SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Clovis High junior-to-be Guillermo Chavez joined some of the more famous names in golf when he qualified Tuesday for the U.S. Junior Amateur championship.
Chavez qualified for the national tournament July 21-26 in Chevy Chase, Md., by finishing second at a regional qualifier at Grayhawk Golf Course.
Chavez shot a 5-under-par 67 and finished the two-day tournament on the desert-style golf course at even par.
Philip Francis of Scottsdale was the runaway winner at 9-under 135 in the tournament for 13-18 year olds. The top three in the 150-player-plus field at the regional qualified for the national event.
Chavez said qualifying for a tournament whose alumni include Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus has been one of his goals.
“It was a great feeling,” Chavez said. “Especially after the way I played the first day.”
Chavez said the hardest part was waiting to see if his score would stand up.
“I had to wait about an hour,” Chavez said. “That was pretty nerve-racking — especially when the final groups came in.”
Chavez came into the 18th hole on Tuesday thinking he might need one more birdie to qualify. “I knew I had to give myself a chance,” he said.
And he did.
Chavez tapped in for a two-putt birdie on the 521-yard, par 5 hole after hitting a 200-yard 4-iron over water to the green on his second shot.
He struggled to a 5-over 77 on Monday, a round that included two double bogeys.
The difference between the two rounds was his putter, Chavez said.
“I couldn’t make any putts (Monday). The second day it seemed like I made them all,” he said.
Chavez attributed some of his success to his caddie, CHS teammate Charles Gonzales, for keeping him relaxed.
At the national tournament, the first two days are stroke play with the top 64 advancing to match play.