What’s up, Doc? Meet Clemson golfer and US Amateur champ Doc Redman
Thursday, August 31, 2017
GCAA recently got the chance to catch up with newly crowned United States Amateur champion Doc Redman of Clemson and his head coach, Larry Penley.
Thirty-six holes were not enough to decide the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship at historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. Clemson sophomore Doc Redman had battled back from two down with two holes to play in the championship match versus Texas senior Doug Ghim to send the match to a decisive 37th hole.
Redman recalls not getting too caught up in the moment on the walk to the first playoff hole, the famed 10th at Riviera.
"I don't think I told myself anything going to the 37th hole, I was very focused on the tee shot on 10 and visualizing what I wanted to do," Redman explained. "I tried to approach it like any other hole and play it as best as I could."
Focused might have been an understatement for the 19-year-old All-Freshman Team member and PING Third-Team All-America selection from Raleigh, N.C. Redman holed a 60-foot putt for eagle to win the 35th hole and birdied the 36th to force extra holes. Redman talked through his mindset as he finished out the final three holes heading to the playoff.
Doc Redman holds up the Havemeyer Trophy after winning the U.S. Amateur. (Image: Clemson Athletics)
"I had driven the ball great on 17 all week and played it pretty well also," said Redman. "I knew on the tee I needed eagle, so I actually felt comfortable on that hole. I hit a good drive down the right side, which gave me a nice angle to the hole. I think I had 280 (to the) pin, and with the wind helping, all I had to do was hit a solid three wood and it would get there.
"I stuck to my process the whole time and tried my best to hit it on the green because I knew I could make it from anywhere. I felt great about the putt when I first saw it. I saw a line right away that I had a lot of confidence in, and I trusted my stroke.
"Like 17, I drove it well on 18 all week. I didn't hit the best drive, it drifted a little right, but it was a good swing. The second shot set up well for me because I can fade the ball and get it to kick right towards the hole. The 18 green is so firm, especially downwind, but I focused on picking a number and trying to hit a good shot like it was any other situation. I felt very comfortable about the read and made sure to trust my line and stroke."
After landing consecutive shots in the rough and sand on the first extra hole, Ghim conceded the win and Havemeyer Trophy to Redman. The two collegians put on quite the spectacle for those tuned in and in attendance. Redman recalls some of his first thoughts moments after claiming the title.
"Excitement," he said. "It was exciting to have survived the week and beaten the incredible opponents that I did. I was excited for everyone who had helped me along the way and is a part of my team, because it was their win, too."
One particular person on his "team" was Clemson head golf coach Larry Penley. Penley has been at Clemson for more than 30 years and has seen numerous hard-working players come through his program, including the likes of current tour professionals and recent Clemson alumni Ben Martin and Kyle Stanley.
Redman's work ethic ranks toward the top in Penley's eyes.
"Doc Redman is a very special young man," Penley said. "His work habits separate him from most players. He not only works hard, but he works smart. He always has a plan to get better and truly enjoys the process. He is patient with his results and knows that small steps are usually the most important. It is great to see him have success. He deserves it. He earns it."
Although not in California with Redman for the tournament, Penley stayed in touch all week, assuring Redman he could win the championship as long as fatigue didn't set in after playing so much golf over the course of the summer.
"I truly felt that if Doc could get through the 36-hole medal play qualifier he would be extremely difficult to beat. As it turned out, he made match play through a playoff (13 golfers for eight spots) and started his journey." Penley explained, "If I was worried about anything, it was fatigue. He had played 145 holes at the Western Amateur just a week before, but Doc told me he never felt tired and was able to keep his focus throughout the tournament."
Tiredness and nervousness were never issues for Redman at Riviera Country Club as his laser focus would not let anything come between him and his chance to play in majors in 2018 as the U.S. Amateur champ. On trying to control his nerves, Redman explains one method he used to cope with the pressures of neck-and-neck tournaments.
"I was just having fun out there and enjoying the opportunity to compete. I know I am not my best when I am emotional, positively or negatively, so I try my best to stay level-headed," Redman said. "Over the past year, I have put great emphasis on my breathing as a way to control my nerves. I focused on slow deep breaths and positive personal encouragement to control my nerves."
Redman will surely enjoy the opportunity to take part in several majors in 2018, including the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship. Along with being exempt into the three majors, Redman was named to the U.S. Walker Cup team which will compete against Great Britain & Ireland in the 46th edition of the match at the Los Angeles Country Club's North Course this September.
A busier schedule awaits the sophomore in 2017-18.
"I haven't thought about how much my life is going to change," he said. "I have briefly thought about how exciting the opportunity is to play in these world-class events against the best pro golfers in the world."
Redman added: "I am trying my best to focus on my daily routine and take each day one at a time. I am extremely excited for the Walker Cup, I think it's the greatest achievement in amateur golf to be able to represent the United States."
Following his jam-packed summer and fall schedule, Redman looks forward to being back in Clemson with his team preparing for another collegiate season.
"After (the Walker Cup), I am really looking forward to competing with my teammates in college golf and representing Clemson," he said. "I am going to try my best going forward to continue to be successful in the classroom and golf course."
A young man with all the potential to be another great Clemson alum on the tour, his head coach Penley said it best.
"Doc will continue to improve and will someday be the player he dreams of becoming," Penley said. "In the meantime, he is our USGA Amateur Champion."
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