Special Reports

Champ approves of Chambers Bay

So far, so good.

That’s what U.S. Amateur Champion Byeong-Hun An had to say about Chambers Bay Golf Course, the links-style track where he will defend his title in two months.

Set to attend the University of California in the fall, An got his first glimpse of the site of the 2015 U.S. Open on Tuesday during a media day for the U.S. Amateur. He was impressed.

“As soon as me and my dad arrived here, we were like, ‘Wow, this is fantastic,’ ” An said. “That’s all we could say is how great this course looked. I was really amazed with all of the views.”

After playing 18 holes, An remained smitten, noting the toughness of the course, particularly around the greens.

Others joining An during Tuesday’s festivities included course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy.

McCarthy was thankful to have cooperative weather.

“So can I state the obvious? The sun is shining here at Chambers Bay,” quipped McCarthy.

Jones gushed about the perfect piece of property – a former gravel mine – he had at his disposal to create his vision, and is pleased to see the course he designed put to a test by some of the best young golfers in the country.

“In the end, this is a golf course,” Jones said. “It’s for golfers. I’m a golfer first, an architect second. I was born into the game. And I’m so proud to be with you as the architect of record. ... for the most important championships in the world – the United States Amateur Championship in August, and the U.S. Open championship in 2015.”

Along with a return trip to the U.S. Amateur, An also earned some other pretty good perks, including exemptions into this year’s Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.

An failed to make the cut at the Masters in April and the U.S. Open last week, but he did make the cut a Verizon Heritage PGA stop at Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head Island, S.C, finishing tied for 59th. An said he’s thankful to play with some of the best golfers in the world.

“It was a great experience for me,” An said. “It doesn’t matter that I made the cut or not. I didn’t play well in those two tournaments, but it was still a great experience for me just to watch the other players playing.”