For at least a little while longer, Christopher Guglielmo and Jacob Fendt will stay tied at the hip.
Guglielmo, formerly of South Forsyth, and Fendt, from Lambert, finished in first and second place, respectively, Wednesday afternoon at the local U.S. Amateur Qualifier held at the Capital City Club-Crabapple course in Woodstock, Ga.
For Guglielmo, his 9-under performance (65-66) was sweet redemption after missing a qualifying slot by one stroke last year; For Fendt, who shot 8-under after leading the field with a career-best 64 on Tuesday, the feat was just another blip of success in what has been a whirlwind year, from leading the Longhorns to a state title, to qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, to preparing for starting college.
That’s where Guglielmo can come in. Guglielmo is a rising junior on Kennesaw State University’s golf team, and in exactly a month, Jacob will join him and the Owls golf team. The two will also likely travel together with their families to Olympia Fields, Illinois, where the U.S. Amateur will be held from Aug. 17-23.
When asked if he was nervous about beginning college, Fendt said it gave him more pause than anything he’s done on a golf course in recent months. Though, he did admit he had some nerves after finishing the first day in this week’s qualifier as the top man in a 144-player field.
“I was actually nervous, a bit,” Fendt admitted. “I usually don’t get nervous, but I knew the stakes were just so high. I knew I had to play as well as I did the day before.”
Things didn’t start according to plan, which raised the nerves a bit more. Fendt bogeyed the fist hole on Wednesday, but said he finally settled down after getting a birdie on the fifth hole—one he had eagled the previous round—to get back to even par.
“After that, I was back even and could, I don’t want to say relax, but I was at ease,” Fendt said.
Fendt was hoping he’d get paired up with his soon-to-be teammate, but instead played a group behind Guglielmo. He said Guglielmo’s body language was calm for the entire day, but that he had no idea he was playing so well.
“I had a double bogey on the third hole today,” Guglielmo said when he got off the course Wednesday. “That was my only hiccup. No other bogeys.”
“I got really nervous going into 12, 13 and 14, that stretch of holes is really hard. I just told myself to remain calm and ended up getting birdie on all three,” Guglielmo said.
Both golfers recorded 11 holes under par, including an eagle-a-piece, throughout the two-day tournament. Fendt and Guglielmo qualified along with Jake Harpe of Griffin, Ga., and Vincent Whaley of Fayetteville, Ga.
Fendt, who was already in his workout clothes and heading to the gym a few hours after having the best round of his life, said the reason was simple—he has to keep doing what he’s doing, and that’s grinding away.
“You know, it’s kind of something that has popped up like everything else,” Fendt said. “Just another summer tournament, really, and I just came out of the Georgia amateur and played well in that. The more tournaments you play and the closer they are together, the better you’re going to play in the next tournament.”
“For me, I’ve got to keep in shape. I come here for leg workouts, core, then a lot of stretching. As a golfer you don’t want to be muscle bound.”
Guglielmo wasn’t afraid to admit he’s looking at big picture stuff.
“It’s been a goal to win the U.S. Amateur. Now I get to go out there and try to do just that,” Guglielmo said. “I want to win the Masters, The British Open...I want to win them all. That’s been a dream since I was 5 years old.”
The Forsyth tandem probably didn’t dream that their ambitions would cross paths so many times, but Guglielmo likes the idea.
“I can help (Jake) find his classes and stuff, but we’ll have him do everything for the team. He’ll put the clubs in the van, clean our rooms. All of that stuff,” Guglielmo joked.