When Jack Wall takes stock of his game in 2020, there will be two checks in the win column. The 20-year-old from Brielle, New Jersey, snuck in one last victory on Dec. 30 at the Orlando International Amateur.
In Wall’s mind, the Orlando title, as well as the one he won at the Met Amateur over the summer, couldn’t have come at better times. His game has been up and down. At Orange County National this week, he reached uncharted territory, and that’s a good sign for the second half of his sophomore season at the University of South Carolina.
“This one means a lot to me because of how well I played and how consistently I played,” he said.
Wall had only a single bogey – on his 21st hole of the 54-hole event – and nothing higher. His 15-under total (65-67-67) is as low as he’s ever been in tournament golf.
Scores: Orlando International Amateur
“I was thinking about it but I was comfortable being where I was,” he said, “which is a great sign for the future.”
Wall explained the consistency by saying he simply found a way to make pars. His putting bailed him out too, he admits. Typically, Wall plays aggressively. Firing at pins often leads to bogeys. But at Orange County National, when he missed, it was in the right spots. Many two-putt pars resulted.
For much of the final round, Wall was tied with Andrew Walker, a redshirt senior at Michigan State. They matched birdies on the second hole, but Wall points to the par-3 fourth on Panther Lakes as a momentum change.
Walker hit the green but Wall plugged his approach in the right greenside bunker.
“If I don’t get that up and down and he makes birdie or par, he’s putting more space between us,” Wall said. “I somehow managed to get my ball up and down for par. We ended up halving the hole which I think was a huge up and down that kept me in it.”
Wall birdied the fifth hole while Walker bogeyed Nos. 5 and 6 and Wall was well on his way to catching up.
“It was just tough getting any momentum,” Walker said of the day. “Just a couple too many unforced errors.”
Walker ended up tied for second at 12 under along with Illinois junior Tommy Kuhl, whose closing 65 tied the low round of the day.
After Thanksgiving, Wall returned home to New Jersey and didn’t compete again until last week’s South Beach International Amateur, where he missed the cut.
“That was a pretty good warm up and I got a pretty good sense of where my game was at and what I needed to do,” he said.
Wall’s resume is covered in New Jersey accolades, from this summer’s Met Am title to winning the state grand slam (the County Tournament, Conference Tournament, State Sectional and State Championship) as a high-school player at Christian Brothers Academy. He’s only the second player ever to accomplish that.
Wall qualified for the U.S. Junior twice, advanced to U.S. Open sectionals twice and played the U.S. Amateur this summer. His Met roots shaped his game from an early age. Growing up around stiff competition, which often included older brothers Ethan and Jeremy, showed him his game could travel. He played many rounds against Rutgers senior Chris Gotterup, a former high school teammate now ranked No. 69 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, growing up, too.
“If I can compete with those guys,” Wall said. “I can take it to another step.”
He just did.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/31/amateur-golf-orland-international-amateur-jack-wall/