia Tech.
I got off to a good start, going 2 up through two holes. He battled his way back to square the match on the sixth hole. After halving a couple of holes, I birdied the tough 10th hole and made a good par on the 11th to get back to 2 up.
The turning point in the match came when I made a 20-foot downhill slider for par to halve the hole on the 13th. That gave me a lot of momentum heading into the 14th, which I won to get to 3 up. I closed the match on the 16th hole with a birdie for a 4&2 victory.
I hit the ball great today. The wind was blowing 25 mph steady and gusting up to 30 mph. The course was a bear but I played into comfortable shots and executed well.
It's now off to the Round of 32 now. We're off at 7:40 a.m. Thursday. The weather is supposed to be beautiful, and I can't wait to get back out onto the course! I am feeling confident and playing well. Looking forward to another great day Thursday!
Its off to bed now, got a long day ahead of us!
WEDNESDAY RECAP from CHRIS HILL
8:50 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
Had a rough night last night. Wasn't sure if it was the ice cream (I ATE A HUGE bowl) or the nerves. We had a fire alarm go off around 2 a.m. and woke us up!
We had the second tee time this morning. It was an early morning. The Country Club is so peaceful in that early.
The crowds were large today, much larger than I anticipated, but Blair was playing the hometown kid and local favorite. Blair silenced the crowd right from the first hole. He won the first two holes today, then got settled down and into a solid routine. The wind picked up as the round went on, and so did Blair's confidence. Course played tough.
Richy battled back, and it was a tie match after nine holes. I knew this was an uphill battle, as we were heading into the most challenging, demand part of the course. Blair hit 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th fairways and proved to be enough as he played holes 10-16, 2-under par. VERY IMPRESSIVE!
Blair was very sharp on the greens today and made my job as a caddy very simple.
Today was a lot of fun and looking forward to 2 matches tomorrow, if we win! Weather is going to be around 80 and no wind!!
Off to bed and happy my Yankees are on a roll!! (Editor's Note: It really hurt us to have to put that last part in.)
IT MUST BE A CANADIAN THING
6:05 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
Working together as player and caddy this week, Blair and associate head coach Chris Hill have several things in common
They both love golf
Coach Hill came into the world as Christopher Michael William Hill. Blair's given name is Blair Kenneth Matthew Hamilton.
5:50 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
With his 4&2 victory Wednesday morning, Blair became the first Cougar to win in match play since 1999. That year, Andy Sanders reeled off three straight victories in match play to advance to the quarterfinals.
A native of Merritt, Island, Fla., Sanders shot 74-71 in the first two days of stroke play. He opened match play with a 2&1 win against Bert Atkinson (Charleston, S.C.) and followed that with a win in 20 holes against Sean Pacetti (St. Augustine, Fla.). He claimed a 3&1 win against Nicholas Loar (Rockwall, Texas) in the third round before bowing out 7&6 to future PGA TOUR pro Ben Curtis (Kent, Ohio) in the quarterfinals.
It was the first of back-to-back appearances for Sanders at the U.S. Amateur Championship. In 2000, Sanders again reached match play but fell 2&1 to Australia's Chris Downes in the First Round.
That level of play was nothing new for Cougar fans. Sanders was a two-time Conference USA individual champion and played a key role on Houston teams that won five consecutive C-USA team titles from 1997 to 2001.
He continues to rank among the Cougars' top-10 career leaders in scoring average and tied the school record with a 63 in the third round of the Red River Classic on Oct. 12, 1999.
ROUND OF 64 SCORECARD
12:40 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
Great work by Blair Hamilton in the First Round of match play at the U.S. Amateur Championship. Solid effort on the back nine gives him a 4 and 2 win against Richy Werenski!
11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
With his 4 and 2 win against No. 16 seed Richy Werenski, Blair Hamilton moves on to the U.S. Amateur Championship Round of 32. There, he will face Nathan Holman of Australia. Tee time slated for 6:40 a.m. (CDT), Thursday, at The Country Club.
Holman was a 3 and 2 winner against No. 58 seed Andrew Price of Lake Bluff, Ill., on Wednesday morning.
Hoping that Thursday will be a busy day for Blair and Coach Hill. With a win against Holman in the morning, he would turn around to play again at 1:15 p.m., Thursday.
ON TO THE NEXT ROUND!
11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
The official score hasn't come across the USGA live scoring site, but Blair Hamilton has won his First Round matchup against Richy Werenski at the U.S. Amateur Championship! Live scoring site has Blair 3 up with three holes to go, but some unofficial tweets have Blair winning 4 and 2.
Outstanding effort by Blair on the back nine. All square through the first nine, Blair went birdie-par on the first two holes of the back nine to take a 2 up lead. Both players posted pars on Nos. 12 and 13, and Blair took a commanding 3 up lead with a par on the tough, 505-yard, par-4 14th hole.
Waiting to hear see about the final three holes... Unofficial tweets read that Blair won the 16th hole for a 4 and 2 victory, but we haven't confirmed that yet.
MATCH PLAY, ROUND 1
9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
Quick start by Blair and then a recovery on the first hole of the back nine has lifted Blair to a 1-up lead with eight holes to go against Richy Werenski in the Match Play First Round at the U.S. Amateur Championship.
Teeing off at 7:10 a.m. (CDT), Wednesday, Blair got off to a quick start, winning each of the first two holes. Werenski came back to win the par-4 third hole and the score remained that way until the sixth hole after Werenski drained a par and Blair bogeyed.
Opening the back nine, Blair regained the lead at 1 up with a birdie on the 476-yard, par-4 10th hole, while Werenski bogeyed. Eight holes to go and Blair has a 1 up lead. Keep sending him your good thoughts... Go Blair... Go Coogs!
11 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
With his outstanding play during the first two rounds of the U.S. Amateur Championship, Blair Hamilton became the first Cougar to compete in match play since B.J. Staten and Andy Sanders accomplished that feat in 2000.
Hamilton will be looking to become the first Cougar to win in match play at the U.S. Amateur Championship since Sanders advanced to the quarterfinals in 1999.
Just by teeing off Monday morning, Hamilton became the first Cougar to compete at the U.S. Amateur Championship since Ricky Romano in 2007.
TUESDAY RECAP from BLAIR HAMILTON
10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
It was another great day here in Boston! We were off the tee early in the morning, We started on the 9th hole today which is arguably the hardest hole I've played. It's a 501-yard, par 4 with trouble everywhere.
Holes 9-15 are very tough, and I managed to get through them at 1-over which I was very happy with! After I stubbed my toe on my 8th hole, I rebounded by birdieing the 18th (my 10th).
From there, I hit a lot of quality shots and made a key birdie putt on my 16th hole which put me at +3. A smooth par-par finish was all it took, and now it's off to match play! I am feeling really good about my game. I love match play and cant wait to tee it up!
I'm off at 8:10 AM Wednesday. Looking forward to another great day! Off to bed now, a new tournament starts tomorrow.
TUESDAY RECAP from CHRIS HILL
10:25 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
Today was an early morning... 4:45 am wake up call! Had a nice breakfast at The Country Club. Getting to the course early in the morning is one of my favorite things!
Blair played a great round and made it to match play. Had a relaxing afternoon around downtown Boston. Had a delicious lobster roll for dinner along with WAY too much ice cream
We have another morning tomorrow, weather looks good! Looking forward to another day at The Country Club. Golf Channel is covering the event starting Wednesday.
9:25 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
Although the bracket is not completely finalized, Blair knows his draw for Wednesday's First Round in match play at the U.S. Amateur Championship. He will face No. 16 seed Richy Werenski (South Hadley, Mass.) at 7:10 a.m. (CDT), Wednesday.
Werenski, who will be a senior at Georgia Tech in 2013-14, tied for ninth after two rounds of stroke play with a score of 139.
With a win Wednesday, Blair advances to the Round of 32, where he would face the winner of the No. 17 seed Nathan Holman (Australia)-No. 48 seed Andrew Price (Lake Bluff, Ill.) match at 6:40 a.m. (CDT), Thursday. Fans can check out the complete match play bracket by clicking the link above or by clicking here.
7:25 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
All players are finished and the scores have been posted... Blair Hamilton will move on to the Match Play bracket of 64 after finishing the first two rounds of stroke play at 3-over-par-143 to tie for 38th.
A large group of players is tied for 50th at 144... Believe that group will have a playoff Wednesday morning. Two of the 17 players in that group must be eliminated to complete the bracket of 64. We are waiting on the official recap from the USGA to confirm. As soon as we know Blair's opponent and starting time, we will let you know here and through Houston Men's Golf social media sites.
6:25 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
With the start of match play on Wednesday, television coverage of the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship also begins. The first three days of match play will be shown on the Golf Channel with the final two days slated for NBC.
Date (Day) Time (CT) Network
Fans also can click here for a complete television schedule.
5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
Golfers are still on the course, but it looks like Blair and Coach Hill's trip to Brookline will be lasting another day!
With his score of 3-over-par 143, Blair is currently tied for 49th with the cut line projected to be +4. A group of 19 golfers are tied for 61st at +4, meaning that group will be battling in a sudden-death playoff for only five spaces to complete the Match Play bracket.
MOVING ON UP!
2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
Although he ended his second round in a tie for 78th, Blair has now moved up into a tie for 60th with his score of 3-over-par 143. The top 64 players in stroke play advance to Match Play competition on Wednesday.
In the event of ties, a sudden death playoff will be held Wednesday to finalize the final spots. As of this writing, Blair is tied with 17 other players for 59th place. If everything holds like this, Blair and the other players tied at 143 will compete in a sudden death playoff until only five players remain, and the Match Play field of 64 can be set.
Fortunately, we still have a lot of golf to be played today. As of 2:40 p.m., nearly 90 players had not had their first scores of the day reported on the USGA site, so hopefully Blair will continue to rise on the leaderboard, and he won't need to be involved with a playoff. Only time will tell.
SECOND ROUND IS DONE
12 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
Tougher round for Blair on Tuesday at The Country Club, but he hangs tough and ends his day with a two-day score of 3-over-par 143. As of this writing, he is in a tie for 69th place, but a lot of players are still on the course or have yet to tee off.
Top 64 advance to Match Play on Wednesday. We need some more players to slip down the leaderboard a bit, so Blair and Coach Hill's trip to Brookline lasts a bit longer!
TUESDAY STARTED TOUGH
9:55 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13
Blair's second round got off to a rough start, but he is continuing to battle through his final eight holes. He is currently tied for 78th at +3 and is +3 in his second round at The Country Club.
Teed off at 6:40 a.m. (CDT) Tuesday on the ninth hole and started the morning with a bogey. After two straight pars, he drained a birdie on the 605-yard, par-5 12th hole. However, he then hit a rough stretch on holes 13-16, which saw him post bogey-par-bogey-double bogey. Fortunately, he added another birdie on the 432-yard, par-4 18th hole and is now in the middle of the course's front nine.
Blair was playing in one of the earliest groups this morning, so PLENTY of other golfers have to tee off and make their way through this round. Send your good thoughts and vibes to Blair as he competes in the final round.
TUESDAY'S EARLY START
10:10 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
As we close out the blog tonight, here is some information you need for Blair and the second day of the U.S. Amateur Championship. Blair and Coach Hill tee off at 6:40 a.m. (CDT) Tuesday, and their scenery shifts to The Country Club.
Here are Tuesday's alphabetical starting times.
Live scoring is available at USGA.org, by clicking the LIVE SCORING link at the top of this page under the banner or by clicking here.
Monday was a great day for Blair, Coach Hill and Houston Men's Golf. Here's hoping Tuesday is even better! Send your good thoughts and mojos to these Canadian Cougars in Brookline tonight, and we will check in with you in the morning... Go Coogs
MONDAY RECAP from BLAIR HAMILTON
9:55 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
Today was a great day! After some much needed rest, we were off the tee at 12:55 p.m. I'll admit I was a little more nervous than usual, but I kept telling myself that it's just another round of golf and to not make it anything more than it is. After some deep breaths, I stepped up and striped it down the fairway!
I got off to a good start, birdieing two of my first four, which helped me get into a good groove for the day. The course was firming up and getting fast. By the back 9, the greens were getting baked, and it made it play that much tougher.
All around, I played solid, my ball striking was great all day and I gave myself a lot of looks at birdie. I putted the ball well all day... just one of those days where nothing seemed to drop. I finished up with an even-par 70, definitely a great start, building some momentum for Tuesday.
Tuesday is a new day. It will be an early morning for a 7:40 a.m. tee time, but I cant wait to get back on the course! I'm preparing for a tough round of golf Tuesday. We'll put a premium on getting the ball in the fairway, I am feeling confident and ready to go!
Its off to bed now... looking forward to another great day Tuesday!
MONDAY RECAP from CHRIS HILL
9:45 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
Went to my favorite coffee shop early this morning, and let Blair sleep in. Not sure what I am going to do tomorrow with a 5 a.m. wake up call and my coffee shop doesn't open until 6 a.m.!!! After Blair is done, I know where I will be.
We played Charles River Country Club. It was very challenging, wind was gusty and course got very firm late in the day. Blair had a great day! He was very disciplined and hit his irons great!,
This course was very undulating and tough to walk, let alone carry a bag. But it's good for me, since Alyssa signed me up for a half marathon!
Had a nice dinner with Blair and his dad and I went with the famous Mac n Cheese! Watching the Yankees on ESPN, can't ask for a better way to end and awesome Monday.
Excited to get back on the course tomorrow!
STORY, NOTES AND QUOTES
7:40 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
Just posted the recap from Monday's first round of the U.S. Amateur Championship... You can find it at UHCougars.com or by clicking here.
Quotes from Blair and Coach Hill on Monday's round and a look ahead to Tuesday's second round. Remember, the top 64 players in stroke play advance to match play on Wednesday... So send all your good thoughts to Blair and Coach Hill tonight.
After the guys eat some dinner and get back to their hotel rooms, they will be writing and sending in their own personal recaps from today. We will post those here on the blog as soon as possible.
Early day for the Couars on Tuesday... 6:40 a.m. (CDT) tee time at The Country Club. Fans can follow live scoring by visiting USGA.org, clicking the LIVE SCORING link below the banner at the top of this page or by clicking here.
GREAT FIRST DAY!
5:50 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
Outstanding opening round for Blair at the U.S. Amateur Championship! In a steady round that featured only two birdies and two bogeys, Blair stood in a tie for 19th with an even-par 70 on the 6,635-yard course at Charles River Country Club. Players were still on the course at the time of this writing. A complete recap will be featured on UHCougars.com later this evening.
"I tried to treat it like any other tournament," Blair said. "You get to the parking lot, you tie your shoes, you pull out your clubs and you go."
"The best word to describe Blair's play is disciplined," Associate Head Coach/caddy Chris Hill said. "He did a great job of dealing with what was at hand and did an even better job of just sticking to one shot at a time. He hit to the correct side of the hole almost all day and stuck to the game plan and didn't steer off."
Nick Hardy will hold the first-day lead with a 5-under-par 65 at Charles River CC with five players tied for second at -3.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
3:45 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
With the conclusion of match play on Sunday, the winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship receives a gold medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for the next year. More than that, the winner also receives exemption into some of the world's premier tournaments.
The winner also receives:
An exemption from local and sectional qualifying for the next U.S. Open, provided he is still an amateur
THROUGH the FRONT NINE of FIRST ROUND
2:55 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12
So far, so good for sophomore Blair Hamilton during the first nine holes of his inaugural appearance at the U.S. Amateur Championship. With a pair of birdies and only one bogey on his front nine at Charles River Country Club, Blair is tied for 11th with a 1-under-par 34. Only 21 players total have posted a sub-par score so far.
The Burlington, Ontario, Canada, native is tied with Michael Miller, Max Orrin, Brandon Matthews, Scott Fernandez, Jordan Niebrugge, Zac Blair, Brandon McIver, Cameron Wilson and Payne Gniwek. Nick Hardy leads the tournament with an opening round 65 at Charles River CC, while four others are tied for second with 67s.
HOW THE U.S. AMATEUR WORKS
10:45 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12
A field of 312 players will play 18 holes of stroke play Monday and Tuesday, after which the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers. Six rounds of match play begin on Wednesday, and the championship concludes with a scheduled 36-hole championship match Sunday.
Blair tees off at 11:55 a.m. (CDT), Monday at Charles River Country. He hits the course early for a 6:40 a.m. (CDT) tee time on Tuesday in the second round at The Country Club.
HOW BLAIR GOT HERE
9:40 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12
Before Blair and Coach Hill start their first round at the U.S. Amateur Championship, we wanted to give a brief recap of how he got to this point. Blair competed in a one-day, 36-hole qualifier at The Links at Spring Church in Apollo, Pa., on July 16.
Opening that event with a 68, he capped his day with a 70 to finish second at 138. Although he finished four strokes behind winner Zachary Herr, Hamilton finished one stroke ahead of Sean Bosdosh to claim the second and final spot out of that qualifier.
MONDAY TEE TIMES
10:50 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
As we close out the blog Sunday night, we wanted to be sure that you had Monday's most important information... Blair's tee times and live scoring link.
Blair starts the U.S. Amateur Championship at 11:55 a.m. (CDT), Monday at Charles River Country Club and begins his second round early at 6:40 a.m. (CDT) Tuesday at the Country Club. Fans can follow live scoring at USGA.org.
A SOLEMN REMINDER
10:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
Walking around downtown looking for a place to eat dinner Sunday evening, Associate Head Coach Chris Hill saw a solemn reminder of a tragic event in Boston.
As he strolled through the area, Hill had a strong feeling he had seen the area before even though this is his first trip to Boston. Calling his wife Alyssa back home in Houston, he confirmed what he thought and walked one block over.
There, he saw a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Hundreds and hundreds of colored ribbons were tied to a fence in honor of those affected by the blasts. In mid-April, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring 264 people.
"As excited as I am to be here with Blair as he competes at the U.S. Amateur, it was humbling to stand there and think about everyone affected in this attack," Hill said. "The people and the city of Boston have been strong in overcoming this horrible event, but it's always important to remember those who were killed and injured here. It helps you to reflect on those things and people that are most important in your life."
SUNDAY'S RECAP from BLAIR HAMILTON
10:20 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
It's been another another awesome day here in Boston. I teed off at 130 p.m. (EDT), which was nice because I could catch up on some sleep!
Hill and I got to the course around 11 a.m. When we arrived at the course, you could just feel that it's a special place! This is the 100th anniversary of Francis Ouimet's US Open win here at the Country Club which makes it extra special.
After a couple hours of practice, we were off the tee with three of my Canadian buddies! The course is amazing, and the rough is very penalizing. However if you get it in play off the tee, it is scorable. The tough stretch of the course is definitely holes 9-14. if you can get through there at even par, you've picked up about 3 shots on the field.
After the round, I went to the players reception, a nice tie and jacket event with free food! I looked real good...
It's off to bed now for my tee time Monday. Can't wait to peg it and fire it up! Feeling good and looking forward to a great event!
SPEAKING OF COACH DIZ
10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
While Associate Head Coach Chris Hill is working closely with Blair at the U.S. Amateur Championship, don't think for a second that Director of Golf Jonathan Dismuke is taking it easy this summer... far from it.
Dismuke spent most of last week in Europe, recruiting and looking for new student-athletes. Leaving last Wednesday, he did not return home to Houston until late Sunday evening.
It's all part of the international flavor on the Cougars' roster in 2013-14. Hamilton, redshirt freshman Emmett Oh, signee Matthew Scobie and Hill all hail from Canada, while redshirt senior James Ross hails from Scotland. Signing news about the Cougars' newest players will be available soon at UHCougars.com.
PIC with the PGA CHAMP
9:40 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
We now take a break from our coverage of Blair Hamilton and Coach Chris Hill from the U.S. Amateur Championship to offer our congratulations to 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner. Thanks to a second-round 63 (tying for the lowest round in major history), Dufner claimed the first major title of his career
In mid-March, the Cougars competed at the Tiger Invitational, played at Grand National Golf Club. There, the Cougars took a team shot with Dufner, who is a proud Auburn graduate.
Houston Director of Golf Jonathan Dismuke was a college teammate with Dufner at Auburn. Dismuke, who was named the 2013 Conference USA Coach of the Year, after leading the Cougars to team and individual championships, was a freshman during the 2000-01 season, when Dufner was a senior.
SUNDAY'S RECAP from CHRIS HILL
9:20 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
What a day!!
The Country Club at Brookline has history, character and is ready to show its teeth this week! The course is very demanding, from No. 1 1 all the way to No. 18 with deep rough and plays extremely long! It has a PGA Tour major feel!
Worked hard today to get a game plan for Blair and pick lines off the tee. We did a great deal of situational short game work. All in all it was one of my favorite days on a golf course!
THE END OF SUNDAY'S PRACTICE ROUND
5:25 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
Blair and Associate Head Coach/Caddy Chris Hill have finished Sunday's practice round. As they headed in, they took the shot below. In the words of Coach Hill: "What a way to end an amazing day!"
IMAGES from THE COUNTRY CLUB
5:25 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
To check out some scenic images from The Country Club, click here.
COUGARS IN THE U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
2:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
Blair Hamilton is the first Cougar since Ricky Romano in 2007 to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship. Romano was a two-time qualifier, competing in 2007 and 2005.
Other qualifiers in recent history include Jordan Irwin (2006); Ben Moser (2006); Jordan Hasbrouck; (2005); Mike Booker (2004); Jonathan Dismuke (2004 out of his alma mater, Auburn); Andy Sanders (1999); John Mahaffey (1969) and Keith Fergus, who finished second at the 1975 tournament.
We are working with USGA Communications Championships Director Pete Kowalski and USGA librarian Nancy Stulack to research a complete list of Cougars at the U.S. Amateur Championship. Hope to have a complete list later this week.
ONE OF A FEW
2:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
More than 7,000 golfers applied for entry for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. Blair will be one of only 312 to tee off Monday morning. That makes him part of the 4.5 percent who successfully reached the nation's most prestigious amateur event.
1:25 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
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.
For a preview of the challenges that The Country Club will face for U.S. Amateur Championship competitors this week, check out this preview from USGA.com by Ron Driscoll.
11:35 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
The Country Club at Brookline, Mass., has a special place in the history of amateur golf. Golf fans will recognize that this is the 100-year anniversary of amateur Francis Ouimet's victory against Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at the 1913 U.S. Open.
That story was told in Mark Frost's outstanding book The Greatest Game Ever Played and then in the movie by the same title, starting Shia Labouef as Ouimet (prounounced Wee-Met). If you haven't seen or read about it, you should check it out... Amazing story.
In 1913, Ouimet was a local Massachusetts amateur player, whose family lived almost literally a stone's throw from The Country Club. Invited to play at the 1913 U.S. Open, he originally declined the offer but changed his mind after an arrangement with his employer.
Over the course of 72 holes, he finished in a tie with Harry Vardon, who was recognized as one of the world's best players at that time, and Ted Ray. Vardon won the 1900 U.S. Open title and was a six-time winner of The Open championship. Ray won the 1912 Open Championship title and went on to win the 1920 U.S. Open. For today's world, imagine an amateur at a major defeating Tiger Woods.
Competing in an 18-hole playoff, Ouimet bested both Vardon and Ray in rainy conditions to become the first amateur to win the U.S. Open. One year later, he captured the U.S. Amateur Championship title. He is often referred as the "Father of Amateur Golf" in the United States.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON at THE COUNTRY CLUB
10:40 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11
On Sunday afternoon, University of Houston sophomore golfer Blair Hamilton will compete in his second practice round as he prepares for the first day of the U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookine, Mass. After enjoying a solid round at Charles River Country Club on Saturday afternoon, Blair and Associate Head Coach/Caddy Chris Hill will tee off at 12:30 p.m., Sunday at the historic Country Club.
So why two different courses?
With more than 300 golfers competing at the U.S. Amateur Championship, a companion course was needed to fit everyone. Players will compete at Charles River Country Club for one round on one day and then move to The Country Club for the second round of stroke play, or vice versa. Once the first two rounds are set, the Match Play bracket of the top 64 players will be set, and competition will move entirely to The Country Club.
SATURDAY RECAP from BLAIR HAMILTON
8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
Well, after 12 hours of flying, sitting, waiting and eating airport food, I finally made it to Boston. I got in around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, and after a quick stop to check in at the hotel, I was off to the course!
In the practice rounds, you get one round at Charles River Country Club and the one at The Country Club. On Saturday, I played Charles River CC with a couple of Canadian friends.
The course is in great shape! The rough is up, and I'm sure the course will firm up as the week goes on. Seems like at Charles River CC, you just have to get the ball in play off the tee and keep it below the hole. The wind was up Saturday, which made some tee shots challenging but nothing we can't handle.
Coming off a nice finish at the Canadian Amateur Championship, my confidence is high. I am hitting the ball very well and my short game is sharp. Looking forward to Sunday's round at The Country Club!
Now, its off to grab some local Boston food and get some rest! Had a great day, looking forward to a bunch more!
SATURDAY RECAP from CHRIS HILL
8:25 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
After a long day of travel, I got to Blair's practice round a little bit late, but I made it!! Between traffic and construction, it was a challenge to get from Boston Airport to Charles River Country Club.
We have a great game plan for that course, but we are both very excited to play Brookline Country Club on Sunday. Blair's game looks amazing right now, best I have ever seen.
We are staying at Boston's Park Plaza Hotel in the Theatre District of Boston, very neat!! We just got showered up and are trying to find a restaurant to grab some dinner. We have a list of local favorites but if anyone reading this has any recommendations please let me know. You can tweet me @UHCoachHill.
Saw Boston College and Boston University on our drive from Brookline to downtown. Saw Fenway Park (boo), but it's baseball history.
4:10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
In honor of our two Canadian Cougars chasing the U.S. Amateur Championship, we proudly present... the Canadian national anthem.
PLAYING IN THE U.S. AMATEUR, EH
4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
Blair , who is a native of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, is the fourth Cougar to compete at the U.S. Amateur Championship since 2006. However, he is the third Canadian Cougar during that time.
And Hamilton isn't the only Canadian Cougar working at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. Associate head coach/caddy Chris Hill, who will be working as his caddy all week, comes from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
Ricky Romano (Murietta, Calif.) was the only American to compete at the U.S. Amateur Championship since 2006. However, he was a two-time qualifier, competing in 2007 and 2005.
RED SOX NATION
12:25 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
Although proud of his player, caddy (and UH associate head coach) Chris Hill is not too pleased about the geographic location of the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. Located less than a half hour from Boston, The Country Club is situated smack in the heart of Red Sox nation.
Sadly for Coach Hill, he is an avid and life-long New York Yankees fan. Big enough of a fan to have a framed Yankees jersey hanging proudly in his office.
And to prove the point that opposites DO attract. His wife Alyssa and her family... Big Red Sox fans!.. Keep Graham away from his father during baseball season, Alyssa... Don't let Dad turn him to the dark side!
THE LUCKY HAT
9:20 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
As he packed his bags Friday night, associate head coach/caddy Chris Hill made sure to bring one item from his closet. He will be rocking the UH gear all week long at the U.S. Amateur Championship, including his white bucket hat with "Houston" in red script.
"It brought us luck in the spring. I hope it rolls over," Hill said.
Whatever you have to do to help Blair this week, Coach... Whatever you have to do!
TOUGH TO SAY GOODBYE
8:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10
The second member of this week's trip to the U.S. Amateur Championship is getting ready to leave Houston, although some rain in the area may be slowing that down a bit.
Associate head coach Chris Hill, who will serve as Blair's caddy this week, flew out of Houston this morning and his scheduled to arrive in Boston around 12:30 p.m. (EDT).
As excited as he is to work with Blair at one of the nation's top amateur events, the hard part was saying goodbye to his family, which includes wife Alyssa, son Graham, who was born in late June, and their dog Lucy. You can see more of Lucy on her Facebook page.
FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER
9:40 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9
Friday was a long day for Blair. He woke up early Friday morning to compete in the final round at the Canadian Amateur Championship, played at Royal Colwood Golf Club in Victoria, B.C., Canada, located northwest of Seattle, Wash.
With a final-round 69, Blair jumped into a tie for 22nd at 287, putting two Cougars among the top 25. Teammate Wesley McClain used a 67 on Friday to move into a tie for 15th at 285. FINAL RESULTS
Following Friday's round, Blair headed to the airport for a flight to Toronto and then a connecting flight to Boston. That's a total trip of more than 3,200 miles and across three time zones, so Blair won't get into Boston until early Saturday morning.
After catching up on some sleep, he will catch up with his caddy, UH Associate Head Coach Chris Hill, and enjoy practice rounds Saturday and Sunday in Brookline, Mass.
WELCOME TO BLAIR'S BLOG
9:20 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9
The Canadian Amateur Championship is over. Now, sophomore Blair Hamilton is on his way to compete at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass. Keep up with Blair and Houston Men's Golf Associate Head Coach/Caddy Chris Hill here at Blair's Blog.
It's an exciting time for Houston Men's Golf, and Blair's appearance at the U.S. Amateur is certainly part of that.