Andrew Orischak can attest that winning will lift the most tired of spirits at this week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
After finishing his 1-up Round-of-16 win over Spencer Ralston, of Gainesville, Ga., on Friday morning, Fox Sports’ Holly Sonders interviewed Orischak. The 16-year-old from Hilton Head Island, S.C., had the gumption to ask Sonders if she would be his prom date next spring if he won the championship.
Sonders said yes.
“If I’m feeling tired, I’m thinking Holly at prom,” joked Orischak following his 3-and-2 quarterfinal win over Ryan Grider, of Lewisville, Texas, that advanced him to a semifinal matchup at Colleton River Plantation Club’s Dye Course against Eugene Hong.
Philip Barbaree, 17, of Shreveport, La., could relate to Orischak, even though he does not have a prom date hanging in the balance.
"I thought I would be pretty tired, but I’m actually fine right now,” said Barbaree following his 4-and-2 quarterfinal win over Kristoffer Reitan, of Norway. "I think the moment is helping me stay awake."
The championship is a taxing test of not only physical skill, but of mental endurance. The six-day schedule includes two rounds of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, including a 36-hole final. In total, players could log more than 162 holes.
Ten hours of weather delays have had players starting and stopping and sitting.
“I just relaxed and tried not to think about it too much,” said Hong, 15, of Sanford, Fla., of the delays. “I sat down and talked to my friends.”
Efficiency serves a player well.
Of the four semifinalists, Hong has played the fewest holes in match play (60) through the quarterfinals. Barbaree has logged 64, followed by Orischak (67) and Won Jun Lee (69), 17, of the Republic of Korea.
In addition to playing fewer holes, Hong has conserved mental energy, leading in 53 of the 60 holes.
"It’s definitely better,” Hong said of leading. "I don’t have to attack the pins as much; definitely more comfortable. When the match gets tight, it takes a lot of energy and focus to stay in it, so there is an advantage to leading the match."
Fatigue, though, is inevitable.
“I figured the guy who wins this week … is going to have to be the mentally toughest out of everyone just because of all the stops and gos and stops and gos,” Orischak said.
Colleton River Goes Hollywood
As golf movies go, Al Thiess believes “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” did right by Colleton River Plantation Club.
“If you look at golf movies, most of them, from my perspective, have a difficult time portraying the game in a realistic way,” said Thiess, the general chairman of this week’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
“I have seen it many, many times. I have seen it enough times that the plot isn’t new, but it’s interesting to see your own golf course portrayed in the movie. They changed the look of the holes in the sense of the angles they used."
The movie, based on the 1995 Steven Pressfield book that takes place in Georgia in 1931, starred Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron. While historic Savannah, Ga., was a natural choice for the period piece, finding a course that could easily portray the era was difficult.
“[The producers] scouted clubs that had the look they wanted,” Thiess said. “They approached the club, which let them in to review it, and an agreement was done. It was done just after the course opened [in 1998], so there were no homes on the course, and that was one of the things they really wanted."
In addition to Colleton River’s Dye Course, which had only been open about a year and sits on a peninsula bordered by the Port Royal Sound, the Ocean Course’s seaside 18th hole at Kiawah Island Golf Resort up the South Carolina coast was also used.
The bulk of the golf filming, though, was done on the Dye Course’s second, fourth, eighth, 10th and 17th holes.
The second hole was portrayed as the first hole and is shown when Walter Hagen, played by actor Bruce McGill, drives up in his car, honking the horn. The scene in which Matt Damon’s character, Rannulph Junuh, is standing in the forest with an opening ahead of him was shot to the right of No. 4.
The par-4 10th hole was portrayed as a par 5 and the par-3 17th was the hole in which Junuh made the hole-in-one.
Thiess said between 20 and 30 club members were cast as extras in the movie, which was filmed in October and November of 1999, along with some retakes the following spring. The movie opened on Nov. 3, 2000.
The movie also served as a promotional tool for the new club, which now features pictures from the film throughout its clubhouse.