Three things from Mason Andersen, who will be a freshman at ASU this fall as he prepares for the U.S. Open. Andrew Vailliencourt/azcentral sports
Last week Mason Andersen took a big step toward making a dream come true.
The 18-year-old graduate of Chandler Hamilton High School is playing in his first U.S. Open this week, being staged at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. He qualified in Newport Beach, Calif., finishing second in a field of 105 golfers.
The U.S. Open will take place at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., Thursday through Sunday.
“Playing in the U.S. Open, there’s just no words to describe how I feel,” Andersen said. “It’s so exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but I don’t really know what to expect. I know my golf is good enough, it got me there, so I’m just going to stick to the game plan.”
Andersen, who will begin his collegiate career at Arizona State in August, said his life goal is to become a PGA Tour professional, and that playing in any PGA Tour event has always been a dream. Little did he know his first event would be a major.
To qualify for the U.S. Open, Andersen first had to advance out of local qualifying at Seville Golf and Country Club in Gilbert on May 15. He then competed in sectional qualifying at Big Canyon Country Club and Newport Beach Country Club, where he shot a 64-70 respectively. He called his round of 64 the best he’s ever played.
“Mason is one of the most talented players we’ve seen at our school and in the state of Arizona,” Hamilton boys golf coach Steve Kanner said. “He is a complete player who is able to overpower most golf courses. Mason is extremely dedicated and loves to compete.”
Andersen, however, knows he couldn’t have qualified on his own. He’s gotten support from his family, friends, coaches, and mentioned that his swing coach Ben Weir was instrumental in his improvement over the years.
His dad, Rick, caddied for him during both qualifiers.
“That was an amazing experience, I’m glad he was there,” Andersen said. “We have a connection on the course. He’s calm, he keeps his cool, and I sometimes go up and down, I get frustrated, and my head sometimes gets the best of me, but he’s always there and he calms me down. I’m working on it and getting a lot better at it.”
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While he says putting, especially inside 10 feet, remains his strength, he recognizes that he has to be mentally prepared as he gets ready for a tournament of this magnitude.
“That’s going to be my biggest challenge,” Andersen said. “How I prepare myself mentally for this tournament.”
Andersen missed his high school graduation earlier this year to play in the Pacific Coast Amateur Qualifier. He said it was a tough decision, and that his mom was disappointed at first, but he finished second, qualifying for the event in Chambers Bay, Wash., that will take place in July on the same course that hosted the 2015 U.S. Open.
“Everything I’ve been working towards is to turn professional and be on the PGA Tour,” Andersen said. “I’m willing to do anything to get there and I think that’s what sets me apart from a lot of players.”
Coverage of the first and second rounds of the U.S. Open will air on FS1 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Channel 10 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Weekend rounds will air on Channel 10 starting at 8 a.m.
“I’m just going to go play as well as I possibly can and we’ll see where that takes me,” Andersen said. “That’s really all I can do, just play my heart out.”