Washington’s Nick Taylor Qualifies For The U.S. Open And Ready To Take On Bethpage Black
By Stephanie Wei under General

Amidst finals week, University of Washington’s Nick Taylor qualified for the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year. He earned medalist honors, no less! During Monday’s sectional qualifier at Tumble Creek in Roslyn, WA, the Husky phenom shot rounds of 66-70, 6-under-par.

He won by two strokes over Andrew Parr, who he was paired with – both earned spots in the U.S. Open field next week at Bethpage Black.

It’s been a mind-blowing year for Nick. Only a few weeks ago, he finished 9th individually to help lead the Huskies to T3 at the NCAA Championships. He placed second at both NCAA Central Regionals and the Pac-10 Championship.  He was also named to the Division I All-America First Team. The accolades don’t stop there – the rising senior finished his junior year as the 8th best player in Golfweek’s College Rankings. No big deal.

To say he’s good would be an understatement.

Nick was kind enough to chat with me yesterday night after he qualified. Take a gander at what he had to say:

You obviously played well today. What do you attribute it to?

I’ve been playing well the entire year. To bring that to the qualifier was cool. I went home to practice for a few days to prepare. I actually played with the other guy who qualified. I think we played off each other.

How are you feeling about your game?

Going into it, I didn’t feel great. But I’ve played the course a lot, so I felt comfortable. I kept it in play. On the second 18, I missed some greens, wasn’t able to get up-and-down a few times; other than that, I hit it well, hit a lot of fairways and putts.

What did you learn at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that you’ll take to Bethpage this year?

I’ve experienced the crowds, atmosphere and emotions – Having felt them before will help. I’m looking forward to the environment and everything else. It’s just crazy.

That’s pretty awesome to compete in back-to-back U.S. Opens. Have you played Bethpage before?

No, I haven’t. It’s going to be sweet. I know the course is long. I’ll find out what it’s actually playing like once I get there.

You’ve had a rather impressive college and amateur career already. How does playing in the U.S. Open again compare?

Qualifying for the U.S. Open twice has been pretty cool. Winning the [2007] Canadian Amateur was another highlight and also competing in the World-Am in Australia in 2008. Playing at Bethpage will be up there.

If you could play with any player in a practice round or tournament, who would that be?

Tiger [Woods]. I’ve always admired him and looked up to him – to have the opportunity to play with him would be cool.

John Daly didn’t qualify, and you did! Any thoughts?

It would have been cool to have him there. I wouldn’t say I’m better than him.

I think Nick could beat Long John Daly. The kid’s got game!

I’d keep my eyes on him next week. He’s been playing solid all year, and winning the sectional as an amateur (two years in a row) can’t hurt his confidence. He’s going into Bethpage Black knowing what to expect after playing at Torrey Pines last year. From what I’ve gathered, his demeanor is steady, calm and collected. And we know those traits translate well on the golf course. With that said, I’d watch for him to breakout with a stellar performance, not to mention make the cut.

Best of luck, Nick. See you at Bethpage.