CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – Bobby Wyatt finished at the top in qualifying at the U.S. Amateur championship at Cherry Hills, and his hope is he’s just getting started.
Wyatt, a junior at the University of Alabama, shot a 2-under-par 68 Tuesday at CommonGround golf course for a two-day qualifying score of 9-under 132 to snag the top seed heading into match play. He also tied the 36-hole tournament record for stroke play, accomplished previously in 2011 by Gregor Main and in 1994 by Hank Kim.
“It’s very humbling to have part of that record,” said Wyatt, who finished two strokes in front of second-place qualifiers Cheng-Tsung Pan and Jeff Osberg of West Chester, Pa. “They change courses every year, and there have been a lot of courses that par is higher than 70 (CommonGround) and 71 (Cherry Hills), but it’s an honor. There have been a lot of great names to play in this championship, and to do that certainly means a lot, but I have a lot of work to do this week.”
Pan was a second-team Ping All-American as a freshman last year for the University of Washington.
Wyatt will face the lowest seed once the field of 64 golfers for the first round of match play is finalized early today by a playoff among 17 players competing for the last 14 spots. The championship round will be held Sunday.
“My confidence is very high right now, playing well and on my game,” Wyatt said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Pan also put himself in a good spot by shooting a 65. He finished two days of stroke play qualifying over the CommonGround and Cherry Hill courses at 7-under 134. Osberg matched Pan at 7 under, including a 65 at CommonGround on Tuesday.
“It went very well out there,” Osberg said. “I just putted fantastically both days, probably the best I’ve putted in my life.”
The preliminary rounds whittled the field from an original contingent of 312 golfers, representing 43 states and 21 countries.
Olympia’s Jarred Bossio had two back-nine double bogeys and shot an 8-over 79 at Cherry Hills Country Club to finish at 10-over 151, tying for 199th and failing to advance.
Enumclaw’s Tyler Salsbury also shot 79 and missed the cut. His total of 15-over 156 tied for 273rd.
Pan began the day tied for 19th after a 69 at Cherry Hills on the first day of qualifying. He moved up 17 spots with his standout performance at the companion course at CommonGround.
“I’m hitting the ball great, driving well,” Pan said. “Hitting irons well, and my long game is always good. I executed every shot well.”
Pan said he drew a lot of encouragement from his qualifying play.
“I feel good about these two rounds,” Pan said. “Gives me confidence going into match play. My goal is to win the tournament and higher seeds always have an advantage.”
Meanwhile, Gary Nicklaus, the 43-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus and one of the oldest competitors in the amateur, shot a 74 at Cherry Hills for a two-day score of 4-over 145, leaving him out of match play in a tie for 82nd place.
“I played OK,” Nicklaus said. “I didn’t play great. I putted pretty lousy. I was very disappointed being 4 over in my first seven holes (on Monday). From that point, I was kind of behind the eight ball the rest of the time.”