Talor Gooch has some momentum heading into this week's U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club.
A former Carl Albert star who will be a junior at Oklahoma State, Gooch romped to a 12-shot win last week in the Oklahoma Golf Association stroke play championship.
“Overall that was the best tournament I've ever played,” Gooch said. “Each day I was on. I didn't make many mistakes. It was one of those weeks where everything was going right for me.”
Shooting a blistering 20-under-par last week at the Jimmie Austin OU course, Gooch had only three bogeys in three rounds, all three coming in the second round.
Hitting 47 of 54 greens in regulation, Gooch shot a final round 62 after opening with a 63 sandwiched around a 68.
Next up is the U.S. Amateur, which has been won by legends like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus before they turned pro.
“There are probably 50 guys who could win this,” Gooch said. “That's a testament to Tiger Woods and what he's done for golf. If I can play like I did last week I feel I have a chance to win it.”
The U.S. Amateur features two rounds of stroke-play qualifying on two different courses Monday and Tuesday. The top 64 qualifiers are seeded. Match play will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Gooch played in the 2009 U.S. Amateur. He qualified for match play but lost in the first round. But last summer Gooch reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links championship, which uses a similar format.
“In match play anything can happen, but I feel I'm a pretty strong match play player,” Gooch said. “I've had a fairly decent record in match play. Last week was viewed as a good warm up. It gives me some confidence. Me and Kelsey (Cline) feel we're as ready as we can be.”
Cline, a close friend of Gooch's who played golf at OU a decade ago, has been Gooch's caddie a half dozen times in recent years, including last week's state stroke play tournament.
“You want to peak at the right time,” Cline said. “Obviously what he did (last week) was unbelievable. His driving, irons, putting, it was a stellar performance. He has the talent to win. And the match play format isn't new to him.”
This might not be Gooch's final U.S. Amateur. Talor Gooch has no intentions of turning pro early.
“I haven't even thought about that,” Gooch said. “I have a ton of goals individually and as a team at Oklahoma State. We struggled last year. Failure is a pretty good motivator. We have a chip on our shoulder. Our goal is to win the national championship. We have as much talent as anyone.”
Before he returns to Stillwater he'll play in the U.S. Amateur, an event Woods gained notoriety before his pro career. At age 18, Woods won the first of three consecutive U.S. Amateurs in the mid 1990s.
Other notable U.S. Amateur winners include: Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson and Edmond pro Scott Verplank. Nicklaus won it twice. Bobby Jones won it five times.
“I think he can win the golf tournament,” Cline said. “Obviously a tournament like that there's a lot of talent but Talor has a lot of talent. Like any tournament it will come down to putting. If he putts on the better side of good he has a chance to win.”