FARMINGTON, Conn. – The UConn men’s golf program has put together an impressive run of representation in the U.S. Amateur Championship over the past few years. Rising junior Nick Harrington (Chaplin, Conn.) has made sure that the new tradition will continue.
For the fourth time in the past five years, the Huskies will have a player vying for the national amateur title after Harrington’s 4-under 69-69=138 at Farmington Country Club Monday was good enough to finish second in the 64-player field and qualify him to play for the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship, set for Aug. 14-20 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.
"I'm super-excited," Harrington said. "It's just something you dream about getting to do. I can't wait to go."
Harrington and Dean Naime of Rye, N.Y. (70-67=137), were the only players to qualify from the tournament in Farmington, which was one of more than 100 qualifying sites across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Out of 7,149 total entries, just 312 golfers advanced to the U.S. Amateur Championship in California. There, after 36 holes of stroke play on Aug. 14-15, the top 64 will continue with match play. The match play quarterfinals will be hold on Aug. 18, the semifinals on Aug. 19, and the 36-hole championship finals on Aug. 20.
On Monday, Harrington had four birdies during his morning round, then came back with five birdies in the afternoon. He was 1-under after 27 holes, then fired a sizzling 3-under 32 on his final back nine, including birdies on both 17 and 18, to secure his spot.
"I hadn't played Farmington Country Club before I played a practice round there last week," Harrington said. "It's a good thing I did because it's definitely a course you want to have some experience on. I didn't think the 1-under would be good enough, but I played well coming in. I had a long time to watch the scoreboard after we finished."
It obviously was worth the wait.
“Earning a spot in our national championship is a goal of all our guys during their summer schedules,” UConn head coach Dave Pezzino said. “I am really proud of Nick for earning a spot this year. His game is ready to compete at that level.”
Harrington, 20, competed in seven events for the Huskies during the 2016-17 season, averaging 75.6 strokes per round. He shot five rounds of par or better with a low round of 68. His best finish was a tie for 11th place at the Colleton River Collegiate in Bluffton, S.C.
Harrington was a two-time Division IV state champion while at Parish Hill High School, a three-time All-State selection and a two-time All-New England pick.
Three years ago, then-rising UConn sophomore Corey Birch qualified for the 2013 U.S. Amateur, followed by then-rising junior Zach Zaback in 2014. Last year, rising senior Eric Dietrich qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.