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like father, like son

Charlie Woods wins U.S. Junior qualifier, advances to his first USGA championship

June 19, 2024
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Charlie Woods qualified for his first USGA championship Wednesday in South Florida. (Photo courtesy of the USGA)

Charlie Woods has qualified for his first USGA championship.

The 15-year-old son of Tiger Woods shot one-under 71 Wednesday at Eagle Trace Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla., to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur, an event his father won three straight times from 1991-93.

The championship is July 22-27 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich., where his father also has history. There will be 264 players in the field, with the top 64 advancing to match play after two stroke-play qualifying rounds.

Charlie was medalist in South Florida, topping 85 other players in the qualifier. He started on the 10th hole and opened with a bogey and a double bogey to quickly get to three over par, then made five birdies and one bogey over the remaining 16 holes for his 71. Matthew Marigliano (72), Tristan Wieland (73) and Neil Kulkami (73) were the other three players to advance from Eagle Trace.

“I didn’t play great my first two holes, but I played really good for the last 16,” Woods said. “I just told myself not to make any more bogeys or doubles and I took advantage of some nice birdie looks when I had them. Putting was my biggest strength today. I made a lot of putts when I needed to.”

Woods had mostly played in local and regional competitions until recently. He participated in the Notah Begay III National Championship late last year and has played in two AJGA events in the last few months, finishing tied for 32nd and tied for 28th respectively.

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Andrew Redington

Now he’s qualified for the championship that started his father’s run of six consecutive USGA wins, capturing the U.S. Junior in 1991, 1992 and 1993, then the U.S. Amateur in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Tiger was 15 when he won the first U.S. Junior in 1991, the same age as Charlie now.

“The USGA means a lot to me,” Charlie said. “I want to win USGA championships and hopefully one day the U.S. Open.”

Just last week father and son were together at Pinehurst, helping Tiger with preparations for the U.S. Open, where he eventually missed the cut.

Oakland Hills, among other big events, hosted the 2004 Ryder Cup where U.S. captain Hal Sutton infamously decided to pair Woods and Phil Mickelson in a partnership of the world’s two best players at the time. Woods and Mickelson lost both matches together, the first against Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, the second against Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood.

Captained by Bernhard Langer, Europe dominated the week from beginning to end and won 18.5 to 9.5. Sutton was mostly crucified.

Tiger also played in the 1996 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills as an amateur and shot 76-69-77-72 to tie for 82nd place. The next month he won his third straight U.S. Amateur then turned professional shortly thereafter.

He did not play in the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills when Padraig Harrington won. Woods had just had reconstructive surgery to fix a damaged ACL, which was prominent during his historic U.S. Open victory earlier that summer at Torrey Pines.