It didn’t go exactly the way he wanted it to. Still, Junior Tour of Northern California alum Noah Norton was doing something over 9,000 players had hoped to do—play in this week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Norton, a native of Chico, opened with a disappointing 9-over 80 in Thursday’s first round.
But he was still competing. Approximately 9,100 players entered qualifying for the championship. Only 15 amateurs made it into the 156-man field. Norton being one of them.
“It’s tough. It beat me up,” said Norton, who still managed to sneak in a bit of a smile. “It was a good learning experience. I know what I have to work on.”
While it’s not the equivalent of a U.S. Open, Norton has been in a pressure cooker before. In 2016, he reached the finals of the California Amateur at Olympic Club before losing to P.J. Samiere.
“You want to learn from each of your experiences. It’s all preparation, about getting better and better,” Norton said. “I just played poorly.”
Norton can fall back on some strong support. As it was at the Cal Am, he again has a strong contingent of family and friends rooting him on, including his mom and dad.
“There’s so many friends here I can’t even count,” Norton said. “Playing Pebble in the U.S. Open. It doesn’t get any better than this.”