NCGA Golf

Summer 2018

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What this year's U.S. Amateur partici- pants would give to have a few of Nicklaus's notes in their back pockets Aug. 13-19, when the championship returns to Pebble Beach for a fifth time. It began in 1929, the first time a USGA event was held in Cali- fornia, drawing the likes of Bobby Jones to the West Coast. Though a surprising first- round knockout, Jones had the chance to experience Cypress Point before heading home and was so smitten that he employed its architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie, to co-design Augusta National with him. In 1947, Robert "Skee" Riegel, fresh off lead- ing the U.S. Walker Cup team to victory, defeated Californian Johnny Dawson, 2 and 1. Pebble, of course, showed Nicklaus an equal affection: He won the '61 Ama- teur decisively, defeating Dudley Wysong, 8 and 6, along with the 1972 U.S. Open and three Bing Crosby National Pro-Ams. "The most important thing to me was that I played every single round on that golf course under par," said Nicklaus of his Amateur triumph. He was 20-under par for 112 holes, losing only 19 holes in his Pebble Beach debut. Justin Suh grew up about 75 miles north of Pebble Beach in San Jose. He first played Spyglass Hill Golf Course, which will host the championship's first two rounds of stroke play qualifying, at the age of 14 and later won the 2014 NCGA Junior Champi- onship there while a senior at Evergreen Valley High. Now a senior at Southern Cal, Suh recently led the Trojans to vic- tory at the Saint Mary's Invita- tional on Poppy Hills Golf Course. Suh, a former two-time Boys' Player of the Year on the Junior Tour of Northern California, has driven scenic 17-Mile Drive countless times and played every course in the area, including Cypress Point. Everything, that is, except Pebble Beach. After a round at St. Mary's last fall, the USC team went for ice cream up by The Lodge and walked out to the 18th green for pictures, like countless dreamers do each year. For Suh, at least, that dream will become a reality this summer. Like many of his peers, Suh is "unbelievably stoked" to play Pebble for the first time. Currently ranked No. 6 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Suh expects plenty of family support at what could be his final U.S. Am appearance. "I'm making it mandatory for all of them to come out," he said. "There's no excuses for that week." Robert Trent Jones, Jr. remembers the first time he competed in an NCGA Amateur at Spyglass: He posted an 82 and thought he was done. "I qualified easily," he said. "It was a very stern test of golf, not because of the design per se, but because it was rough and natural." Robert Trent Jones, Sr. was hired to design Spyglass in 1965. The NCGA funded the building of the course – $480,000 all in according to Jones, Jr. – on the condition that the association get 30 days per year to host its tournaments. Jones Jr., then 24 years old, was there from the beginning with his father at Spy- glass, referring to himself as the sorcerer's apprentice. The first five holes were inspired by Pine Valley, he said, and the last 13 by Augusta National. Anticipating that the golf ball would progress, his father placed an emphasis on strategic play, and 46 SUMMER 2018 | NCGA.ORG Top: Pebble Beach hosted its first of five U.S. Amateurs in 1929.; Robert Trent Jones, Jr. served as "sorcerer's apprentice" to his father at Spyglass; The stunning par-5, sixth hole at Pebble (right); RTJ Jr. says the first five holes at Spyglass (opposite) were inspired by Pine Valley, the last 13 by Augusta National. LEFT: JOANN DOST; TOP: USGA

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