West Australian golfers Oliver Goss and Brady Watt did their country proud last month, securing high finishes in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Massachusetts.
For Goss, a week of solid play saw him reach the Championship Final, where he squared off against England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick in the 36-hole final. Goss, who earned All-America honours at the University of Tennessee as a freshman last season, was bidding to join Nick Flanagan and three-time champion Walter J. Travis as the third Australian to capture the U.S. Amateur, while Fitzpatrick was hoping to become the first Englishman since 1911 to hoist the Havemeyer Trophy.
With his original caddy departing the event early, Goss turned to fellow Australian Brady Watt—whom Goss had narrowly beaten 2-up in the semi-final match the day prior—to carry the bag for the final.
It was a back-and-forth match between Goss and Fitzpatrick. Only six holes were halved in the morning round as Goss dominated with his driver, outdriving his opponent by 20 to 40 meters on each hole. Fitzpatrick, however, did his damage on the greens, sinking putt after putt from all distances. Fitzpatrick held a 1-shot lead into the turn as the players halved the final three holes of the morning round.
“Matt played really well. He holed a lot of putts this morning, and I was doing my best just to keep up with him because the putts he was holing were just unbelievable,” said Goss. “It’s probably the best display of putting I’ve ever seen. He definitely did his job this morning.”
The final 18 played out much differently to the opener; while six birdies won holes for the players in the morning, neither player made a birdie in the afternoon. As Goss bogeyed five holes after the break, Fitzpatrick was faultless. With a Goss bogey on the 33rd hole, Fitzpatrick took the championship 4&3.
Despite the disappointment of losing the Amateur Title, Goss was overjoyed with the results over the week. By reaching the U.S. Amateur Championship final, Fitzpatrick and Goss have each earned an exemption into the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club – provided they remain amateurs – and a likely invitation to next year’s Masters Tournament.
“If someone told me at the start of the week I was going to have the opportunity to play the Masters and the U.S. Open next year, I’d be speechless. I was there this year after a college tournament. We got Monday tickets to the practice round, and it was golf heaven. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.
“I stood there, and I was like, how do they play under this kind of pressure and with the difficulty of the golf course. But I’m really excited to be able to play there next year.”
Since 2012, Goss has gone strength to strength. After exiting in the quarter finals of the US Amateur in 2012, Goss went on to win the WA Amateur, the Australian Amateur and the WA Open, a professional tournament that featured top tour players like Brett Rumford. In 2014 Goss will look to do even better.
“I’ve learned that I do have the ability to reach the finals and have the opportunity to win, which is great. I’m looking forward to next year’s championship and the next 12 months with the opportunities I’ve been given to play in a couple of majors. I used a lot of experience from last year with the shots I had. I knew what I had to do with the feelings I had. Last year helped a lot.”
Watt himself can leave the event with his head held high, as his semi-final finish represents a tremendous achievement, while he was also awarded co-medallist honours after finishing T1 during the opening two stroke rounds early in the week.
Previous winners of the US Amateur include Tiger Woods (3 times), Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer & Jack Nicklaus.