SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State men's golf team doubled its entries to the upcoming US Amateur as Joe Fowler finished first at the qualifying event at Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Tacoma, Wash. on July 16. Fowler shot 67-64-131 to finish one stroke ahead of the closest competitor and earn one of two spots to the prestigious tournament which will be held at Pinehurst on Aug. 11-18 in North Carolina. Fowler's performance comes after Riley Bell finished second at the qualifying tournament at Ranch Murieta Country Club on July 8.
Fowler started the tournament with a 3-under par round of 67 which left him two strokes off the lead. He then set the course record in the afternoon after shooting 64 to finished at 6-under and leave him 9-under par for the day.
"I always try to qualify for the US Open and the US Amateur because you'd be crazy not to try," Fowler said. "Once I found out that Riley had made it, I gave him a call to congratulate him and let him know that I'd be following him."
The Placerville, Calif., native was bogey free during his morning round as he was aided by birdies on the par-5 ninth and par-4 11th and 18th. His second round started with two pars before a bogey on the par-3 third hole. He immediately returned to even with a birdie on the par-4 fourth and made the turn at 3-under following birdies on the par-3 sixth, par-4 eighth and par-5 ninth. The incoming sophomore continued his hot play on the back side of the course with a birdie on the par-4 10th. He then parred five straight before closing with birdies on the par-4 16th and 18th.
"I looked at the leaderboard after the first round and knew that I was close," Fowler said. "I called my coach and Riley to look for some advice on how to play the second round. I never looked at the scores online during the second round and just kept telling myself that I needed to make more birdies. I didn't relax until the final putt went in."
Putting played a large role in Fowler's success during the round, including a last minute decision.
"The morning of the tournament I decided to change my putter on a whim," he explained. "I ended up making everything during the day from 10-15 feet and even rolled in a few from 35 feet."
The US Amateur tournament will begin with single rounds of stroke play on Aug. 12-13 on Pinehurst No. 4 course. The top 64 players will move on to stroke place on Aug. 14 with the winners advancing to possibly play two rounds of stroke play on Aug. 15. The quarterfinal matches will take place on Aug. 16, the semifinals on Aug. 17 and the 36-hole final will be held on Aug. 18. The field will consist of 312 competitors. Match play will be held on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 which has hosted three US Opens and a pair of US Amateurs before this year.
"The goal is always to win," Fowler explained about his strategy at the US Amateur. "But to be honest, I'm happy to be there and will try to soak it all in because this doesn't happen very often."
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