Short of Q-School, it may be the toughest test in golf. Two days of 18-hole stroke play, which cuts the field to the 64 lowest scores. Six rounds of match play follow, concluding with a 36-hole match play final.
Oh, yeah, this year's venue (Erin Hills in Wisconsin) is a record 7,760 yards.
That's the challenge facing IMG Academy golf program alum Peter Uihlein as he attempts to defend his US Amateur title when the 2011 event begins today.
Erin, Wis. - Peter Uihlein claimed the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship title on the day he turned 21. What happened over the next 300-plus days for the Oklahoma State University All-American has been a blur.
âI've never really been somebody that thinks too much about what I've done,â said Uihlein at U.S. Amateur Media Day conducted at Erin Hills on July 25, âbut â¦ I've done a lot in the last 12 months, and it's all been because of the U.S. Amateur and winning the title.â
Going into the 2010 Amateur, Uihlein was already in the USGA record books after his perfect 4-0 performance at the 2009 Walker Cup Match at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., and helping the USA to a team victory at the 2010 Copa de las Americas in Argentina. He then took his first individual USGA title when he added his name to the coveted Havemeyer Trophy with a 4-and-2 victory over David Chung at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
That battle between two of the world's best players set into motion a year to remember for the eastern Massachusetts native.
By winning the U.S. Amateur, Uihlein received exemptions into the 2011 U.S. Open Championship and British Open as well as an invitation to the Masters Tournament. In July at the British Open, Uihlein survived brutal weather conditions at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England to make his first cut in three major-championship appearances. He also made the cut at the Transitions Championship and the AT&T National on the PGA Tour, and recently tied for ninth at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, where fellow amateur Harris English won the title.
He also represented the USA at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship, where he teamed with Chung and Scott Langley to finish third, five shots behind France in the weather-shortened competition.
While in Argentina for the World Amateur Team Championship, Uihlein received the 2010 Mark H. McCormack Medal, which is awarded to the leading amateur in the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the end of the amateur season. Earlier this year, Uihlein received the Ben Hogan Award as the nation's best collegian.
Add victories at the 2010 Dixie Amateur, 2010 Fighting Illini Invitational, 2011 Aggie Invitational and 2011 Northeast Amateur, as well as a tie for third at the 2011 NCAA Division I National Championship, and you almost could not have scripted a better title defense.
âIt's just been a great experience being the champion this year,â said Uihlein, who is entering his senior year at Oklahoma State. âTo be able to play in the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, the Masters, those experiences have made me â¦ become a better player this year than I was last year. It's all thanks to the opportunities being the Amateur champion has given me.
âI've been trying to be the best representative for my school, my family and the USGA as I possibly could. It was truly an honor to be the champion this year and hopefully I can do it again.â