After a Turn on the Grandest Stage, Amateurs Look Ahead
June 18, 2017 ERIN, WIS. By Joey Flyntz, USGA
The 14 amateurs in the U.S. Open field looking ahead to a busy summer includes Scottie Scheffler, who earned low amateur honors. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Following a week in which they tested their games against the best professionals in the world and played in front of large galleries during the 117th U.S. Open at Erin Hills, the 14 amateurs who competed this week will now focus on their summer amateur schedules.

All 14 are exempt into the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship, set for Aug. 14-20 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and several more are vying to make the USA Team in the 38th Walker Cup Match, Sept. 9-10 at The Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club.

One player in particular strengthened his case for a potential spot on the USA Walker Cup Team. Scottie Scheffler, 20, of Dallas, Texas, finished as the low amateur at Erin Hills, shooting a 1-over-par 73 on Sunday to finish at 1-under 287.

Scheffler, the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and a 2013 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist, makes no secret of how badly he wants to don the Stars and Stripes in September in Southern California.

“Representing your country in any event is special. I’ve been blessed to do it several times,” said Scheffler, a rising senior at the University of Texas. “To do it on the biggest stage in amateur golf would be a dream come true. The guys playing the Walker Cup are all extremely special players and talents. And just to be a part of that list would be extremely special.”

Those with the Walker Cup on their mind will likely play a busy summer schedule, including such tournaments as the Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island, the Trans-Mississippi Championship in Kansas, the Porter Cup in western New York and the Western Amateur outside Chicago, culminating with the U.S. Amateur. Cameron Champ, who finished one stroke behind Scheffler for low-amateur honors at Erin Hills, will look to ride the momentum he built this week at Erin Hills to Riviera.

“It took me awhile to just finally get to a tournament like this. Whether it is the U.S. Open or U.S. Am or anything like that,” said Champ, who will play in his first U.S. Amateur at Riviera. “I’ve had some injuries holding me up for a while there, but to be able to qualify for this the way I did and play the way I did, it just boosts my confidence way up going into the Amateur.”

Several of the top players on this week’s leader board boast Walker Cup experience, including Tommy Fleetwood (2009 GB&I); Rickie Fowler (2007, 2009 USA); Bill Haas (2003 USA); Brian Harman (2005, 2009 USA); Matt Kuchar (1997 U.S. Amateur champion and 1999 USA Team); and Justin Thomas (2013 USA).

Scheffler knows how much winning a national championship can change one’s life, and he’s looking forward to trying to do it again this summer.

“Being an amateur in the U.S. Open is very cool,” he said. “It’s a great experience and being able to be the top amateur, to be a part of that list, as well, would definitely be really special. The USGA always treats amateurs and its champions really well. To be a part of that list again would be very nice.”

For Scheffler, Champ and the other 12 amateurs who competed at Erin Hills, it’s time to shake off the euphoria of this week and get back to work. Riviera beckons in less than two months.

Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at jflyntz@usga.org.