Matt Naumec '15 qualifies for U.S. Amateur Championship
Matt Naumec ’15 came to Wilbraham & Monson Academy with a reputation as one of the best junior golfers in the country.
This summer, he proved it.
Matt placed second at a U.S. Amateur qualifying event at Torrington Country Club in Goshen, Conn., July 22. This qualified him for the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship, which is the highest level of non-professional golf in the world.
“Entering the tournament in Connecticut, I knew if I played my game I would have a shot at the U.S. Amateur,” Matt said. “But when I qualified I was still shocked because it’s the biggest amateur tournament in the world. Not many people at the age of 17 or going into their senior year of high school can say they qualified for the U.S. Amateur.
“I was really relieved because all of my hard work paid off.”
Connecticut’s qualifier drew players from throughout the country. Any non-professional with a handicap better than a 2.4 could enter.
In a field of 80 players, sporting his WMA golf bag, Matt shot a 3-under par 69 for his first round to put him in second place. He answered with a second round of par 72, making him only one of two players to finish the 36 holes under par.
“Going into the Connecticut tournament I knew I could shoot a good number, so when I got a 69 it felt good to go low,” Matt said. “But I wanted to shoot a good number for the second round because it could be won or lost there.
“When I came in from the second round I knew I had a good number. I thought it was good enough but I just had to wait.”
Matt waited a little more than an hour for all of the golfers’ scores to be recorded before he learned he had earned one of the two berths at the U.S. Amateur. More than 6,800 golfers competed in 97 qualifying events this summer vying for the 312 slots at the U.S. Amateur, which will be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga., Aug. 11-17.
“It’s an honor to qualify for this,” Matt said. “I’m just trying to make the cut. I’m going for the experience, and if I make the cut I make the cut.”
WMA’s Jack Dowding ’15 served as Matt’s caddy.
“Having one of my best friends on the bag was great,” Matt said. “Jack kept me calm. He helped me select clubs and read putts. He was a good caddy. It was awesome having him on the bag.”