Hammer gets his wish – a 67 and Astros tickets
October 10, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Cole Hammer on playing home event at Houston Open
HOUSTON – Local amateur Cole Hammer, having just completed a 5-under 67 at the Houston Open that included eight birdies, immediately turned his attention to another big sports event in the city later in the evening.
The decisive Game 5 between the Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series.
“I'm going to do everything I can to try to get to the stadium,” Hammer said, “I think it's going to be a great atmosphere. I'm a huge Astros fan, have been for as long as I can remember. I'm praying for tonight.”
MORE ON HAMMER: When will it be time to turn pro?
At least some of his prayers were answered a while later, as he was able to procure tickets to the game that would send the winner to the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees. (Whether his prayers for an Astros win are answered would have to wait at least nine innings.)
The 20-year-old Hammer, a University of Texas sophomore playing on a sponsor exemption this week, was impressive in his opening round Thursday after a shaky start. Starting his round off the 10th tee, he double-bogeyed the par-4 11th when he found the water with his tee shot.
He immediately bounced back at the short par-4 12th, his pitch shot from 45 yards leaving him inside 5 feet for birdie. That was the first of eight in his round, as he became the eighth amateur since 1996 at a PGA TOUR event to record eight birdies in one round. Ty Tryon has the record of nine in the opening round of the 2001 B.C. Open.
“Not a bad start in my book, that’s for sure,” Hammer said.
Hammer hit just 6 of 14 fairways, but he leaned heavily on his putter to bail him out. He gained more than 4 strokes on the putting surface, the second-best performance in the field.
Hammer is making just the second PGA TOUR start of his career. His first was at the 2015 U.S. Open when he qualified as a 15-year-old.
He didn’t make the cut that week, but he’s in good shape to reach the weekend this time.
“Feels like my first U.S. Open was so long ago,” Hammer said. “Yeah, I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the round and then kind of settled down and was able to roll in some putts and it was a great start. Just what I wanted.”
As it turned out, he also got the Astros tickets that he wanted. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
MOST BIRDIES IN A ROUND BY AN AMATEUR (SINCE 1996) Birdies Player Event/Round Score 9 Ty Tryon 2001 B.C. Open/Rd. 1 65 8 Cole Hammer 2019 Houston Open/Rd. 1 67 8 Charles Reiter 2019 The American Express/Rd. 3 63 8 Bryson DeChambeau 2016 Arnold Palmer Invt’l/Rd. 4 66 8 Ollie Schneiderjans 2015 Open Championship/Rd. 4 67 8 Robby Shelton 2015 Barbasol/Rd. 3 66 8 Patrick Cantlay 2011 Travelers/Rd. 2 60 8 Charley Hoffman 1999 Shriners Hospitals/Rd. 3 65 8 Tiger Woods 1996 Open Championship/Rd 2 66