Tyler Raber was the last American standing in the British Amateur last month, won the prestigious Trans-Mississippi Championship last week and qualified for the U.S. Amateur on Monday.
Raber is on a roll. He's happiest about the win.
"There's something about winning one of these big tournaments, you can't describe it," he said. "Players like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw have their names on the trophy. Now my name is going to be on it. That's pretty cool."
Raber, a 22-year-old El Macero resident, was a strong junior and high school (Davis) player. He performed solidly in three seasons at UC Davis, winning once in his sophomore year and making the All-Big West Conference first team as a junior before redshirting this past season. But there wasn't anything on the 5-foot-8, 160-pounder's résumé suggesting this kind of summer was coming.
UCD coach Cy Williams, who gets Raber back in the fall, is giddy with anticipation.
"He's going to be the best recruit in the country," Williams said.
Raber took the time away from the college grind to experiment a bit with his game. While he still played golf every day, he was able to try some things he wouldn't have in the heat of college competition.
"I am starting to figure out what works well for my game," he said.
Asked for specifics, Raber named grip pressure, for one.
"I started getting my hands a little lighter on the club," he said. "Just little things like that. Just seeing what works and trying different little things."
Raber advanced through stroke-play qualifying at the British Amateur in Scotland. He then won three matches to reach the final 16 in a field of 288 in arguably the world's second-most-prominent amateur event after the U.S. Amateur.
He won the Trans-Miss in Oklahoma with a 6-foot par putt on the final hole. He prevailed in a four-man-for-one-spot playoff in U.S. Amateur qualifying at Marin Country Club. A first-hole par narrowed the field to Raber and Turlock's Paul Smith. Raber saved par from the trees on the second playoff hole while Smith's birdie putt lipped out.
On the third playoff hole, Raber slipped while hitting his tee shot, pulling it left into the trees 100 yards from the tee. Two punch shots from the trees left him with a 50-foot putt for par. With Smith also struggling, all Raber had to do was two-putt to earn a trip to Cherry Hills in Colorado next month.
He made the second putt from 7 feet.
"It was my best stroke of the day," Raber said.
It's been that kind of summer.
In good form, also
Ben Geyer (Arbuckle) is the Northern California Golf Association points leader after winning the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play by four shots at Poppy Hills on Sunday. Geyer lost in a playoff in the highly regarded Sahalee Players Championship in early July in Washington.
Clare Sorensen (Roseville) qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur next month in Ohio.
Andrej Bevins (Elk Grove), Cameron Champ (Sacramento) and Corey Eddings (Roseville) advanced to match play Tuesday in the U.S. Junior Amateur in New Hampshire.
Virgie Velazquez (Roseville) won the Sacramento County Junior at Cherry Island last week.
Logos and such
There are only two golfers among Sports Illustrated's top 50 highest-earning American athletes of the past year No. 2 Phil Mickelson and No. 3 Tiger Woods. Whereas No. 1 Floyd Mayweather earned his $85 million entirely in prize money, Mickelson and Woods earn roughly 90 percent to 95 percent of their annual income from endorsements, SI reports.