World Amateur Golf Ranking Number One Peter Uihlein has won the 2010 US Amateur Championship on his 21st birthday, after defeating David Chung 4&2 in the 36-hole final at the Chambers Bay, Washington. The American’s victory earns him an exemption into the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George’s, as well as a place in next year’s US Open and a likely invitation to the Masters Tournament.
The victory is likely to consolidate Uihlein’s position as the world’s best amateur golfer, a title which he has been regularly exchanging over the season with the 2010 Amateur Champion and Open Championship Silver Medallist, Jin Jeong of Korea.
“It’s definitely the best birthday present I’ve ever had, said Uihlein, who earned four points out of four for the USA in last September’s Walker Cup Match. “To add my name to that list on the [Havemeyer] Trophy is pretty special.”
When the Oklahoma State student crossed the winning line after 34 holes of the 7,742-yard, par-71 course at Chambers Bay, he was the equivalent of eight under par to Chung’s two under.
“I got off to a good start,” Uihlein said, referring to the three-hole lead he established after the first five holes. “But even when I went a couple up early, I knew there was a lot of golf left. I knew he was going to make a run eventually.”
Porter Cup and Western Amateur champion Chung, who reversed defending champion Byeong-hun An’s three-hole lead in the semi-final, reduced the deficit to two holes at the half-way stage. Uihlein once again increased his lead, going 4up with a birdie on the 26th hole, but again Chung rallied, halving the Sahalee Players champion’s advantage after winning the 28th and 29th holes with a par and a birdie, respectively.
“I almost all the time put myself in a hole and I somehow bring myself out of it,” said the 20-year-old student at Stanford University.
With both players having driven the 30th green, Orlando’s Uihlein slid his eagle-putt past the hole from 20 feet. Chung had a 12-foot chance to cut his opponent’s lead to one, but he could not capitalise on the opportunity.
From there, Uihlein would win two of the next four holes to claim the biggest victory of his career and contemplate the rewards and opportunities it brings.
He is the second amateur exempt into the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s, joining Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard, who earned his Open Championship place earlier in August thanks to victory at the European Amateur Championship at Vannajanlinna, Finland.