June 15, 2013
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina men's golfers Sebastian Soderberg, Ben Wheeler and Peter Valasek have each earned a berth into the 118th annual The Amateur Championship - also known as the British Amateur, played June 17-22 in Sandwich, England at Royal Cinque Ports and Prince's courses.
The first two days of The Amateur Championship will be stroke play contest at both courses before the field is cut to 64 and ties. The final four days of The Amateur Championship will be match play and played at Cinque Ports. Soderberg and Wheeler will have tee off at 10:12 am and 10:34 am, respectively, at Royal Cinque Ports on June 17 and the two will tee off around the 3 pm hour on June 18 at Prince's. Valasek will tee off just after Noon on Monday at Prince's and 7:33 am Tuesday at Cinque Ports.
The winner of the Amateur Championship will earn a place in the 2013 Open Championship (British Open) at Muirfield and the 2014 U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst. Traditionally, an invitation is also extended to The Amateur Champion to play in the following year's Masters at Augusta.
Of the nearly 6,500 golfers in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR.com), Soderberg is 60th, Wheeler is 480th and Valasek is 892nd.
Soderberg completed is CCU career this last month as he led Coastal to its fourth appearance at the NCAA Championship. He was the 2013 Big South Men's Golfer of the Year, a three-time All-East Region selection, four-time All-Big South honoree and three-time Academic All-Big South selection. The native of Ojersjo, Sweden, Soderberg was a finalist to represent Team Europe at this summer's Palmer Cup and has represented Sweden at the 2012 European Championship.
Wheeler, a rising junior, is a product of South Croydon, England. The Amateur Championship being held on the southeast coast of England, approximately an hour and 30 minutes east from his home and adjacent to the Royal St. George's Course (one of the courses on the regular rotation for The Open Championship). The 2012 Big South Freshman of the Year ranks eighth on the CCU career scoring list with an average of 74.13 in his two years as a Chanticleer. Wheeler enters The Amateur Championship on a positive note as he was Coastal's top performer at the 2013 NCAA Championship, finishing tied for 26th with a 1-under 209 (70-71-69). He has earned Big South Presidential Honor Roll recognition twice, posting at least a 3.0 GPA for each of his first two years.
Valasek is no stranger to playing on the amateur world stage as he has been one of three from his native Slovakia to play in the 2010 and 2012 World Amateur Team Championship - tying for 19th individually in 2012 - and was one of six to represent Slovakia at the 2012 European Championship. Valasek's play at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional was the key to the Chanticleers placing fifth and qualifying for the NCAA Championship. The rising junior tied for sixth at the NCAA Regional, carding a 2-over 218 (75-74-69).