Texas Tech Golfer Will Play in the US Open
LUBBOCK, TX – When Red Raider Sandy Scott tees up his golf ball this Thursday and Friday in his first appearance at the U.S. Open, he’ll be just three groups behind legendary Tiger Woods and two groups behind Graeme McDowell, the former U.S. Open champion, and four-time Ryder Cup player.
Scott might have been starstruck by players of such caliber while growing up, but hero worship is not the point this week as this is a chance for the Texas Tech golfer to see how his game matches up on a USGA setup against many of the best players in the world.
“It’s not really much about getting starstruck. I certainly don’t feel that way. I’m just seeing these guys as competitors that I’m trying to beat at the end of the day", said Scott in a Zoom interview on Tuesday.
The 120th U.S. Open, which was originally scheduled for June 18-21, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, begins this Thursday at Winged Foot.
Scott, a two-time second-team all-American for the Red Raiders, made the cut due to his No. 6 spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Joining Scott as his caddy in Mamaroneck, New York, is Texas Tech golf coach Greg Sands.
In recent years, the big September event for Sands and the Red Raiders has been the Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach, where Tech’s Fredrik Nilehn was a tournament medalist back in 2016, Hurly Long went on to win while setting a course record back in 2017 and Scott won two years later in 2019.
When asked if the trip to Winged Foot makes up for missing out on a Pebble Beach appearance this year, Scott said, “It’s just slightly different. COVID has certainly put a damper on many things, but this is coming about because of that and I just have to take advantage of it.”
Scott was previously a senior during the 2019-20 school year, but he’ll be eligible to play for the Red Raiders again this school year after the NCAA gave spring sports athletes whose seasons were shortened or wiped out because of the pandemic another year of eligibility.
Nonetheless, Scott could’ve turned pro regardless, but announced recently that he intends on coming back to Tech for another year.
Scott, who carried two top-20 national rankings among U.S. college golfers when the season shut down in mid-March went home to Nairn, Scotland, and about a week later returned to the U.S. in late July to play in the U.S. Amateur tour in mid-August at Bandon Dunes.
Scott made match play, but unfortunately lost in the round of 32.
Though he missed a full college spring season, Scott said his game’s been well preserved since June with several competitive rounds at Nairn Golf Club, and the competition at the U.S. Am against his fellow Tech teammates.
“I feel really comfortable and really confident with my game.” said Scott.
“I’ve been in the states for a couple of months now, plenty of time to get warmed up for these kind of tests and conditions. I’ve had plenty of competitive rounds with the guys to where I feel comfortable.”
U.S. Open course setups tend to be some the toughest tests of all and In five U.S. Opens events played at Winged Foot’s West Course, the average winning score has been just 3 strokes over par.
However, Scott isn’t letting this psych him out though; Scott went on to say that he thinks his game will mesh with the layout.
Scott tees off at 7:40 a.m. CDT on Thursday and at 1 p.m. CDT on Friday in a group paired with Robert MacIntyre and Kurt Kitayama, both European Tour players.
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