NORMAL — Daniel Anfield only played in a couple tournaments for Illinois State's golf team during his recently completed freshman year.
Now, he gets to tee it up in one of the world's biggest events.
Anfield fired a pair of 3-under-par 68s on Wednesday at Weibring Golf Club to earn medalist honors in the 90-man field in qualifying for the U.S. Amateur. That earned him a trip to the 118th U.S. Amateur, which will be held Aug. 13-19 at historic Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spylglass Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif.
"This whole summer I felt I've scratched the surface," said Anfield, a Minooka High School graduate from Channahon who won the Dwight Country Club Invitational in May. "It feels really good to pull through on this one and see what I can do."
Anfield will be joined in California by two Illinois Wesleyan senior golfers.
Drew Pershing of Washington fired 66 in the morning to take the lead. He backed that up with an afternoon 73 that was good enough to finish third at 139. Pershing was followed by Titan teammate Benjamin Johnson of Downers Grove, who sank a long birdie putt on his final hole for a 69-140 to grab the fourth and final qualifying spot.
"Having Ben going is going to make this trip twice as fun," said Pershing. "It's going to be fantastic. We have an incredible golf team and we're incredibly deep."
Another IWU golfer, sophomore Rob Wuethrich of Bloomington, fired two 71s and won a playoff for the second alternate spot.
Anfield closed with a flourish to edge Varun Chopra of Champaign, who plays for the University of Illinois, by two strokes for medalist honors. The 6-foot-4 Anfield birdied six holes on his closing nine to shoot 32 on Weibring's front nine.
"It felt nice to make some putts," said Anfield. "Everything fell into place on the first 18. I struggled a little bit on the first nine of the last 18, then started playing really good golf on the last nine. It needed to happen."
The good news for Pershing was he started the day birdie-eagle-birdie. The bad news? There was still 33 holes to go.
"I told myself you have so much golf left and you have to keep playing solid and keep hitting solid shots," he said. "I thought I did a good job not thinking about it."
Johnson figured he was right on the bubble after two straight bogeys left him 1-under with four holes left. He made three straight pars before draining the long birdie putt on No. 9 (his final hole) and avoiding a playoff with Fred Allen Meyer of Nicholasville, Ky.
"Putting is what it all came down to," said Johnson. "I didn't miss a lot of putts inside 5 feet and made some 12-footers for birdies. That helped a lot."