SUMMIT, N.J — The U.S. Open and golf in general mean so much to Matt Lowe that he will be parked in front of his TV when the championship is held at Shinnecock Hills next week. “I’ll watch it,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll watch it too happily.”
Lowe won’t be able to escape thinking how close he came to playing instead of watching. The Farmingdale resident always has wanted to be the Long Islander playing in an Open on Long Island, and that was nearly in his grasp Monday at Canoe Brook Country Club. Through 12 holes of his second round, he was 4 under par and tied for fourth place — mindful that the top five finishers in the 36-hole sectional qualifier would be in the Open.
“When I got to 4 under, I wanted to get to 6. I thought 6 would be good,” he said, having turned out to be prescient. Six under par would have been only one shot behind medalists Cameron Wilson of Connecticut and Calum Hill of Scotland and safely tied with fellow amateur Stewart Hagestad of California, a member at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset. Former New York State Open champion Mike Miller also made it at 6 under. Amateur Theo Humphrey of Connecticut won a playoff to make it at 5 under.
But Lowe bogeyed the par-4 fourth hole on Canoe Brook’s North Course, his 13th hole of the afternoon round, and made another bogey on his last hole to finish at 2 under, tied for 12th.
Seeking accuracy, he used an iron off the tee on No. 4 but pulled it into the rough, a shot that will linger with him. So will the 2-foot putt he missed on No. 13. “That was brutal,” he said.
Still, it was an almost dream-come-true. Lowe had drawn national attention in 2009 when, at 13, he was the youngest in the country to apply for the Open at Bethpage. Since then, he has been a Nassau high school champion, a college standout at Richmond and an Ike Championship winner. His performance Monday was another step.
“It was pretty cool because this was the first time I felt like I had a realistic chance. I was right there. There was no fear. I may have hit a couple shots I wasn’t happy with, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t ready. It’s promising for the future,” he said, adding he will turn pro this summer.
Hagestad, who accepted a Deepdale membership while he was working in Manhattan, says he will feel at home on Long Island next week. “I love Deepdale. It’s an amazing place,” he said. “The facilities are great, it’s an amazing membership. I’m very lucky to be a part of it. I’ll be there as long as they want to keep me around.”