Cole Hammer wraps up McCormack Medal as top men's amateur in 2019
The 2019 U.S. Amateur didn’t end the way Cole Hammer had hoped. A three-putt bogey on the first hole of a 27-for-3 playoff to get into match play at Pinehurst Resort bounced the 19-year-old rising sophomore at the University of Texas from the championship. Thankfully for Hammer, however, it didn’t cost him another prize.
On Wednesday, the USGA and R&A announced that Hammer remained the No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and thus had secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading men’s player at the end of the summer.
With the honor comes exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, so long as Hammer remains an amateur when playing in the majors.
“This has been an incredible year, and I am honored to be recognized with the McCormack Medal,” Hammer said in a press release. “I am grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this level and thankful for my family and friends who continue to support me.”
Hammer took over the top spot in June after closing out a first season at Texas that included three college wins and national freshman-of-the-year honors. This came after he won the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (with Garrett Barber) and Western Amateur the previous year, along with reaching the U.S. Amateur semifinals.
Hammer held off Japan’s Takumi Kanaya, who reached the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur to jump from No. 3 to No. 2 in the ranking. He also caught a break with Ricky Castillo falling in the Round of 16; had the 18-year-old set to start at Florida this fall advanced to the weekend, in theory he could have jumped from his No. 9 ranking to No. 1. Castillo instead settled for a jump to No. 5.
Hammer is among the 10 golfers who will be competing on the U.S. Walker Cup team next month at Royal Liverpool.