PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Junior men's golfer Nick Brothers, qualified for the United States Amateur Championship as he finished as the individual medalist, last Tuesday afternoon at the par-72, Cypress Run Golf Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Brothers, a two-year member of the Lions' men's golf squad, fired a one-under 143 over the two round tournament to clinch one of the two qualifying spots.
The Amateur Championship is set for next month in Erin Hills, Wis.
Taking on what was described as a 'superb course with tree-lined fairways' and 44 opponents, Brothers got off to a shaky start as he bogeyed his first hole. He responded nicely, however, by sinking a birdie at 11, and capping his back nine with a 15-foot birdie putt at 15. Still, his most telling moment of the round came at 17 and 18 as he took on the two toughest holes in impressive fashion. Brothers used a brilliant shot out of the rough on 17 to eventually save par while his eight-foot put on the 450-yard, par-four 18, gave Brothers momentum heading to the back nine.
An excited Brothers drained another birdie at three and proceeded to par five of the next six holes. After all scorecards were signed, a stunned Brothers realized that he held the clubhouse lead at two-under going into the second round of action.
In total, he hit 12 greens and used clutch putting to put himself in contention for the qualifying spot. Teeing-off at 9:00 a.m., Brothers went off from number one. Despite being loose and confident, Brothers bogeyed his first attempt to drop back to even-par.
Playing with a pair of tough competitors, Brothers fed off the others shots, leading to birdies at five and six to get to two-under.
A clutch par shot at seven saved the round for Brothers, and propelled him to consecutive pars through 13. At 14, Brothers faced a setback as his nine-iron found the bunker. His bogey, coupled with his playing partner's birdie, saw the Lion drop back two shots. Still, he continued to fire away as he collected a par on 15 to gain back one shot.
Another miscue by his playing partner resulted in a bogey and Brothers pulling even for the lead again. Both pared the tough 17th, before turning their attention to the mighty 18th tied at one-under.
The pressure did not get to Brothers, however, as he used a long drive, a fantastic six-iron, and two putts to par the final hole. His opponent could not hold up to the stress as he missed the green and eventually two-putted for bogey.
Brothers knew the bogey put him in front on the final hole, and as her signed his card and peaked at the scoreboard, he knew he had medaled and clinched his spot to Washington.
"All I kept thinking about was that all the hard work and time I spent on my game was finally paying off, I look forward to playing in Wisconsin," Brothers stated. He continued, "I owe a lot to my dad, my caddie Mike Pecylak, my step mom, my mom, and my sisters for their words of encouragement and support."
In total, Brothers connected on 20-of-28 fairway s and combined to stroke 59 putts.
Stay up-to-date with SaintLeoLions.com for Brothers' run at the Amateur Championship.