'Spieth was 17 - I beat him down the last...'June 7, 2017 Latest news
England’s Jack Senior took down Justin Thomas, John Hahn and Jordan Spieth en route to the semi-finals of the US Amateur at Erin Hills. He tells NCG all about it...
The only course form we have to go on at Erin Hills is the 2011 Amateur Championship where Kelly Kraft, not in the field this year, finished as winner. His victim in the semi-finals was Jack Senior.
Senior, who hails from Heysham on the Lancashire coast, would go on to represent GB&I in that year’s Walker Cup. Here are his memories of that week in Wisconsin.
“When I first saw Erin Hills I thought it was a great test. It could play anywhere up to 8,000 yards. It could get firm and fast, with changes in elevation and quite a few undulating fairways. I would say it really favoured the longer hitters.
“In the match play stages there were six or seven potential tee boxes for each hole – there is so much variation for the four rounds.
“It has a links feel but you can’t run shots in to the greens. They are the biggest defence to the course. The 10th had a front left pin and I was on the back right and I couldn’t keep it on the green, they were so quick. It’s tricky if the wind picks up which it can do and will be a big factor with all the elevation.
“I knocked out John Hahn, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth before losing to Kelly Kraft. Thomas was a big name at the time. He has got lots of speed. He’s a bomber and that is a big advantage.
“Spieth is the best player I’ve ever played with. He was 17 at the time and in the Walker Cup. I beat him down the last. He was such a good driver of the ball and his short game was phenomenal. He didn’t look like missing any putts. His stroke was so silky, even then. I was almost expecting him to hole everything. He had so much control over the putter.
He’s also a really nice lad, so down to earth. When I saw him next at the Walker Cup he was the only guy who celebrated with us which shows a lot of class. He handles himself so well off the course.
“I sat next to Jordan at the dinner before the Walker Cup. We knew we were going to play each other. My brother was caddying for me but then taken off the bag as they had this rule where no pros can caddie.
“So that put me off my stride a bit but it was great to play him again. He’ll always do well as a grinder. He’s not one of the greatest ball strikers but he adapts to every situation.
“It’s great to see the US Open go to Erin Hills. It’s been six years but it will all come back when I see it on TV. The US Amateur is generally used as a test and it was that week. It will all be about the set-up – if it’s firm I’ll be very surprised if anyone is in double figures under par.”