Jackson Van Paris advances to Thursday’s Round of 32 in match play at the 118th U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.
Van Paris qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship at Oak Valley Golf Club in Advance, NC on July 18. Van Paris is from Pinehurst and goes to the O’Neal School in Southern Pines.
United States Golf Association interviewed Van Paris Wednesday.
Q. What did you read there on that chip?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Well, I was trying to play it about — just outside the left edge and landed about one fourth of the way on the green with a 54, and then I actually — it landed kind of like in the middle of the hole and broke kind of how I thought, and it snuck in the right edge.
Q. Tell me about 6; did you guys both eagle 6?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: We both birdied 6. We both hit it in two, and actually he hit his putt, lagged it up really good. It was a really good putt. And then I hit my putt, and I hit it way too hard, and it hit the back of the hole and bounced to like an inch. We both birdied it.
Q. You got 2-up; talk about those two holes and then talk about 13 and 14 where you decided to —
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Yeah. 11 and 12, I played really well. They were playing very hard today, and I made about a 12-footer downhill on No. 11 for birdie, and that was really big. On No. 10, he actually drove it in the hazard, and I was right in the middle of the fairway, and we ended up tying the hole with bogeys, so I kind of feel like I let one slip there, but I got it back on the next two. 12, I was in the front bunker and hit a really good bunker shot to about six inches, and he happened to not get up-and-down. And then 13 and 14. 13, I hit probably the least solid drive I’ve ever hit in my life. It went about 230 yards. It was in the fairway —
Q. It didn’t look like your other drives.
JACKSON VAN PARIS: No, and I had 225 in, and it was uphill into the wind, and I tried to just rip a 2-iron, and it ended up like 40 yards short in the bunker, tried to hit a bunker shot, hit it in another bunker in front of the green, and actually hit that one pretty close, and he made about a 12-footer for par to win the hole.
Q. 14, you were OB on your second?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: I did, yeah.
Q. What did you hit there?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: I hit 2-iron. I tried just laying it up. I hit that shot so many times well, just happened to get a little quick with it. Actually I think it would have been fine, but it hit a tree and kicked way right, which was kind of a bad break, but I didn’t deserve much better after that shot.
Q. You kind of had a little bit of a bag slam when you put your clubs down there.
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Yeah, that was not — I was not happy there. Gave it back — gave two back after I got up two, and we tied the first 10 holes of the day, so I kind of feel like I won them and gave them right back, so really feel like I didn’t gain much ground.
Q. The guy I was just talking to, he got way ahead of where we are. You are the youngest player in the field and the youngest to reach the round of 32. That in itself is a pretty good accomplishment.
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Thank you.
Q. How do you feel about doing what you did today? Don’t worry about the rest of the week, just
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Today was great. I played really solid. The course is playing very hard. The wind blew I’d say probably five to seven miles an hour harder than any of the other days I’ve played this course. So that made it really hard. It was a grind to make pars. My short game was really good, has been all week, and I didn’t hit the ball that great, but to not have my absolute best stuff and still win the first match was really nice because I know I can play with any of these guys.
Q. You advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying. How much did that experience help you today?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: It’s actually helped a lot. I played really — I did not play well at U.S. Open sectionals, and I let nerves get the better of me. I think I was 5-over through 4 my first round. Ended up shooting 5-over — end of the first round I ended up 5- over, which is pretty good after my start, and then I shot 80 the second round. To kind of just know a USGA event or USGA qualifier was like, and then I think it really kind of helped carry over to the qualifier for this, just to know — I started getting it rolling in the second round and just to kind of — I used a lot of experiences that I did not do well in the sectional qualifying for U.S. Open, and I used them in the U.S. Amateur qualifier.
Q. Obviously you’ve done well in your state championships. What’s different and what’s the same playing in the USGA championships?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Well, state championship is kind of nice because you get — you’re coming down the stretch and you have all your buddies on your team out there watching, cheering you on, and it’s a completely different aspect to high school golf. Honestly, I want my team to do well. I’d rather have my team do well than me do well, honestly. And then U.S. Amateur you really just kind of have to zone in to like your own game and what you’re doing, and it’s a lot more serious, even though high school golf is very serious for me or for our team. It’s just another level of kind of intensity out here. It’s a lot different. But getting second — first, second, third for three years on my high school team actually is — that and a lot of other elements I used is just kind of positive reinforcement. When I had a threefooter on 16 to continue the match, saying, all right, you’ve done this a million times, just done it when you
needed to, so it’s nice to draw on that.
Q. Go back again and replay the approach and the chip-in. What club did you use and what were you thinking?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: So my approach shot was 106 yards, and I hit a 50-degree. It was kind of top end of my 50, which was playing not very smart. I was trying to skip one back there, didn’t want it to spin too much. I found out quickly that I was very nervous in the fairway. I just got quick with it and came over it and ended up just left of the green, but it was a fine spot. I’m actually lucky it didn’t go in the bunker behind there because it would have been almost an impossible upand- down. But I was just off the green. And the chip, like I said, tried to play it left edge, and then land it about a fourth of the way on the green with a 54, and I pushed it just a hair, but it was able to hang on, just sneak in the right edge, and I had really good speed, so that helped.
Q. Do you think it was 20 feet?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Yeah, probably about 20 feet.
Q. There have been some famous golfers that have chipped in. Of course Watson chipped in on the 17th hole, but that one seemed a little similar.
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Yeah, it was — I mean, I don’t want to put myself in the situation of the U.S. Open. This is the first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur. But it was — it was pretty cool to say Tom Watson chipped in on 17, I chipped in on 18, and just all the history out here is incredible. And to win a match and to play well out here is crazy because I know how many great players have before me.
Q. You talk about history, you made history; you’re the youngest in the round of 32.
JACKSON VAN PARIS: Yeah.
Q. How does that feel?
JACKSON VAN PARIS: It’s pretty incredible. We actually just talked about it last night. We have a really close friend, Robbie Zalzneck, who’s one of the chairmen for this event, I believe, and we were talking last night, we were doing some research to see if I was the youngest one in match play. I wasn’t the youngest one here this week. There was a kid younger than me here, but I was trying to see if I was the youngest one in match play, but I wasn’t. I was the second one. But he lost in the first round when he played just before. So it’s kind of nice to have that in the back of my mind throughout the day.
Feature photo: Jackson Van Paris at U.S. Amateur. Photo credit(USGA/Chris Keane)