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Peter Uihlein looks to repeat as US Amateur champion during upcoming tournament at Erin Hills - Post Crescent

Check out this featured article on Post-Crescentabout IMG Academy golf program alum, Peter Uihlein, and his path towards glory at Erin Hills. Article by Mike Woods:

Article TOWN OF ERIN — The list being read was long. Mind-wandering, starting-to-daydream long.

Then you came back to earth and looked at the guy whose accomplishments were being cataloged, and you couldn't help but notice his eyebrows rose as he looked down at the paper in front of him and his mouth formed one of those "wow, that's kind of interesting" shapes.

There are times when Peter Uihlein seems genuinely surprised at all he has done on the golf course. That's because, more or less, he doesn't pay that close of attention.

Peter Uihlein

"I'm more comfortable with a club in my hand than talking about things I've done," the defending U.S. Amateur champion said this week before taking his first run at Erin Hills, which will host this year's event Aug. 22-28. "I don't like talking about things I've done. I just want to keep moving forward and get better."

Uihlein was born into golf. His father, Wally, is the CEO of Acushnet Company, which is composed of the Titleist, Foot Joy and Cobra golf brands. Peter will even tell you about the video evidence of him as a toddler, in a walker, swinging a plastic club.

While his name offered certain built-in advantages, it was only going to take him so far. So at his own suggestion, at the age of 13, he and his mother moved from their New England home to Florida to attend the IMG Academy, while his father and brother stayed behind.

The move was difficult. But, at the same time, it has made his transition into golf that much easier.

"Hopefully, I've become a decent enough player where people talk more about my golf than my name," the Oklahoma State junior said. "I still want to get a lot better and accomplish a lot more."

About those accomplishments. Here's the crib notes version: Won the 2011 Ben Hogan Award, given to the top collegiate golfer, regardless of division, based on performance in college and amateur events during a 12-month period; won the 2010 Mark H. McCormack Medal, presented by the R&A to the top-ranked player in the world amateur rankings; represented the United States in the 2009 Walker Cup matches, where he went 4-0 to lead the U.S. to victory; quarterfinalist at the 2009 U.S. Amateur; finished second in 2010 and third in 2011 in the NCAA Division I men's golf championship.

Despite all he has achieved, he said winning last year's U.S. Amateur elevated his game that much more.

"It gives you a sense of confidence," he said. "You get that title, U.S. Amateur champion; it gives you a good feel about yourself. My first event back was at Olympia Fields and I won by a fair amount on a golf course I really didn't play well in years past. I don't know if it was just because I was playing well or the title that went with it.

"But I'm more confident and feel better about my game — a feeling of what I'm doing, I'm doing the right thing. Golf is such a mental sport and confidence is so big and it helped my confidence a lot."

Winning the U.S. Amateur opened a variety of doors for Uihlein, including playing in the first three majors this season. Of all that he has experienced, he said playing in the worst of the weather at the Open Championship — the only major in which he made the cut — was by far the best.

"That was fun," he said "It (the weather) was worse than what it looked like. We went through five towels. After the third round, my golf bag was unusable for the fourth round. I went from tour velvet to cord after that round. I couldn't hold on to anything. My hands were like prunes. That was wettest I'd ever been and the hardest conditions I'd ever played in."

After his first round at Erin Hills, he said 18 pars would be a good score. And having played in several USGA events, he knows that it's like going to the dentist — he may not like it, but he knows it's good for him.

"The way the USGA sets up courses is they expose you," he said. "You have to hit every shot. Shots you're not comfortable hitting, shots you don't like. They force you to do that."

Having done that last year, he has the confidence to know he can do it again.

"I was able to execute a lot of shots I might not have enjoyed hitting and I was able to pull them off, " he said. "So you feel better about where your game is at and where you're going."

Uihlein will be going back to school this fall, but after that, he certainly has the look of a player who will be going places.

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