Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

July 19, 2013

Local golfers getting Amateur experience

TRAVERSE CITY — Soak it in and enjoy the experience.

Those are the words of wisdom Nikolaj Brons-Piche has for his friend and fellow golfer Gates Muller after learning Muller had qualified for next month’s U.S. Amateur at Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts.

Brons-Piche has room to hand out advice, considering he just returned to Traverse City following two rounds of play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va.

While Muller was earning his way to the U.S. Amateur after shooting rounds of 73 and 71 this week at the Bloomfield Hills Country Club, Brons-Piche was competing in his first USGA tournament, an event that saw him fire rounds of 77 and 79.

“I saw he qualified and I sent him a text after and I said I was so happy for him,” said Brons-Piche, a sophomore at Texas Wesleyan and TC Central grad. “I grew up playing golf with him and it’s so cool to see me go to the Public Links and now him qualify to go to Brookline Country Club — one of the biggest, historic places in all of golf, at least stateside.”

Muller, a redshirt freshman at Michigan State and a TC West grad, had to overcome bouts of rain during the second round that added an extra day to the qualifier. But he persevered through it to punch his ticket to what will be the biggest tournament he’s ever entered.

“It was kind of a mental game,” Muller said of the qualifier. “You had to stay prepared mentally and really stay with your routine. I think it took some people out of play, but I think I fought through it and was able to put a good round together.”

As expected, Muller can’t wait for his opportunity to face off against the best amateurs in the nation.

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