Golf

Time to meet their matches at U.S. Amateur

Shuffle the deck.

A new 110th U.S. Amateur championship is about to begin.

Eliminated on Tuesday were 238 players after two rounds of stroke play. Ten more will book flights out after settling a 16-golfers-for-six-spots playoff just after sunrise today at Chambers Bay Links.

Also gone is one golf course – The Home Course in DuPont. It did its job while it lasted.

At 9 a.m., when the first of 32 matches – player-versus-player – gets under way, so, too, will the match-play U.S. Amateur.

“It’s a different tournament from here on out,” Colombia’s Andres Echavarria said. “You can win the qualifier and can have a really tough match. It all depends on the draw.”

That No. 1 seed – the medalist – was the man who posted the tournament’s low round.

Jeff Wilson, the 47-year-old car salesman from Fairfield, Calif., who shot a 10-under-par 62 on Monday at The Home Course, came back Tuesday with a respectable round of 3-over 74 at Chambers Bay.

His 7-under 136 total edged a pair of emerging teenagers – Patrick Cantlay, of Los Alamitos, Calif. (67 at The Home Course) and Patrick Rodgers, of Avon, Ind. (68 at The Home Course), who came in at 137.

Both had birdie putts on the 18th hole to tie Wilson, but both missed.

Echavarria played with Cantlay, and had a 68 to tie Kentucky teenager Justin Thomas (69 at Chambers Bay) for fourth at 140.

Korea’s Eric Chun (69 at The Home Course) rounded out the six golfers who finished two rounds under par. He was at 142.

Local survivors to the round of 64 include recent University of Washington graduate Nick Taylor (144), the Olympia duo of Cameron Peck (145) and Jarred Bossio (147), and Tacoma’s T.J. Bordeaux (146).

It was Wilson’s second time medaling at the U.S. Amateur. The first was at Baltusrol Golf Club in 2000.

“I walk off with 62 (on Monday), and I’m tossing and turning all night wondering how I’m going to grind it out (Tuesday),” Wilson said. “I knew it was going to be hard to come back.”

As for earning medalist honors for the sixth time at a USGA championship, Wilson was pragmatic about it.

“It’s nice to hang in the office, but the tournament starts (today),” he said.

The fearless brand of golf Cantlay and Rodgers play is grounded in wisdom beyond their years.

Cantlay began his back nine Tuesday with three consecutive birdies, capped by a 60-foot chip at the 12th, to fuel a final nine of 31 strokes that launched him up the leaderboard.

“I’m a little bit surprised (by finishing low in stroke play), but I’ve been working hard, and I’ve played well the last two days,” said Cantlay, who will enroll ato UCLA after the U.S. Amateur. “I know I’m capable of doing something like that.”

Rodgers, who just started his senior year, was the only golfer in the field to post back-to-back rounds in the 60s.

“This is obviously a good accomplishment, but this tournament is two separate tournaments,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t look at a leaderboard today, and I won’t look at who I play.”

As much as the final 64 is about how much star power remains – guys such as Western Amateur winner David Chung (tied for 13th at 144), top-ranked American Peter Uihlein (tied for 33rd at 146) and defending champion Byeong-Hun An (tied for 40th, 147) – it’s also about seeing what favorites failed to advance.

Korea’s Jin Jeong, the world’s No. 1 amateur, is out after his disastrous 79 at Chambers Bay on Tuesday. So are fellow top-25 players Bud Cauley and Bhavik Patel, a 2009 U.S. Amateur semifinalist.

Also eliminated were guys who have won other USGA championships, including former U.S. Junior winner Sihwan Kim, reigning U.S. Junior champion Jim Liu and 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links winner Lion Kim.

Even a local standout – University Place’s Andrew Putnam – is no longer in the running.

“If they’re not in, they’re not in,” Canada’s Eugene Wong said. “That’s just how it is. It’s golf. You always have a bad round in there.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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