When the 2019 U.S. Amateur Golf Championship heads to historic Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in just under a month, former University of Minnesota golfer Josh Persons will be in attendance.
Persons qualified after placing first at a qualifier event in Fargo, North Dakota.
"I've just kind of been solid and steady, nothing flashy, I've just kept myself out of trouble. We'll see if I can do that at a little tougher course down in North Carolina," Persons said.
Persons, a Fargo native, shot a 1-under-par 71 in his first round and an even-par 72 in his second to finish 1-under-par at the Fargo Country Club. His consistent play was enough to carry him to a first-place finish and secure a spot at the U.S. Amateur.
"It went good, obviously, for me. They have qualifiers all over the country, the one that I did was in my hometown in Fargo," Persons said. "There was about 50 guys, they let in two spots. It happened to be a windy day on a course that I was familiar with and I just played solid golf. I was able to sneak through."
The U.S. Amateur takes place August 11-18 in the Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina. It's the oldest United States Golf Association championship and features some of the world's best amateur players. Many previous champions have gone on to have successful careers on the PGA Tour, including Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and most recently Viktor Hovland. This year's event will once again feature young amateurs with PGA Tour aspirations, but Persons is pursuing this event with a different mindset.
"I already gave it a good go. I played professionally for eight years," he said. "I kind of already put in my time, I'm just able to still spend some time playing golf when I'm not working. I do it for the enjoyment now, but also for the competitive side of it."
While Persons is no longer pursuing a career on the PGA Tour, his desire to compete continues. He is also excited about the possibility of connecting with another former Gopher, Ben Greve. Greve also qualified for the U.S. Amateur; he finished tied for second in the qualifier at the Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights.
"I've already been texting with Greve a little bit, so we can hook up down there and play once or twice while we're down there," Persons said. "It should be a fun time."
Persons' connections, like the one he has with Greve, are what stands out to him from his time at the University. He continues to keep in touch with friends and teammates.
"There's plenty of memories. You know, the coolest parts about it, I can text Greve. He's playing in it," Persons said. "I've been talking to Justin Smith, who's now the head coach. He was there kind of at the same time as me. Just reminiscing with all the guys you've become close with over the years."