Hammer Snags Big Win Heading Into U.S. Amateur
August 6, 2018
By David Shefter, USGA
Cole Hammer, who in May claimed the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title with partner Garrett Barber, tuned up for next week’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach by winning the third-oldest amateur championship, the Western Amateur, at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, Ill.
The 18-year-old from Houston, who will play for the University of Texas starting in the fall, defeated two-time U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up Davis Riley, 1 up, in the 18-hole final on Saturday. Hammer, a semifinalist in last month’s U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club, advanced to the championship match after needing 20 holes to eliminate Stanford University’s Brandon Wu in the semifinals on Saturday morning.
Hammer’s title capped a grueling week of golf that saw him shoot a third-round 61 en route to co-medalist honors in the 72-hole, stroke-play portion of the competition. The field was then whittled to 16 players for two days of match play. Hammer, No. 33 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, was extended to at least the 18th hole in all four of his matches.
Wow... what an unbelievable week in Chicago. Western Amateur Champion! Unreal match with @davis_riley really enjoyed it. Can’t forget my mom for being the world’s best caddie and thanks to @westernamateur for an incredible event! #tgbtg pic.twitter.com/wn3PtLO6J5— Cole Hammer (@cole_hammer6765) August 5, 2018
Riley, a rising senior at the University of Alabama and No. 27 in the world, is headed to next week’s U.S. Amateur.
Pebble Beach will mark Hammer’s second appearance in the U.S. Amateur. As a 15-year-old in 2015, two months removed from his U.S. Open debut at Chambers Bay, he advanced to the Round of 64, falling to eventual semifinalist Kenta Konishi.
Perry Impressive in 3M Finale
In the final playing of the 3M Championship as a PGA Tour Champions event, two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Kenny Perry matched five-time USGA champion Hale Irwin for the most victories in the event.
Perry, 57, of Franklin, Ky., closed with a final-round, 3-under-par 69 on Sunday for a three-stroke victory in a tournament that will transition to the PGA Tour as part of their revamped schedule in 2019. Also a winner of the event in 2014 and 2015, Perry tied Irwin for the most victories in the senior tournament, which began in 1993, and is played at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn.
“It’s an honor,” said Perry of matching Irwin, who won the 1974, 1979 and 1990 U.S. Open before winning a pair of U.S. Senior Open titles in 1998 and 2000. “Incredible. He’s one of the greatest players of all time.”
While the senior tournament is going away, Perry said he’s not done competing in the Twin Cities. He plans on playing in the PGA Tour event next year, as he’ll have a one-time exemption based on being among the top-50 career PGA Tour money leaders (he’s currently 26th).
Perry finished at 21-under 195 for his 10th career victory on the 50-and-over circuit, and his first since his Senior Open triumph at Salem Country Club last year.
Following offseason shoulder surgery, Perry's best result this season was fifth at the Insperity Invitational in early May. He missed the cut in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and tied for 40th in his U.S. Senior Open title defense at The Broadmoor in late June.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.