CORVALLIS, Ore. – Rising senior Alex Franklin won a sectional qualifying tournament in Fresno, Calif., on Monday to become the second Oregon State men’s golfer to qualify for the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship in the past week.
Franklin shot a 5-under 68-69--137 at the San Joaquin Country Club to win the 52-player event by a stroke over Paul Smith of Turlock, Calif. Franklin will join incoming Oregon State freshman Tyler Collier, who advanced through a sectional qualifying tournament at the Butte Creek Country Club in Chico, Calif., last Tuesday, at the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship in Johns Creek, Ga.
It’s the third time in the past two years an Oregon State golfer has earned a trip to the U.S. Amateur, as Brian Jung qualified last year, and Collier and Franklin both punched their tickets this year.
The 114th U.S. Amateur Championship will be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands Course) from Monday, Aug. 11 to Sunday, Aug. 17. The event is hosted by the United States Golf Association. The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Franklin, a native of San Rafael, Calif., joined the Oregon State men’s golf program last year as a junior transfer. He had a sensational campaign with the Beavers as he posted a scoring average of 72.93, the second best on the team, and was selected as an individual to compete at the NCAA West Regionals in Eugene.
The U.S. Amateur Championship is the oldest golf championship in this country, one day older than the U.S. Open. Except for an eight-year period, 1965-1972, when it was contested at stroke play, the Amateur has been a match-play championship.
Throughout its history, the U.S. Amateur has been the most coveted of all amateur titles. Many of the great names of modern professional golf, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Jerry Pate, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, grace the Havemeyer Trophy.
It was, however, legendary amateur Robert T. Jones Jr., who first attracted national media coverage and sparked spectator attendance at the U.S. Amateur. Jones captured the championship five times (1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930). His 1930 victory was a seminal moment in golf history, as Jones won the four major American and British championships in one year and completed the Grand Slam by winning the U.S. Amateur at Merion Cricket Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Sixty-six years later, in 1996, Tiger Woods attracted similar levels of interest and enthusiasm at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., when he won a record third straight U.S. Amateur, having registered 18 consecutive match-play victories. In 1994, Woods, at 18, had first entered the record book as the youngest U.S. Amateur champion, following his three consecutive Junior Amateur titles (1991-1993). That record has since been broken twice, first by 17-year-old Danny Lee in 2008 at Pinehurst No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., then in 2009, when 17-year-old Byeong-Hun An won at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., with a 7-and-5 victory over Ben Martin, of Greenwood, S.C.