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Odessa golfer qualifies for US Amateur Tournament

Odessa golfer qualifies for US Amateur Tournament

Odessa College sophomore Van Thomas punched his ticket to the U.S. Amateur golf tournament recently in Las Vegas.

Thomas shot two rounds of 68 at Las Vegas National Golf Course to tie for medalist honors with Edwin Kuang of Murrieta, Calif., and earn one of the two available spots into the most prestigious amateur tournament in the country.

"I feel good about my game, and my brother was good on the bag," Thomas said. "I'd started off so good in the second round, and he told me to just stay in it, and I made two eagles on the back nine. I'm excited to go up against the best amateurs in the world. I want to prove that I'm one of them."

Thomas, a Las Vegas native, is the first Wranglers golfer to qualify for the event in six years, head coach Paul Chavez said over the phone Tuesday.

"I'm extremely proud of Van," Chavez said. "He's put in a lot of hard work this last year and he's reaping the benefits."

The U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 15-21 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., for the second time after holding the tournament in 2002.

The course also has hosted three PGA Championships, most recently in 2008, six U.S. Opens with the last coming in 1996 and the 2004 Ryder Cup.

"It's a course with a good track record," Thomas said. "I'm going to go out there and have fun with it."

The first two days of the event will be stroke play, with the top 64 players advancing into a match play bracket to determine the champion.

"Getting into the match play and the top 64 would be awesome, but I'm just going to go play the best I can," Thomas said. "But every tournament I enter, I go in trying to win otherwise what's the point."

Article by Joshua Perry OA