It may not be the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka fame, but for Jordie Garner, it may as well be after qualifying for his maiden US Amateur Championship overnight.
The Central Coast buzz box was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop after shooting rounds of 67 and 72 at Colleton River in South Carolina to book his place at Pinehurst for the 119th edition of the famed championship which begins on August 12th.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the 19-year-old, however, who led by two after the first round. Nerves played their part, and Garner he had to endure a restless night between rounds.
“I’m pretty amped up,” he said post-round with the official invitation in his hand.
Garner was in incredible form on day one, shooting the low round of the day in the 130 player field.
“It was seriously like Tiger in round one. I literally was stumping everything every time had a wedge in my hand.
“I gave myself a heap of looks inside 10 feet and left about four out there too,” he beamed.
The second round was an altogether different affair, and Garner battled with the anticipation of what could be coming his way.
Battle to Book Ticket
A slow start turned into a bad one very quickly, with three bogeys in his first seven holes.
“Yesterday was like a video game, and then today I didn’t settle down.
“I didn’t sleep.”Was so nervous I was hitting cold tops.
“I just knew that I had to go out there and still play well, and yeah managed to fight so hard to get back.
An fight back he did. Garner eventually settled down and clawed his way back to even par for the day, good enough to finish outright third and grab the second last spot on offer.
“I said to myself I’m not going to finish like this, then just it turned into a mental battle and ground hard, and took advantage of the par fives.”
“I really feel like I earned this invite with the fightback,” he smiled.
Nathan Barbieri, who qualified for last year’s US Amateur, was also in the field at Colleton River. Unluckily for the NSW State Team representative, his two-under-par total was only good enough to grab the second alternate position, and he will be relying on an unlikely withdrawal to take his place in the field.