Tyler Raber, the Aggie golf sensation, has been all work and no play this summer. The UC Davis red-shirt senior’s phenomenal performances in the four amateur tournaments held these past two months is a reflection of the hard work and countless hours he spends on the green every day.
Raber’s awe-inspiring summer journey began with the British Amateur Open in Scotland. He became the first American to advance into the round of 16, where his run came to an end.
Raber narrowly missed a chance to win the first hole, missing an eight-foot birdie shot. He regrouped with a birdie on the fourth hole, but Toby Tree went back up after another birdie on hole six. On the par-4 15th hole, Raber hit a seven iron to eight feet, only to see his putt fall to the left. He needed par on the 17th hole, but his putt just missed.
Upon reflection, Raber takes away nothing but positive thoughts and ideas from the experience.
“It was a fun tournament,” he said. “The course was firmer and faster, but it was interesting to see the talent around the world. It gave me confidence for the rest of the summer because the competition there is as hard as it’s ever going to be.”
With only one day of rest, Raber competed in the 101 California State Amateur Championship in Santa Barbara. He lost to his seeded first-round opponent, a friend from Bakersfield.
“The biggest challenge was adjusting to the courses here,” Raber said.
In July, Raber was selected to participate in the Sahalee Players Championship in Washington, which, unfortunately, did not go in his favor. He finished 44th.
“It was a fun course,” Raber said. “But the courses were very tough. “If you don’t get the ball off well, it is hard to get a good score, while in other tournaments you can compensate for poor shots.”
Raber quickly recovered from that tournament to win the Trans-Miss Championship in Iowa on July 13. He held off Iowa’s Steven Ihm by a single shot with a final-round score of 1 over 72. Raber’s victory marks the biggest non-collegiate tournament win in UC Davis men’s golf program history.
Raber led the field after his first two rounds, posting scores of 70 and 65, respectively. He shot a solid first round, parring his first eight holes.
His second round was even more impressive as he moved to six under with birdies on five of his first nine holes. He opened and closed his back nine with bogeys, but a birdie on hole two followed by six pars sealed his victory over Ihm and the rest of the field.
“It was very close to finish,” Raber said. “I tried not to think about the pressure or the stakes. I focused on my game.”
“He is an incredibly hard worker,” said coach Cy Williams. “He deserves all of the success he gets.”
Over the past several months, Coach Williams and Raber have been working to fine-tune Raber’s golf performance. They have simply worked at removing the kinks from his game rather than employing new strategies and techniques for upcoming championships.
The next destination for Raber is Erin Hills, Wisconsin on Aug. 13. He captured the third qualifying spot. This will be his second time competing in this tournament.
“Hopefully, my experience from last year and success this summer will give me more positive results this year,” Raber said. “I am pleased to get the spot and having been practicing a lot.”
Finally, in September, Raber will participate in the Sacramento Championship with college players. Raber anticipates this tournament, as it will be a great opportunity for him to get ready for the college season.
Between mid-August and September, Tyler Raber will spend long-awaited time with his girlfriend, family and friends with afternoon practices on the green with the help of Coach Williams.
“This is what he loves to do,” Williams said. “I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
VEENA BANSAL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.