Jack Watson ‘starting to put the pieces together’
Jack Watson of Lincolnshire laughs as he walks back to his bag at the 2012 Western Amateur Championship at Exmoor Country Club last Thursday. | Jon Durr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:45PM
HIGHLAND PARK — Jack Watson’s golf swing should have been on the side of a milk carton.
For as hard as he tried, the Carmel Catholic graduate and Lincolnshire native couldn’t find it, and he struggled throughout his sophomore season at Kent State.
With the help of longtime instructor Brett Packee, who teaches out of Mundelein’s Pine Meadow, Watson located his swing after hours on the range and course.
The search party was rewarded last week when Watson qualified for the U.S Amateur at Bull Valley in Woodstock and then played all 72 holes of stroke play at the Western Amateur at Highland Park’s Exmoor Country Club.
“Big week, for sure,” he said. “My game’s getting better, starting to become more complete. I’m finally starting to put the pieces together.”
Watson got into the Western Amateur field one day before the tournament started. In fact, he found out halfway through his qualifying tournament for the U.S. Amateur via a text message from his father.
The 20-year-old made the most of his first appearance at the revered event by posting respectable rounds of 70-73-78-72. He missed out on match play by 13 strokes. The top 16 advanced to second stage of the tournament.
Earlier this summer, Watson made the cut at the Southwestern Amateur and Eastern Amateur, and he also won the Illinois Match Play Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer.
“The second round at the match play I shot 64, and that was when everything felt good,” he said. “Then, I had four good rounds at the Eastern Amateur, and I played well here this past week.”
Now, Watson will focus his attention on the U.S. Amateur, which is Aug. 13-19 at Cherry Hills Country Club in the Denver area.
All of this success comes after Watson played only one tournament as a sophomore at Kent State, and he shot an 81 in his final round. It turned out to be his last round at the Ohio college. He decided to transfer to Wisconsin, where he will redshirt this upcoming season.
“I don’t look at that as a negative,” he said of sitting out a season. “I will continue to work on my golf swing and keep building off of it. Then, I hope to have another good summer and be ready to go.
“I loved Kent State, but I needed a fresh start.”