SEASIDE, Calif. – Santa Clara men's golfer Derek Ackerman earned a spot at the U.S. Amateur Championship next month.
Ackerman came in second out of 140 golfers at the Northern California Golf Association's qualifier at the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course on Wednesday.
He fired a 5-under-par 137 (67-70), trailing only Josh McCollum who was one shot better in the 36-hole event.
"I went into the day feeling really confident," said Ackerman. "I've played there since junior golf in high school. I've played there twenty-something times."
Ackerman, one of three to advance from the qualifer, sunk 11 birdies, including four in the final round.
"My short game and putting have really been coming together," explained Ackerman. "When I was able to put myself in birdie position, I made almost all of those putts. I think that was one of the best putting performances I have put on in my collegiate career."
After dropping to 3-under overall through 14 holes of the second round, he rebounded.
"Coming down the stretch I was able to make back-to-back birdies," said Ackerman about the last few holes. "On the last hole I had a 20-footer coming down the hill I was able to knock it down and it was the top of my day."
Ackerman is coming off a strong season in which he helped the Broncos reach the NCAA Championships for just the second time in school history.
"I think the main reason for my success is my past experience and the great amount of time I put in my training," said the soon to be senior. "Basically, knowing to trust all the time I have put in these past months."
The native of Half Moon Bay, California, has been busy this summer with more than just his training.
"I've had an internship that is taking up most of my time, so I have only been able to practice from about 6-10 at a night range near campus," said Ackerman.
Ackerman's 67 in the opening round equaled his collegiate best which he posted in the third round of the 2018 WCC Championship.
He's the first Bronco to reach the U.S. Amateur since Drew Miller in 2013. Ackerman will tee off against 311 other golfers at Pebble Beach Golf Links beginning on Aug. 13.
"I feel great, it's still settling in," Ackerman said. "I'm just really excited especially it being on a course like Pebble Beach. I was telling myself if there's one year to qualify, it's this year because all my buddies are going to be able to come out. It was truly a relief that all of the hard work I have put in over summer is paying off."