Last weekend's 113th U.S. Amateur Championship was one that Oliver Goss will never forget.
The 19-year old rising sophomore golfer from UT finished runner-up to Matt Fitzpatrick, the No. 1 amateur golfer in the world, in the 36-hole championship on Sunday at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
"For me this was the biggest amateur tournament in the world," Goss said. "Obviously I wanted to win the title, but to finish runner up was a huge deal for me. I felt like I played some of my best golf ever last week and I'm really proud of how I played."
While he missed out on having his name etched on the Havemeyer Trophy, which features the likes of past winners Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Arnold Palmer, Goss still considers the weekend a dream come true.After all, with his second place finish he earns a spot in the first two majors of 2014, the Masters and the U.S. Open.Not to mention, he was awarded the opportunity to throw the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game this past weekend.
"It still hasn't sunk in yet and it's a couple days later," Goss said. "I know I get to play and it's obviously the biggest tournament in the world professionally and I'm really excited about that.
"I never thought I would achieve this at such a young age, but thought I would eventually in my career."
The Australian-born golfer, who first picked up a club when he was two years old, actually witnessed the Masters first hand this year when he and some teammates were given one-day passes to Augusta National Golf Club.
"It's golf heaven down there," he said. "I think every golfer that has ever lived has dreamed of winning the Masters. That's for sure one of my dreams as well."In fact the golfer he admires most is a fellow Australian, who won the green jacket this year.
"I'd like to live up to the same kind of expectations as Adam Scott," Goss said, who correctly predicted that Scott would win the Masters in an April 12 Daily Beacon article. "I like the way he handles himself on the course and off the course as well. It's incredible what he's achieved."Another countryman, Greg Norman – history's most revered Australian golfer – took notice of Goss' performance last week and reached out to him over Twitter.
"Mate well done in the US Am. Please follow me so I can message u,” Norman tweeted at Goss, who now returns to Knoxville to prepare for the collegiate season with some newfound confidence.
“I learned a lot about myself and my golf game last week,” Goss said. “I just want to take the confidence I had and bring it into the golf season that starts in a couple of weeks. I felt like I was swinging it the best I ever have.”
Before the UT golf team opens up its first tournament of the season in Dalton, Ga. at the Carpet Capital Collegiate on Sept. 6, he will look to zone in on his short game.
“I really want to improve my short game, especially chipping and putting,” Goss said, who was named to the 2013 All-SEC first team last season and to the 2013 Golfweek All-American third team. “I think that kind of let me down last week, especially my putting. My ball striking has improved a lot but I want to fine tune the other part of my game.”
Goss will enter this season as the No. 14-ranked amateur golfer worldwide.