Oliver Goss reaches US Amateur final
BY Bruce Young | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2013 US Amateur Championship | Semi-Finals | 18 Aug 2013
19 year old Oliver Goss, from the Royal Fremantle Golf Club in Perth although now a resident of Knoxville in Tennessee where he plays collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee, has reached the final of the 2013 US Amateur Championship near Boston after a close semi final battle against his fellow West Australian, Brady Watt.
Tomorrow Goss will face England’s great new golfing hope, the 18 year old Matthew Fitzpatrick, not only the 2012 British Boys Champion but a month ago he was the leading amateur at the Open Championship at Muirfield and is currently the world’s second highest ranked male amateur.
Goss won today’s match 2 up after winning the final hole and opened up the opportunity to become the first Australian since Nick Flanagan exactly ten years ago to take amateur golf’s most coveted title.
By winning today Goss guarantees himself a start at the Masters and the US Open and if he is to win tomorrow he would also have a start at the Open Championship. To take advantage of those invitations both finalist have to remain as amateurs but that they will both be locked in collegiate careers for the next couple of years there is no issue there.
Goss narrowly missed out on a start at Augusta National this year when he finished two shots behind the winner, Guan Tianlang, at the Asia Pacific Amateur in Thailand.
Flanagan was the first Australian born golfer to win the title since Walter Travis back in 1900,1901 and 1903 although Travis, who left for the US several years before his first victory, had become an American citizen before winning in 1900.
Today Goss utilised some of the experience he gained from his quarter final finish at the US Amateur last year. “I used a lot of my experience from last year,” said Goss. "I can remember a lot of the shots I hit and a lot of the feelings that I had. I used a lot of that from last year to do as well as I could today.”
Goss, who played a key role in getting his college team to the NCAA finals this year after only joining them in January, has clearly benefited from his time in Knoxville and, although he faces his biggest examination in golf to date when he lines up against Fitzpatrick tomorrow, he is obviously ready.
Goss won the West Australian Amateur and the West Australian Open in 2012 before heading to Tennessee, beating the man he accounted for today, Watt on both occasions. He also made the cut at both the Perth International and the Australian Masters so while he is a name Australian golf fans are still becoming familiar with he has significant credentials despite his relative youth.
Fitzpatrick defeated Canadian Corey Connors in his sem-final after he too fell behind early, Conners 2 up through 5 holes.
Fitzpatrick, who is attempting to become the first Englishman to win the U.S. Amateur since 1911, used a solid short game to erase the two-hole deficit. He made a 35-foot birdie putt to win No. 6, a 30-foot par save to halve the following hole and chipped in with a 58-degree wedge from behind the green for a birdie on No. 8 to square the match.
“I wasn’t trying to hole it out,” said Northwestern University-bound Fitzpatrick, about his birdie chip on the par-4 eighth. “I was just trying to get it dead weight, almost as if I was sort of imagining as if I was on the green what pace would I be putting on it to putt.
“I am very happy, as you can probably imagine. I am very pleased with the achievement, really. It’s just a nice feeling to have.”
The US Amateur Championship is the most sought after title in amateur golf and while it does not offer any guarantees to success in professional golf, the profile and opportunities it creates early in a professional career adds to the importance of victory tomorrow.
A thought for the bold effort of Brady Watt. The 22 year old played a superb tournament, sharing medalist honours on Tuesday and producing his greatest result in amateur golf. While there has been no announcement yet it may be that Watt is on the verge of a professional career and if his results over the past twelve months are anything to go by he is likely to do very well.