J.J. Gresco kept up his recent hot play, posting a one-shot victory in the 2019 U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier held July 15-16, 2019, at Spanish Trail Country Club. Gresco is coming off winning the 2019 Nevada State Amateur one week ago and backed that up with this qualifier victory. Also advancing was runnerup Gavin Cohen, who finished one shot back of Gresco. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
With the win, Gresco now advances to the 2019 U.S. Amateur which will be held Aug. 11-18, 2019, at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. Jack Trent beat Trevor Olkowski on the fifth hole of a playoff for the alternate spot.
For the second straight tournament Gresco had to rally from a first-round deficit. This time he was two-strokes down but his consistency (rounds of 3-under-par 69 both days) sealed the victory.
“The big thing for me is I stayed in the moment,” Gresco said. “Usually I like to know where I’m at in a tournament but this time I just wanted to shoot as low as I could and hopefully it was good enough.”
As it turned out, it was good enough by one stroke.
He had seven birdies over the two days and just one bogey.
“And it was a very, very stupid bogey,” he said. “I was 80 yards out on a par-4 and missed the green and couldn’t get it up and down. That wasn’t good.”
But the rest of the two days now mean a trip to Pinehurst.
“As soon as I learned it was going to be at Pinehurst I was excited,” he said. “That’s always been a goal. If there was one amateur I wanted to make sure I qualified for, this was it. Pinehurst is very special to me. When I was a kid, it was always the goal to get there.”
And he wound up there multiple years in junior tournaments. ”It’s just a special place,” he said. “There’s so much history.”
Gresco is rising junior at UNLV. He said these back-to-back victories will definitely help when he’s back with the Rebels.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence back with these two wins,” he said. “The strength of my game has always been consistency and that’s been lacking a little in college.”
What’s been the big difference over the last couple of weeks?
“I’ve gotten more trust back in my putting,” he said. “That’s been a big word for me lately: trust.”
2019 U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier
J.J. Gresco, 69-69—138
Gavin Cohen, 67-72—139
Jack Trent, 72-69—141
Trevor Olkowski, 67-74—141