NEWTON, Kan. – Ben Hogenkamp’s
name pays homage to a famous man of history.
Because he was born in March, his
middle name is taken from St. Patrick, whose life and legacy are celebrated on
When it came to his first name, Nick
and Susan Hogenkamp were looking for something short to complement their long
last name. They settled on Ben, unaware of the double takes that their third
son would encounter when introducing himself, especially after golf became his
“It’s totally a coincidence,” said
Hogenkamp, of Minster, Ohio, who is playing in his first USGA championship at
the U.S. Amateur Public Links. “It’s funny the reactions I get from people.
Everybody assumes my dad was a big Ben Hogan fan.”
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In his second nine during the
second round of stroke-play qualifying, Hogenkamp played like the four-time
U.S. Open champion, making birdies on four of his final six holes to shoot
4-under 67 for a total of 2-under 140 that tied him for 10th.
“That was the best round I’ve ever
played,” said Hogenkamp, 22, who hugged his parents and displayed the kind of
joy that Hogan never evinced after a round. “I didn’t think I had a 67 in my
bag today, but once the wind laid down, I really got ahold of my driver and
everything smoothed out. I took advantage of that.”
In the first round of match play,
Hogenkamp, the USGA rookie, will face Sean Knapp, 52, who is playing in his
34th individual USGA championship. They will tee off at 12:20 p.m. CDT.
A recent graduate of Wittenberg
University, the 22-year-old took time out from his job search to enter the
Public Links, the only tournament he planned on playing this summer. His
qualifier was at Beavercreek (Ohio) Golf Club, a site with which he was
familiar, and not just as a player.
Last summer, Hogenkamp was a P. J.
Boatwright Intern for the Miami Valley Golf Association, working at the
association thanks to a grant provided by the USGA. He was involved in many
aspects of the organization, from helping to update the website to assisting
with competitions, including qualifiers for USGA championships.
In 2013, Hogenkamp showed up early
at Beavercreek for the Public Links qualifier, helped to set up, played 36
holes, then helped to clean up. This year, he only had one responsibility, and
he won the qualifier, securing a trip to Newton, Kan.
“That experience really has helped
me,” said Hogenkamp. “You get a feel for the other side of the tournament
experience and everything that goes on behind the scenes. I think that has made
me feel at home here, because I feel like I know the people and how they run
At the Miami Valley Golf
Association, Hogenkamp had a good mentor in Steve Jurick, the association’s
executive director. In addition to teaching Hogenkamp about the golf industry,
he encouraged his intern to keep playing golf, even taking him out to the
course for matches. In fact, Jurick was quick to point out that he had beaten
Hogenkamp last week.
“It was wonderful to have Ben
working for us last year,” said Jurick. “The things that I look for in a
Boatwright candidate are stability of character, and the ability to learn and
think on your feet. Whether it was working on the website, talking with members
or dealing with competitors, Ben picked them up quickly.
“Boatwright Interns are invaluable
for us. They perform crucial day-in, day-out responsibilities.”
One of the highlights of a
Boatwright Internship is a two-day orientation session at the USGA’s headquarters
in Far Hills, N.J., where scores of interns learn about the USGA’s work and its
relationship with state and regional golf associations around the country.
During his visit last year,
Hogenkamp enjoyed seeing Iron Byron in the Research and Test Center, as well
the exhibits in the USGA Museum celebrating golf’s all-time greats. His
The Bob Jones Room.
Hunki Yun is the director of strategic projects for the USGA. Email him