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As much as Mother Nature tried her best to put a damper on things Friday, Jamison Randall braved the wet weather and walked approximately eight holes at The Country Club, located in Brookline, Mass.
A participant in the prestigious U.S. Amateur that gets underway this coming Monday, Randall admitted, following his anything but dry run, that he was able to meet his primary objective. The Country Club and the Charles River Country Club in Newton, Mass. represent foreign terrain for this Cumberland native, meaning a chance to acquire firsthand knowledge about bunker placements and how tight the fairways are could not be passed up â even if that meant strapping on the rain gear and braving the unsavory elements.
âItâs not as good as actually playing the course, but just to get out and get a feel of the lay of the land even before a practice round, I think itâs important,â said Randall, a junior-to-be at Virginiaâs Old Dominion University. â(Friday) was my first day seeing any hole on the course. The length of the holes combined with the features [at The Country Club], there were a few 500-yard doglegs, so youâve got to hit your driver 300 yards in order to have a chance.
âI think one of my advantages has always been my length and accuracy off the tee, so if anything [the setup at the 7,033 yard, par-71 The Country Club] will help me,â Randall expounded further. âIâve always been good with my irons, too. The size of the greens are so small; theyâre postage-stamp size.â
Even through the raindrops, Randall was able acquire a sense of the history thatâs unfolded at The Country Club, site of the U.S. teamâs spirited comeback over the Europeans to capture the 1999 Ryder Cup. The course has also hosted three U.S. Opens.
âTo soak it all in even in the rain, it was fun imagining what has taken place,â Randall noted.
Randallâs distinction as one of the 312 qualifiers for the U.S. Amateur was made possible following a strong showing at a 36-hole qualifying event held last month at Metacomet Country Club. An impressive three-under 67 on the second and final qualifying day enabled the 2011 R.I. Interscholastic League individual champion to grab the third and final U.S. Amateur spot that was available.
Randall posted his low score at the East Providence course during the morning portion of the second 18-hole installment. He remembers how the wind picked up just as the afternoon competitors were set to head out. As far as qualifying tales go, getting his round out of the way early proved quite advantageous.
âJust waiting for everyone to come in, I noticed that a few people had dropped back in the second round because there were quite a few people who were ahead of me after the first round,â Randall recalled. âI started to think, âWow, what if enough people drop back?â It was honestly one of most nervous times that I had ever experienced because I wasnât playing and I didnât have any control over it.
âOnce Bob Ward [RIGA Executive Director] said, âYup, youâre in,â I hadnât believed it until then,â Randall continued.
Randall brushed up against a top-flight field earlier this summer when he participated at the Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett Country Club.
âI have two whole days to soak everything in and enjoy before getting down to business on Monday,â said the 20-year-old.
The Cumberland High alumnus will continue prepping this weekend for what he hopes is a lengthy stay at the U.S. Amateur. He is scheduled for a practice round at The Country Club on Saturday before heading over to Charles River Country Club come Sunday.
The format for the U.S. Amateur is as follows: Monday and Tuesday are qualifying rounds followed by a gigantic cut on the second day. The remaining 64 players will then partake in a match-play format beginning Wednesday. The nearly week-long event concludes on Saturday.
Monday will see Randall tee off at 8:10 a.m. on the ninth hole at The Country Club. On Tuesday, he will shoot over to Charles River CC for a 1:25 p.m. start on the first tee.
By pure coincidence, one of Randallâs favorite summertime events is being held during the same time frame as the U.S. Amateur. As much as he revels in his experience at the Attleboro Open, it will have to wait for at least one year.
âAs much as I love the Attleboro Open, to pass something up like this would be pretty dumb,â said Randall, who is based out of North Attleboroâs Chemawa Golf Course.
On the surface, Randall could have not asked for a better way to transition into his junior year of college. That said, heâs not ready to look too far ahead, not when the U.S. Amateur beckons.
âIâm taking everything one step at a time and thatâs all I can do,â he said.
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