U.S. Amateur Blowout
DAY AT THE BEACH
This is an article from the Aug. 30, 1999 issue
David Gossett, the poised 20-year-old who won last week's U.S.
Amateur at Pebble Beach, has always been a fast starter. Last
year, in his first Tour event--the FedEx St. Jude Classic in his
hometown of Memphis--he shot 66-70 to head into the weekend only
four shots out of the lead. Last season, Gossett's first at the
University of Texas, he won in his second start and was the only
freshman to make All-America. How odd, then, that a couple of
bad starts propelled him to victory in the Amateur.
Gossett shot an ugly 80 in the opening round of stroke-play
qualifying, which meant he would have to go low the next day or
go home. He shot a 71 to get into the 64-man match-play portion
of the tournament by a stroke. "Getting over that 80 was
probably the key to my whole week," Gossett said following his
victory. "I put everything I had into my second round, and to
grind out a good score gave me tremendous confidence." That
confidence was tested the next morning when Gossett's putter
overslept and he lost the first three holes to Chad Collins of
Cloverdale, Ind. "Big lesson there," Gossett said. "You've got
to come out swinging." Gossett caught Collins by the 8th hole
and would never trail again in the tournament, winning the first
hole in his next three matches, all of which turned into routs.
Those carried Gossett into the 36-hole final against 17-year-old
Sung Yoon Kim, from Seoul, who was bidding to supplant Tiger
Woods, who at 18 was the youngest winner of the Amateur. Alas,
Kim couldn't keep up with Gossett, who birdied the 6th, 7th and
8th holes to go 6 up after nine holes and closed out Kim 9 and
8, the most lopsided final since Hal Sutton beat Bob Lewis 9 and
8 in 1980.
In Gossett's three matches from the third round through the
semifinals, he missed only two fairways, a crucial stat given
Pebble's unforgiving setup. The USGA used the Amateur as a dry
run for next year's U.S. Open, accounting for the course's slick
greens and five-inch rough. (Also, the 2nd hole, formerly a
cupcake par-5, was converted into a 484-yard par-4, which means
Pebble will play at par 71 next June.)
Gossett's victory earns him a spot at that Open, as well as at
next year's Masters and British Open. "Hopefully this week was
just a great start," said Gossett, who knows something about the
subject. --Alan Shipnuck
European Ryder Cup Team
JAMES GOES FOR A GRINDER
He played five weeks in a row twice, seven in a row once and in
so many tournaments all told (24 this year alone) that his wife,
Emma, had to be wondering what she got herself into when she
married him last November. In the end, though, Andrew Coltart
got what he wanted.
After shooting a final-round 66 to tie for fifth at the BMW
International Open in Munich--won by Colin Montgomerie--Coltart
was flying home to Sunningdale, England, when he learned that he
had been made one of European Ryder Cup captain Mark James's two
wild-card picks. (Jesper Parnevik was the other.) "I'm surprised
and delighted," Coltart said as he stepped off the plane in
Coltart wasn't the only one who was surprised. James took a pass
on Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer, veterans of 11 and nine Cups,
respectively, in favor of Coltart, 29, who becomes the seventh
rookie on the European team. The sixth was Padraig Harrington of
Ireland, who finished second at the BMW to nip Robert Karlsson
for the 10th and final spot on the points list. (The others on
the list are Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Paul
Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio
Garcia, Jarmo Sandelin and Jean Van de Velde.)
With Emma expecting the couple's first child 11 days before the
Ryder Cup, Coltart said, "It's going to be a double celebration
now in September."
What do these players have in common?
They've won playoffs at the Firstar (formerly Star Bank) Classic
in Beaver Creek, Ohio. Will defeated Jill Briles-Hinton and
Alicia Dibos in the inaugural tournament, in 1994; Mallon beat
Dottie Pepper in '98; and Jones bettered Becky Iverson and Jan
Stephenson last week.
Was Ben Crenshaw wise not to make Fred Couples a captain's
selection for the Ryder Cup?
--Based on 436 responses to our informal survey
Next question: The U.S. and European Ryder Cup rosters are set.
Which team do you think will win the Sept. 24-26 match? Vote at
Only 10 players made the cut in all four major tournaments this
year. Here's how they ranked by scoring average.
Wins Top 10s Avg.
Tiger Woods 1 3 71.31
C. Montgomerie 0 1 72.19
Jim Furyk 0 2 72.38
Davis Love III 0 2 72.38
Nick Price 0 2 72.44
David Duval 0 3 72.69
Bob Estes 0 2 72.75
Steve Pate 0 2 72.94
Payne Stewart 1 1 73.38
Brian Watts 0 0 73.44
Ron Brown Jr., Cumberland, Maine
Brown, 51, the owner of a golf club repair company, won his
second Maine Amateur, by six shots with a three-over 219 at the
Woodlands Club, his home course in Falmouth. The week before the
Amateur, Brown missed the cut at the U.S. Senior Open, shooting
Gretchen Zoeller, New Albany, Ind.
Gretchen, 15, won the 55th Junior Falls Cities tournament in
Louisville, defeating Caryn Willian 5 and 4. A daughter of Fuzzy
Zoeller, Gretchen is a sophomore at Providence High in
Clarksville, Ind., where she is the Pioneers' No. 2 player and
has been the medalist in six of 10 meets this season.
Greg Rohlf, White Plains, N.Y.
Rohlf, 34, won the 100th Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur,
beating Ed Gibstein 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final at Deepdale
Golf Club in Manhasset, N.Y. Rohlf, the Met's amateur of the
year in 1998, also won his third consecutive Westchester Amateur
and the New York City Amateur this summer.
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