WILLIAMSTOWN, MA. -- Williams College will have two current players competing in the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship in Pebble Beach California, August 13-19 in juniors Sam Goldenring (Florham Park, N.J.) and Will Kannegieser (Minot, Maine). Goldenring and Kannegiser qualified out of a total of 7,463 golfers playing across the nation.
Thus far the only other known NCAA DIII team with two current team members playing in this year's championship is Illinois Wesleyan University.
The Eph duo qualified for the 2018 championship in a 36-hole qualifying event on the Ephs' Taconic Golf Club layout on July 16.
Kannegieser was the medalist on the day with a two-round score of 137; five under par. Goldenring shot a three-under par 139 to finish second in a field of more than 60 golfers from throughout the northeast.
In Pebble Beach there will be 312 golfers out to claim the title of best amateur male player in the U.S. Among the 312 qualifiers in this year's field are 62 exempt players who performed well at last year's championship, won the championship in the last 10 years, and 43 of the top 50-ranked amateur golfers in the world.
The famed Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course will serve as co-hosts for the 36 holes of stroke-play that will narrow the field down to – 64 competitors who will then compete in match play on the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
All matches except the championship final will be 18-hole competitions. The championship match is contested over 36 holes.
The Pebble Beach Golf Links is 7,070 yards with a par of 71, while Spyglass Hill measures 6,993 yards and has a par of 72.
"My family is really excited," noted Kannegieser. "Both of my parents are making the trip out to watch, as well as my grandfather, a cousin and an uncle. I've also had a ton of support from the golf club where I normally play."
"People in Florham Park are just as excited as the Taconic members," Goldenring reported. "My dad and older brother were pretty much telling anyone who would listen to them. I live in a pretty close-knit community so word spread pretty quickly. From going out to eat in my hometown, going to the gym, and practicing at my home club, people have been congratulating me everywhere."
Sam's brother Jake played at Williams and graduated in 2015 and he will be caddying for Sam in California. "It means the world to me," Sam said. "He's been there through all the highs and all the lows that come with playing competitive golf and has never once sent me down the wrong path. He knows me and my golf game better than I do sometimes, so I can't think of a better person to have by my side."
Neither Kannegieser nor Goldenring has played Pebble Beach or Spyglass Hill. "I don't know a lot more than your typical golfer," Kannegieser said. "I know they are both spectacular courses and both can be very difficult in the wind."
"I know both courses are both well within the Top 100 courses in the country, but besides that and some trivial facts I do not know much," stated Goldenring. Goldenring then added, "I've probably played Pebble Beach on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour Video Game close to 50 times over the years."
Asked about his preparations for the championship, Kannegieser said initially he was playing less, "but that's more because I've been busy figuring out the logistics of my travel. Lately I've been playing more, especially shots I may have to use more often there."
"I've been preparing by continuing to play in other regional and state events that I have been playing in all summer," Goldenring stated. "The week after qualifying for the U.S. Amateur I played in the New Jersey State Golf Association Open Championship and I came in 35th out of about 130 against the best professionals and amateurs in the state. I then played in the 29th Gregory Boff Memorial Invitational and I came in ninth." Goldenring's last event before the U.S. Amateur will be the Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur Championship.
Another Eph expected to be in attendance to support Goldenring and Kannegieser is Thomas Jamison '70 who is an attorney for the Pebble Beach Company and lives in a house on the famous layout.
Both Goldenring and Kannegieser have had one other collegiate national championship experience together when as first years they played for the Ephs in the 2017 NCAA DIII Championship tournament in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
"I came pretty close to qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur a couple times and last year I missed out on the U.S. Amateur by one stroke, so I'm really looking forward to playing," stated Goldenring.
Later this summer Will Kannegieser will be traveling to Norway to ski with some Williams ski teammates.
Looking ahead to the upcoming Eph golf year Eph head coach Josh Hillman noted, "Will is headed to Vietnam and Sam is going to be a Junior Adviser this year, which just goes to show you how much effort they put into the rest of their lives," Hillman stated.
Kannegieser will participate in a Junior Year Abroad program through the School of International Training (SIT) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. "I chose Vietnam because I wanted something a little off the beaten path," Kannegieser noted. "I've been to Southeast Asia before and knew I wanted to go back. The SIT program in Vietnam seemed like a great fit, and the reviews I read mixed with reviews I got from other alums helped me decide on Vietnam."
Kannegieser is not bringing his clubs to Vietnam, but he does plan on getting out and playing a few rounds during his year away from Williams.
"Yes, Williams drew me in for its mix of athletics and academics.," commented Kannegieser. "It is one of the few places where I can pursue both skiing and golf at the level I liked. The quality of Taconic Golf Club definitely made the choice easier."
Goldenring's decision to attend Williams was a blend of academics, athletics, and family history. "Not only did Jake come here, but so did my mom (Class of 1986) and her dad (Class of 1959), so Williams has always felt like home to a certain extent," Goldenring said. "I would always hear great stories of their experiences in the Purple Valley and I wanted to make my own. When it came time to decide on where I would be attending college it was all about finding the right balance for me between academics and the golf program. With its high level of academics and having Taconic Golf Club within a 12-minute walk, Williams was hard to pass up."
When the academic year begins Sam Goldenring will be serving as a Junior Adviser (JA) and living in a first year student entry, helping the new arrivals get acclimated to Williams and comfortable on campus. "I wanted to be a JA because of my own experience as a first year," he said. "I was thrown into the lineup on the team right away, so I really didn't have the chance to have the "First Year Experience" of meeting everyone else in my class until two months into the year. Since I didn't really know anyone on campus besides my team, I felt lonely and homesick at Williams for a lot of that first semester. I don't wish the way I felt on anyone and I wanted to be a JA to help those who have a similar experience."
Josh Hillman is traveling to Pebble Beach to watch the first two rounds of the championships. Hillman stated, "Sam and Will have worked extremely hard at their golf games the past two years. I have seen considerable growth in both how they handle themselves and their golf games. I know for a fact neither one of them is headed to Pebble Beach just to show up… they want to compete and contend, and to be real honest… I think they will."
"I'm really excited for the opportunity to share this moment with Sam," concluded Kannegieser. "It will be amazing to have Will out there," added Goldenring. "It will be the experiecne of a lifetime and I can't wait to share it with one of my teammates and good friends."
Sam Goldenring is playing with Americans Brandon Dalinka and Ryan Burnett both days.
Will Kannegieser will be playing with American Sam O'Dell and New Zealander Daniel Hillier (ranked 27th in the world) both days.
Monday, Agust 13
Sam Goldenring will tee off at 9:25 a.m. on Spyglass Hill -- 10th tee
Will Kannegieser will tee off at 2:30 p.m. at Pebble Beach -- 1st tee
Tuesday, August 14
Will Kannegieser will tee off at 9:15 a.m. on Spyglass Hill -- 10th tee
Sam Goldenring will tee off at 2:40 p.m. on Pebble Beach -- 1st tee
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