Aug. 1, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame rising junior Carl Santos-Ocampo (Naples, Fla./Community School of Naples) successfully qualified for the 2008 United States Amateur Championship after sharing medalist honors in the Notre Dame sectional on Tuesday afternoon at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course (par 70/7,023 yards).
Santos-Ocampo fired a four-under par 136 (67-69) to tie Todd Mitchell of Bloomington, Ill., for the top spot in the sectional, with the opening 67 being his best competitive round on the Warren layout (he shot a 68 in the opening round of the 2008 Irish Invitational back on April 5). Santos-Ocampo and Mitchell secured the two automatic berths from this week’s Notre Dame qualifier, while Tyler Zink (Lanesville, Ind.) and Brian Harris (Kokomo, Ind.) finished third and fourth, respectively, and were tapped as alternates.
The 108th edition of the U.S. Amateur Championship, widely considered the nation’s premier amateur tournament, will take place Aug. 18-24 in Pinehurst, N.C., at the famed Pinehurst Resort courses No. 2 & 4 (the No. 2 course hosted the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens, won by the late Payne Stewart and Michael Campbell, respectively).
Santos-Ocampo becomes the seventh Notre Dame golfer in the past five years to successfully qualify for the U.S. Amateur, and the first since Cole Isban (’07) and current senior-to-be Josh Sandman (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) played their way into the 2006 event, and rising junior Kyle Willis (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) qualified as an alternate.
Two other Irish golfers could join Santos-Ocampo in this year’s U.S. Amateur field, as rising sophomore Jeff Chen (Walnut, Calif./Los Altos) plays in a sectional next Monday (Aug. 4) in La Habra Heights, Calif. (Hacienda GC) and sophomore-to-be Tyler Hock (Ocala, Fla./Forest) competes in a two-day qualifier (Aug. 4-5) in his hometown of Ocala, Fla. (Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club).
This week’s U.S. Amateur qualification continues a superb summer for Santos-Ocampo, who also made the cut at three top amateur events — the Florida State Amateur, Eastern Amateur and Southern Amateur — and finished tied for 24th place at the Southern Amateur. In addition, he won the Tournament Players Association (TPA) at Windstar event in his hometown of Naples, Fla., and tied for 11th place (second among amateurs) at the E-Z-Go South Florida PGA Open, which also was held in Naples.
Santos-Ocampo was one of four Notre Dame golfers who competed in the prestigious Western Amateur earlier this week at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Mich. Santos-Ocampo and rising sophomore Dustin Zhang (Calgary, Alberta/Bishop Carroll) shared team-high honors at nine-over par 149 (Santos-Ocampo 72-77; Zhang 75-74), but both wound up seven strokes off the 36-hole cut line. Sandman was one shot back of his teammates at 10-over par 150 (75-75), while Willis — who earned his way into the field after tying for seventh (71, +1) in Monday’s qualifier at the Warren Golf Course — carded a 13-over par 153 (80-73).
Notre Dame’s nine returning veterans will be back on campus Aug. 8 to prepare for a week-long trip to Ireland (Aug. 9-16), in which the Irish will play several dual matches against club teams. Upon its return, Notre Dame will turn its attention to the season-opening USF Olympic Club Intercollegiate, slated for Sept. 8-9 at the legendary Olympic Club in suburban San Francisco.
— ND —