Aaron Whalen of Ephrata, Wash. shot rounds of 65-66 during today’s 36-hole qualifier to earn medalist honors in qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship, to be held August 17-23 at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.
Today’s qualifier was held at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash. which was playing as a par-70. The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) is the local representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and conducted this qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Championship.
Along with Whalen, also qualifying were Broc Johnson of Auburn, Wash. and Rylee Iacolucci of Cle Elum, Wash. Johnson just finished his senior year playing on the men’s golf team at Arizona State, and finished tied for fifth in the Pac-12 Championship which was also held at Palouse Ridge, shooting a 65 in the final round of that championship. Iacolucci birdied the second hole of a playoff, defeating Eric Ansett of Spokane, Wash. to earn this qualifier’s final available spot. Iacolucci just finished his senior year playing on the University of Idaho men’s golf team.
After 27 holes, Whalen stood at 4-under par, which would not have qualified him for the U.S. Amateur, but on his final nine holes he went 5-under par, which included an eagle on the par-5 10th hole, to finish at a combined 9-under for the 36 holes.
Last month Whalen had won the Washington 2A High School Championship and has committed to play golf at Washington State University in the fall, which has Palouse Ridge as its home course. He made it to the Round of 32 in last week’s PNGA Men’s Amateur, after tying for low score in that championship’s 36-hole stroke play qualifying, losing medalist honors in a playoff.
This year marks the 115th U.S. Amateur Championship, the oldest golf championship in the United States, being just one day older than the U.S. Open. Aside from an eight-year period when it was stroke play (1965-1972), the U.S. Amateur has been a match-play championship. The U.S. Amateur’s storied history includes such past champions as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, to name a few.
The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.