Hunter Hamrick qualifies for U.S. Open

Published 1:26 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hunter Hamrick takes a swing at the NCAA Championships FInals on June 3, 2012. (PHOTO/AMELIA J. BRACKIN, UA ATHLETICS)

At age two, Hunter Hamrick was taking his first swings at the Troy Country Club. Fast forward to 2012 and Hamrick, now 22, has not only led the University of Alabama men’s golf team to a runner-up finish in the NCAA Championships over the weekend but qualified for the U.S. Open.

“It’s obviously a dream come true,” Hamrick said. “As a golfer, you always want to play in a PGA Tour Tournament.”

Hamrick will get that very chance after shooting a 4-under 67 for a total score of 8-under 134 in Tuesday’s sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tenn.

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Hamrick, who was born in Troy in 1990, began swinging the golf club with his father, Bill, at age two. The Hamricks moved to Montgomery where Hunter flourished at Montgomery Academy.

“His first tournament outside of Montgomery was in Brundidge when he was around six or seven,” Bill said. “He’s had a nice career.”

Nice indeed.

The University of Alabama senior won three consecutive individual state titles and five consecutive team titles in high school. Hamrick was the youngest participant in the 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur field at age 13 and again when he was 15 in the 2006 U.S. Amateur.

Hamrick has been featured in Sports Illustrated and was ranked as high as fifth in the nation out of high school.

As a freshman, Hamrick led the Crimson Tide to its first-ever regional championship and finished 7th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

Despite the pressure of competing in his first professional golf tournament, Hamrick feels his past experiences have prepared him for what is to come.

“It doesn’t get much more high pressure than what we experienced in the national championships,” Hamrick said of the Crimson Tide’s 3-2 match play loss to Texas over the weekend. “I’m looking forward to the experience of playing with the best.”

Hamrick competed with 48 others for three spots at the local tournament round in Pensacola. The trio advance to sectionals in Memphis where he won his place in the U.S. Open.

“I was the second group off so I had to sit and hope my score held up,” Hamrick said of sectionals. “I was confident it would but still had to sit and wait it out.”

The 112th U.S. Open will be held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., on June 14-17 with a purse of $8 million.

The tournament will be televised by ESPN and ABC.

Rory McIlroy won last year’s tournament.