The idea that experience is the best teacher dates to Caesar, some historians say, and the adage rings true all these years later. Ask Columbian Ryan Marter on the eve of his second appearance in the U.S. Amateur.
“I know what it’s all about now,” he said.
Marter, a rising sophomore at Wofford College who enjoyed a distinguished high school career in the A.C. Flora powerhouse program, will test his game in the world’s best amateur competition again this week and expects better results.
Making the U.S. Amateur before entering college is a significant achievement. Qualifying again a year later put the golfer in elite company and, in Marter’s case, increases the anticipation.
“I can’t wait,” he said before heading to California. “I expect more of myself this time. I didn’t make match-play last year, and I found out what you need (to succeed) at this level.”
The field of 312 will play 36 holes of stroke-play — one round each at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hills Golf Club — on Monday and Tuesday. The low 64 advance to match-play at Pebble Beach.
“I know it sounds obvious, but you do have to hit fairways and greens,” Marter said. “My driver got a little loose last year, and that cost me (in qualifying). I just wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be.”
Marter headed to the 2017 Amateur after a sparkling summer that included medalist honors in U.S. Amateur qualifying, a tie for second in the South Carolina Amateur and a third in the Carolinas Amateur. Although he again led his Amateur qualifier, tournament results have not been as spectacular.
“I feel confident about my game,” he said. “I’m trending upward, playing my best of the summer. I’ve played solid golf all summer. It’s just that one poor day, not horrible, took me out of the tournament.”
He said “getting off the tee” is the strength of his game. “I know I’ve got to hit fairways and avoid mistakes.”
Marter called advancing into college life “a large adjustment in terms of balancing academics and golf.” He struggled to score well in fall tournament, but “I turned it around in the spring,” he said.
He posted a high of T24 for his best finish and closed his freshman season with a 27th in the Southern Conference championship. His summer included top 25 or better scores in the Palmetto Amateur, the Rice Planters Amateur and the South Carolina Amateur.
“I like where my game is right now,” he said. “I know you have to get the ball in the fairway, and your short game has to be strong. The rounds can definitely be a grind, but that’s the importance of playing in the tournament before. I know what to expect.”
Overall, 12 players from the state will compete in the Amateur. The list includes Marter, Trent Phillips (Inman/Georgia), Trace Crowe (Easley/Auburn), former Clemson star Stephen Behr (Florence), Ryan Stachler (USC), Jake Carter (Aiken/Florida State), Zack Gordon (Gaffney/Clemson), Andrew Orischak (Hilton Head Island/Virginia), Garrett Reband (York/Oklahoma), Jeremy Grab (Daniel Island/Wofford), Trevor Phillips (Inman/Georgia) and Matt Smith (Seneca/Truitt McConnell).
Chip shots. USC golfer Lois Kaye Go, a rising junior, won the 2018 Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open at 7-under-par 209. . . . Hall of Famer Beth Daniel and Grammy Award winner Darius Rucker have been named honorary chairs of the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, set for May 30-June 2 at the CC of Charleston. Special ticket prices and volunteer opportunities are available online at www.uswomensopen.com/2019 . . . . Jaelyn and Jodee Tindal (Rock Hill) edged the Lexington duo of Gracyn Burgess and Kennedy Gooding to win the CGA’s Carolinas Women’s Four-Ball at Myrtle Beach. . . . Molly Hardwick (Lexington) won the girls’ title and Brandon Masters (Piedmont) earned the boys’ championship in the SCJGA’s Beth Daniel Junior Azalea in Charleston. . . . Jensen Castle (West Columbia) tied for sixth in a national field in the girls’ division of the Big I championship at Daniel Island. Jonathan Griz (Hilton Head Island) shared sixth in the boys’ competition. . . . Chris Culler (Camden) earned a berth in the U.S. Senior Amateur in qualifying at Colleton River’s Nicklaus Course.