Sophomore Cameron Wilson has spent most of the season as the Stanford men’s golf team’s third-best player behind All-American Patrick Rogers and Andrew Yun, but this week he will be doing what the others only hope for in their careers: playing in the U.S. Open.
Wilson picked a good time to qualify, as starting Thursday, the major championship will be played at San Francisco’s Olympic Club, a spot Wilson has plenty of experience on.
“I would say the Olympic Club suits his game well,” said Conrad Ray, director of men’s golf at Stanford. “He hits the ball high, which I think with some of those elevated greens and doglegs and that type of thing is valuable. He’s played there quite a bit, he knows the course well.”
Ray also said playing lefty may present an advantage as well, especially on the first six holes.
Though dealing with finals will present an extra challenge, Ray said he’s not worried about the pressure getting to Wilson during his first experience with professional golf.
“I think he’ll be great,” Ray said. “He’s a really laid-back kid and it takes a lot to rattle him. He’s not like high strung in any way. I think managing your emotions is something he’s pretty good at, so I think he’ll do just fine.”
Wilson has had three top 10 finishes this season, including a fourth-place showing at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational. He finished the season with a stroke average of 72.4 in 36 rounds of competition. The history major was also named as an honorable mention on the Pac-12 Conference’s All-Academic team.
Ray said the gap between high-level college golf and the professional ranks has shrunk over the years, and that Wilson has the talent to do well in his first major tournament. Wilson will certainly find himself in the spotlight as he’s in the same pairing as former Stanford golfer Casey Martin, who famously won a lawsuit against the PGA Tour to ride a cart in tournament action because of a birth defect in his right leg.
“He’s got to pace himself a little bit with his preparation and practice and rest and stuff like that,” Ray said.
“Olympic’s a good walk too, so his fitness is going to play a factor, but I think he’s got to make sure that what really matters is Thursday through Sunday, not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”
The U.S. Open kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday.