History has a funny way of repeating itself as Hines, a rising Georgia Tech sophomore, won a three-way playoff Tuesday at Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn., and qualified for his first U.S. Amateur.
Hines will have two weeks to prepare before heading to The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., for the Aug. 12-18 tournament.
“I haven’t had a strong summer, but going to Boston to end the season is a good way of salvaging it,” Hines said. “I’m excited I was able to get through, and I’m excited to have another tournament to play in before school starts this month.”
Hines and Lee Maxwell — who each shot 1-under 143 through the two-round qualifier — survived a one-hole playoff to earn two of the three qualifying spots. Hines and Maxwell each parred the playoff hole — No. 1 — while Grant Daugherty bogeyed it.
Payne Denman won the qualifier at 142.
Hines was tied for second entering the final round after opening with a 2-under 70. He was 3-under with two holes remaining before a double bogey on 17 and a par on 18.
“It was a long course, like 7,400 yards,” Hines said. “I knew that if it was that long, it would be tough to make birdies, so I figured, if I could shoot 3-under, I’d have a chance.”
Hines’ said he felt good after his first-round 70.
“I thought if I could shoot that again, I’d get in for sure,” he said. “Unfortunately, I double-bogeyed 17 and thought I was done. I managed to save par on the last hole and made the playoff.
“I had to wait like 30 minutes for a bunch of guys to finish before I found out (I would still be playing). The whole time, I thought I had no chance, but it kept opening up as guys came in. Then, I found out it would be a three-man playoff for two spots.”
Like all U.S. Amateur hopefuls, Hines had one chance to make the tournament. He was already committed to an event in Savannah and had to decide whether to compete at a U.S. Amateur qualifier in Milton — at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course, site of May’s NCAA championship that Georgia Tech competed in — two days before Savannah, or go to the Tennessee qualifier two days later.
“I went with my gut and chose Tennessee,” Hines said. “Even though I knew the (Crabapple) course, the field was a lot stronger there. There were a lot of college guys playing it, and a few of my teammates, so I thought it would be easier to qualify if I went out of state.
“When I looked up the Tennessee course, I saw that it was similar to Crabapple — long and generous off the tee. It looked like it set up well for me and I fell in love with it while I played.”
Hines will join five Georgia Tech teammates — Richard Werenski, Bo Andrews, Anders Albertson, Seth Reeves and former Harrison High School standout Ollie Schniederjans — in the U.S. Amateur.
Albertson, Schniederjans and Reeves qualified from Milton, Andrews from a qualifier in Virginia and Werenski in Massachusetts.
According to a Georgia Tech release, the previous record for active Yellow Jacket golfers in the U.S. Amateur was five.
“We’re a strong team,” Hines said. “We’re good friends and we push each other every day. I’m glad I was able to make it 6-for-6. It’s awesome for the team and coaches and all of us are pretty excited.”