Cole Hammer, 15, becomes third-youngest golfer to play in US Open

Golf tends to supply a steady stream of prodigies and at the US Open this week at Chambers Bay another teenager breaks through to the big time.

Cole Hammer, a 15‑year‑old from Houston, will become the event’s third-youngest player, behind Andy Zhang (2012, 14 years, six months) and Tadd Fujikawa (2006, 15 years, five months).

A winner of three recent junior tournaments, Hammer did not set out to qualify but wanted to test his improving game against the professionals. A storming qualifying in Dallas with rounds of 64 and 68 put him on the plane to Seattle.

A growth spurt has clearly helped his game. Hammer shot up four inches and his wiry frame now stands at 5ft 9in, allowing him to hit drives 20 to 30 yards further than last summer.

Hammer said a fellow Texan proved the spark for his feat. “When I saw Jordan Spieth win the Masters, that was a big inspiration. I said, ‘OK, I have to get better.’”

Powered by article was written by Observer Sport, for The Observer on Saturday 13th June 2015 23.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010