Goss looks for best finish yet in brand-new professional career
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Basketball and football aren't the only sports where college athletes leave early for the pros.
Golfers are in that group, too.
Australia native Oliver Goss left the University of Tennessee after two seasons. He was runner-up at the 2013 U.S. Amateur and the only amateur to make the cut at the 2014 Masters. The 20-year-old turned pro after the 2014 U.S. Open.
Last week at the Quicken Loans National he had the halfway lead before shooting rounds of 76 and 79 and finishing tied for 55th place.
That gave Goss something to build on going into The Greenbrier Classic. He opened Thursday with a 70 on the Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier Resort. He followed Friday and Saturday with consecutive rounds of 68. With another solid round Sunday he'll have his best PGA Tour finish to date.
Goss capped off his round in style Saturday and nearly made some cash for fans seated in the bleachers on the scenic par-3 18th. Goss lofted a pitching wedge from 129 meters (his read) to within one-half inch of the cup. Greenbrier chairman Jim Justice is offering $100 for the first ace, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third on the 18th.
"I wanted to bounce back with a good finish," said Goss, who was coming off a bogey on the par-5 17th. "It landed about an inch from the cup, came back to a half-inch and stopped. I don't know how it didn't go in."
Needless to say, fans seated in those bleachers rooted the best they could for that ball to drop.
At Tennessee, Goss had a 71.88 stroke average last season, the season best in program history.
Thus, he had no doubts about leaving Knoxville, Tenn.
"I had some great opportunities," Goss said. "If I stay in college another year I might lose some of those opportunities. I feel real good about my game right now. I was ready to make the move. I'm competing against the best in the world and I have to prove myself each week."
At the Quicken Loans National, Goss hadn't received his PGA Tour credentials yet and a security guard wouldn't let him in the clubhouse on the first day. He tried a different door, made it in and had no problems the rest of the week.
"No problem this week," Goss said with a smile. "Everything's OK with the credentials."
Goss is also making the transition to new locations. PGA Tour veterans know what they'll see week to week, but Goss isn't there yet.
"I like this course," Goss said. "It's a bit shorter than last week (Congressional in Bethesda, Md.) and there's more opportunities for birdies. (Congressional) was really tough and played like the U.S. Open. That's part of the learning process."
Goss knows some young pros, such as Jordan Speith, have made a big splash early in their careers.
For him, it's week by week.
The John Deere Classic is next week where Speith is the defending champion.
"I don't want to put a timetable or numbers in my head," he said. "I don't want to put more pressure on myself. It could've gone better or could've gone worse this week. One step at a time."
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.