CAA Well Represented At U.S. Amateur
Update: Crawford and Ellis' runs at the Anateur came to an end on Tuesday after each player failed to make it past the first two rounds. Crawford shot rounds of 80 and 71 for a 11-over-par total. Ellis, meanwhile, carded rounds of 82 and 75 for a 17-over-par total.
Richmond, Va. – For two current Colonial Athletic Association men’s golfers, Drexel’s Chris Crawford and College of Charleston’s Alex Ellis, playing against some of the top amateur golfers outside of the collegiate links is something that’s becoming a habit.
Recently, both players qualified for the nation’s largest amateur tournament -- the 2013 U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship -- held from Aug. 12-18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. But what’s even more impressive is that they accomplished the feat for the second time in their young golf careers.
Ellis, a left-handed rising senior for CAA newcomer College of Charleston, admits he feels better prepared for the second go-around, compared to playing in his first U.S. Amateur just one year ago in Cherry Hills, Colo.
“It was overwhelming,” Ellis said of his first experience, “I played well the first day, and then I remember I was on the first tee at Cherry Hill (Site of the 2012 Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club) and Jack Nicklaus is right behind me watching me tee off. I doubled my first hole. It was definitely a little overwhelming.”
Crawford, the 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year and a rising sophomore at Drexel, had similar views towards his second appearance in the event.
“Playing in the Amateur in 2011 was a truly awesome experience,” Crawford said. “I enjoyed every second of the time I was at the tournament and wanted very much to get back as soon as possible. I have to say that I have been more excited in anticipation of returning to the Amateur for a second time this year. Last time, I was not quite ready with my game to compete at that level.”
The U.S. Amateur, which began in 1895, is the oldest golf championship in America and is considered one of the top amateur events in the sport. Some of the most coveted names in golf have won the title, including Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and other prominent figures. The first two rounds are played in stroke play format on Aug 12 and 13, with the final five days of the event switching to match play to determine a champion.
More importantly, this year’s championship marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most infamous tournaments in American golf history. In 1913, at the same course in Brookline, 20-year-old Francis Ouimet stunningly upset British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff to claim the U.S. Open.
It’s clear both Crawford and Ellis have a better understanding of what to expect thanks to their past experience. Each player, though, also has an appreciation for the history of the course and the opportunity to represent the CAA as well as their respective schools.
“I’m pretty nervous,” added Ellis about playing at The Country Club. “I’ve seen all the highlights from the Ryder Cup there in 1999, I’m just excited to get out there and work. Some of the tournaments that have been there have been some of the most famous, I remember where Tiger (Woods) chipped in, and some famous putts as well.
“I’m not going to try and change anything with my game, just work on the things that I do well. Not trying to change myself as a golfer because I’m going to a big tournament.”
Crawford, a Pennsylvania product, carded rounds of 70 on both days of qualifying competition at Philadelphia area Overbrook Golf Course and Radnor Valley Country Club, tying for third out of 130 players. As a freshman this past season, he averaged a score of 74 for the Dragons and earned second-team All-CAA honors.
“The Country Club is a mecca of American golf,” Added Crawford. “One of the five founding charter clubs of the USGA, it is one of the oldest and most historical sites in the United States. It was of great inspiration to me in my desire to play well enough to qualify this year, and to make the most of my opportunity to play at such an incredible venue.
“I will have a great sense of pride in bringing my yellow Drexel golf bag to The Country Club and hope to be a good representative of the CAA, my hometown of Bensalem, Pa., and the city of Philadelphia.”
Ellis was an All-Southern Conference performer last season for CofC and qualified for the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge, La. as an individual. The Austin, Texas, native, who’s famous for sporting two gloves while playing, qualified for the event after notching rounds of 72 and 73 at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio.
“It will be fun to represent Charleston and the CAA,” said Ellis. “The first two rounds are played in stroke play, then anything can happen in match play. You can start winning a few matches, get your confidence going, anything can happen.”
The College of Charleston will also have another representative at the championship in former Cougar and recent graduate John Duke Hudson. Hudson was a four-year standout for CofC and actually qualified for the Amateur before Ellis, carding rounds of 67 and 69 at Odessa Country in Odessa, Texas, on July 24.
Not only was CAA men’s golf represented at the U.S. Amateur, but the league also had a women’s golfer who brought great acclaim to the conference. UNCW women’s golfer Lori Beth Adams was the only female from the CAA to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Charleston Country Club. Adams played superb, advancing to the round of 32 before falling in match play to Kendall Prince of the University of Arizona, 2 up, last Thursday.
Live scoring updates for the 2013 Men’s U.S. Amateur can found throughout the upcoming week on caasports.com.