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Former Hilltopper qualifies for top amateur tourney before returning to Univ. of Virginia

GLEN ELLYN – Kyle Kochevar’s debut golf season at the University of Virginia didn’t exactly play out as he had envisioned.

But if this summer is any indication, that first collegiate campaign soon will be a distant memory.

Playing for the first time in the Illinois Open from July 22 to 24 at the Glen Club in Glenview, the Glenbard West graduate finished in a tie for 14th place overall and a tie for third among amateurs with his three-round score of 216 (even par).

“It was cool; it was my first pro tournament,” said Kochevar, who qualified for the event earlier in the summer at the Deerfield Golf Club. “I could have played better, but I was pretty happy with how I finished. I now get invited back next year; I don’t have to qualify.”

The Open was just the latest event in what has been a busy summer for Kochevar.

“I’ve played a lot of golf,” he said. “I’ve had a few days off, but I’ve been golfing pretty much all summer. I’ve been practicing and getting ready for tournaments, and I’ve played in a lot of tournaments.”

Next up for the left-hander is the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship from Aug. 12 to 18 at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., easily the biggest event Kochevar has ever been a part of. He advanced via a sectional qualifying tournament July 12 in Minnesota.

“It’s the biggest amateur in the world,” he said of the tourney, which features both stroke and match play. “I’m excited; it doesn’t get much better than that. If you get to the finals, you get to go to the Masters and the U.S. Open.”

Soon after, Kochevar, whose twin sister, Brooke, is a member of the Coastal Carolina women’s golf team, will return to Virginia for his sophomore campaign. As a freshman, he played in two fall events for the Cavaliers.

“I had fun there; the school is awesome,” he said. “Everything there was good; I just didn’t play that well. It was tough to get acclimated, but I still had a great time there.”

Feeling more prepared this time around, he expects big things this time around for both the team and himself.

“I now know what to expect,” Kochevar said. “I’m really excited. We didn’t lose too many people. We should be very solid this year, and hopefully I can add a lot more than I did.”

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