Three Mustangs have won the U.S. Amateur championship since 1998
DALLAS (SMU/USGA) – Three SMU golfers will look to continue the program’s recent success as the U.S. Amateur championship begins Monday at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia. Juniors-to-be Austin Smotherman and Bryson Dechambeau will be joined by incoming freshman Ben Baxter at the tournament, which is often considered the most coveted of all amateur tournaments.
Dechambeau received an exemption to the U.S. Amateur by holding a top-50 ranking in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Smotherman won the U.S. Amateur qualifying event at Tangle Ridge Golf Course in Grand Prairie on July 21 with an 11-under final score. Baxter took second at the qualifier at Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield on July 15.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to play in the U.S. Amateur,” head coach Jason Enloe said. “I expect all of them to play very well. I’m so proud of them for getting there and they’re in great form. They’ve gotten match play experience so if they get to match play they could make some noise. I’m excited to watch them.”
Since 1998, three Mustangs have won the U.S. Amateur – Kelly Kraft (2011), Colt Knost (2007) and Hank Kuehne (1998) – more than any other collegiate golf program in the nation. Four Mustangs competed last season, with Dechambeau reaching the second round of match play after tying for sixth out of 312 entrants during the stroke play portion of the tournament.
“It’s great exposure for the team and for the players to be able to play in this event,” Enloe said.
The tournament will begin with 36 holes of stroke play occurring on Monday and Tuesday, after which the top 64 scorers will advance to match play beginning Wednesday. The championship will conclude with a 36-hole match on Aug. 17. All match play rounds through the quarterfinals will be televised on Golf Channel, with the semifinals and finals shown on NBC.
On Monday, Dechambeau will start on the back nine at 8:30 a.m. CT. Smotherman will also begin on the 10th hole at 12:20 p.m., while Baxter will start at 8:25 a.m. from the first tee.