By Haley Hodoval, AJGA Communications
Junior golfers Cole Hammer, Davis Riley and Sam Horsfield qualified for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, for the first time in their young careers.
At just 15 years-old, Cole Hammer of Houston, Texas, is the third youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Open, with Andy Zhang and Tadd Fujikawa being the only two younger. Affectionately known as “Hammer Time” to his family and friends, the 2018 grad just finished his freshman year at The Kinkaid School and carded a 64 and 68 at the regional qualifier.
“I just thought it would be cool to try, to see where it would take me,” Hammer shared when the New York Times asked about the qualifier. “Just looking for a good experience to see how my game compared to others.”
The University of Texas at Austin verbal commit has eight top-10 finishes to his name including a win at the 2015 Junior All-Star at Watters Creek. Over the weekend, Hammer took in a few practice rounds at Chambers Bay, adjusting to the links-style golf course.
“At first I played the first hole and I was in a bit of shock, I've never seen anything like it,” he said in an article in The Olympian. “But then as I got more used to it, I kind of like – I really like it now. I think it kind of suits my game. A lot of the short-game shots I really like around the greens.”
Davis Riley, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, boasts a No. 7 Polo Golf Ranking and has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Alabama. The two-time U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up was one of four presented with the Byron Nelson International Junior award, which recognizes junior golfers that possesses strong academics, active community involvement and excellent character both on and off the golf course. Riley recently graduated from Presbyterian Christian School and shortly after, qualified for the U.S. Open.
"It really didn't hit me until (Tuesday morning). I started thinking to myself, 'I'm in the U.S. Open with the best of the best. It's an awesome feeling. I'll be teeing it up at a U.S. Open before I take my first swing at Alabama,' ” Riley said when speaking to his hometown paper, the Hattiesburg American.
Sam Horsfield is one of 16 amateur golfers participating in the 2015 U.S. Open in Chambers Bay, which comes to no surprise to PGA TOUR player Ian Poulter. The two played a round of golf together four years ago that left Poulter calling Horsfield the “finest young golfer I have ever seen.”
After moving from the United Kingdom as a child, Horsfield grew up in Davenport, Florida, attended Ridge Community High School and signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Florida. Horsfield won the 2014 Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf and has a No. 2 Polo Golf Ranking. He holed a 20-foot putt to finish the qualifier with a 4-under-par 140 to secure his place in the U.S. Open.
"It's going to be an awesome experience. I can't wait,” he said when asked by NewsChief.com about attending the prestigious event. "It's been one of my goals for a while, to qualify for the U.S. Open," "To finally do it is pretty cool."