Amateur golf

Anderson realizes longtime dream, qualifies for U.S. Amateur

16-year-old emerges from one-hole playoff to finish second at qualifier
By Mark Haskell | Jul 26, 2017
Photo by: Mark Haskell Cole Anderson of Camden.

Andover, Mass. — Prior to Tuesday’s U.S. Amateur Golf qualifier on July 25 at Andover Country Club, Cole Anderson of Camden had never played more than 36 holes in a day.

The 16-year-old Anderson surpassed that mark on Tuesday, and, in the process, made good on a lifelong dream he aspired for in the world of golf.

After 36 grueling holes, Anderson found himself in a three-way tie for second place at 9-under par and — with only two more spots available for the U.S. Amateur Golf Tournament — was forced into a one-hole playoff with two other golfers for the final two spots.

Click for more photos of Cole Anderson.

Anderson then made it academic when he eagled the first and only playoff hole — and 37th overall — to finish second and, more importantly, earned a spot in the U.S. Amateur Golf Tournament.

The U.S. Amateur will be Aug. 14-20 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Anderson finished 36 holes having shot a 3-under par 69 in his first round and ended the day firing a 6-under par 66 for a 135 total gross.

He also eagled two of his final four holes, one on the par-5, 492-yard seventh hole (16th of his round) and the one-hole playoff on the par-5, 454-yard 10th.

“It was easily the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in,” said Anderson of the 82-player field. “The U.S. Am is the pinnacle of amateur golf really. Everybody dreams of playing it and it’s like the number one field [and] it’s always at an awesome venue. I’m just beyond excited at this point to be a part of it. They’re the best amateur golfers in the world. It’s going to be a blast for sure.”

Spencer Soosman of Westlake Village, Calif. was the overall winner of the qualifier, firing an 11-under par 133.

Anderson was tied with Brandon Wu of Scarsdale, N.Y. and Alex Jamieson of Duxbury, Mass., which forced the one-hole playoff.

Anderson hit a blistering shot off the tee on the playoff hole and was aided by a favorable bounce off the cart path.

“I got a kick off the cart path and I ended up in the rough from about 140-145 [yards] out,” he said. “I hit it to like 30 feet, caught like a flier out of the rough and it went a little farther than I expected. So I had a 30-footer downhill [for eagle] right to left and I made it.”

Wu birdied the hole and also advanced, while Jamieson’s par was not enough as he was eliminated from the tournament.

Anderson’s eagle on the 16th hole of his second round put him 1-up on Jamieson with two holes to play, but the Camden resident had “a pretty bad bogey on 18,” which dropped him down to even with Jameson and Wu.

It was his only bogey of the round and second on the day.

Anderson finished third at the 98th annual Maine Amateur Golf Championships at the Brunswick Golf Club July 11-13 at Brunswick Country Club, but did not play as well at the New England Amateur Championship on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 18-19, as he finished 9-over par through two rounds.

“I actually missed the cut,” he said. “I played pretty poorly, which, believe it or not kind of turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It gave me an extra two days to get ready [for the U.S. Amateur qualifier].”

Those extra two days helped Anderson “reset and kind of get everything in order, which worked out well.”


Anderson teed off at 8:20 a.m. and began his first round on the first hole, while he began his second round on hole 10. He said “we left the course around 7:35 [p.m.].”

The winner of the U.S. Amateur gets exemptions into the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open, all three of which are part of the PGA Tour and tournaments largely comprised of professional golfers.

Anderson said while “of course you go in trying to win, I would say at this point, it’s going to be a lot more about the experience, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

“I’ll probably be one of the youngest players in the field,” he said. “As of now, I know of one guy who is younger than me. He’s 15.”

Anderson said, to his knowledge, he is the only Mainer to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.

And while his reputation as a top-tier golfer precedes him with numerous tournament wins under his belt, he anticipates butterflies once he touches down in The Golden State.

“I’ll probably walk into the locker room and see some names and say, ‘Holy smokes I’ve seen this guy on TV before. This is the real deal’ ” Anderson said. “And I’m sure my first tee shot of the first round I’ll be shaking like mad, but you almost look forward to that at this point. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time. Not a lot of people get to say they’ve played in the U.S. Am, let alone at 16,” he said. “It’s going to be a really cool experience.”

Anderson, who will be a junior at Camden Hills Regional High School and has won the Maine Principals' Association Class A schoolboy individual golf championship two years running, will attend Florida State University on a golf scholarship in 2019.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Tom Albertson | Jul 29, 2017 08:48

Congratulations Cole!

Posted by: Tom Albertson | Jul 29, 2017 08:48

Congratulations Cole!

Posted by: stanley jefferson quinn | Jul 28, 2017 16:41

Great job , good luck !!!!!

Posted by: Greg Holt | Jul 27, 2017 22:18

Way to go Cole!

Posted by: Don Dickinson | Jul 27, 2017 18:39


If you wish to comment, please login.