Players with local ties don't advance in US Amateur

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012 9:18 PM
Last updated 11:57 PM
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CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Three golfers with local ties failed to advance to the match play portion of the U.S. Amateur Championship after two days of stroke play qualifying.

Former Greenbrier golfer Chris Waters, who now lives in Athens, Ga., shot 7-over-par 78 on Tuesday at Cherry Hills Country Club and finished at
10-over 151.

USC Aiken golfer Matt Atkins had 79 at Cherry Hills and finished at 153.

North Augusta’s Ben Lown shot 81, also at Cherry Hills, and finished at 155.

The cut fell at 143.

Bobby Wyatt, a junior at the University of Alabama, shot 2-under 68 at CommonGround Golf Course for a two-day qualifying score of 9-under 132 to snag the top seed heading into match play.

Wyatt 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, of Taiwan, and Jeff Osberg, of West Chester, Pa.

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 at Cherry Hills among 17 players who tied at 143 and are competing for the last 14 spots. The finals will be held Sunday.

Meanwhile, Gary Nicklaus, the 43-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus and one of the oldest competitors in the amateur, shot 74 at Cherry Hills for a two-day score of 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. And any time you’re playing in a USGA event, it’s not geared for making runs of birdies to get back into it. It’s meant for good solid play from the beginning on through. But it was fun and I enjoyed it.”

SPOTS ON THE LINE: Gary Woodland, Y.E. Yang and Chez Reavie all made it to the Tour Championship for a chance to compete for the $10 million bonus prize in the FedEx Cup finale.

One year later, the goal is simply to get to the first playoff event.

All three are outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings going into the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. At least they have a chance.

Stewart Cink, three years removed from his British Open title at Turnberry, is at No. 137 and chose not to play. Cink, a former Georgia Tech standout whose oldest son is going to college, will not be eligible to play again until October.

Also outside the top 125 and not playing is two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.

The top 125 qualify for The Barclays at Bethpage Black. After that, the top 100 in the standings move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick and the top 30 go to the Tour Championship.

Rod Pampling is on the bubble at No. 125, 26 points ahead of Brendan Steele.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is John Daly, who tied for 18th at the PGA Championship. Daly hasn’t had his full PGA Tour card the past six years and he hasn’t gone back to Q-school. The PGA Championship was his fourth top-20 finish in his past seven tournaments, and he has missed only one cut.

Just like that, he is at No. 137 in the FedEx Cup standings, 58 points away from the No. 125 spot going into Greensboro.

“It’s baby steps for me,” Daly said. “I’m slowly but surely getting more and more confidence because I’m making a lot of cuts. Whether you play great on a weekend or bad, at least you’re playing competitive. That’s what I need, whether it’s 15 weeks in a row, 20 weeks in a row. I’ve always been a guy that likes to play a lot, anyway. So I just feel like I’ve got a great rhythm.”

IT CAN BE DONE: One of the complaints about the PGA Tour doing away with Q-school as a way to earn a tour card is that it forces the college star to spend a year on the Web.com Tour instead of going straight to the tour. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes are among those who went from college to Q-school to winning in their first year.

Ben Kohles has proved that it’s still possible.

He finished up at the University of Virginia in the spring, turned pro and won back-to-back on the Web.com Tour. Kohles is No. 2 on the money list, assured of finishing in the top 25 to get onto the PGA Tour. If the new system were in place next year, he still would be guaranteed one of the spots after the “Finals,” the three tournaments that blend Web.com Tour and PGA Tour players to decide who gets cards.

But it could hurt participation in the U.S. Amateur every August and the Walker Cup every other year. Kohles said his original plan was to play the U.S. Amateur, being held his week at Cherry Hills, before turning pro. However, he was offered a spot in Columbus, Ohio, won the tournament and was on his way.

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind and haven’t had much time to think about it, which I think is a good thing,” Kohles said Tuesday. “I know a lot of guys, tons of golfers, are trying to make it out here. I was able to ... take a lot of the variables out of play and make a very big jump very early. I was very fortunate and really blessed.”

MAKING THE CUT: Keegan Bradley had a perfect record in the majors when he won the PGA Championship last year because it was his first time playing a major. He’s now won 20 percent of his majors, though he kept another mark perfect. He still doesn’t know what it’s like to leave a major early.

Bradley was among 12 players who made the cut in every major this year.

The others were Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Fredrik Jacobson, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who hasn’t missed a cut in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott had the best overall performance in the majors, both finishing in the top 15 in all of them.

On the flip side were Lucas Glover, Mark Wilson and Alvaro Quiros, who failed to make the cut in all four majors. Quiros has missed the cut in each of his past six majors, during which time he is 65-over par.

LOVE’S TRYOUT: The PGA Championship wasn’t the first time Davis Love III had played Kiawah Island.

Love was in his fifth year on the PGA Tour in 1991 and had won at Hilton Head earlier in the year when Ryder Cup captain Dave Stockton told him he was being considered as a pick and asked him to go to the Ocean Course to see what he thought.

He recalls the head pro asking him, “I thought you were going to play the tips.” Love looked at the tee box and realized some of them were tucked way back in the marshes. Alas, he wasn’t chosen for the team, and he doesn’t think he should have been picked.

“I was pretty good, and I was long,” Love said. “But I’m not sure this was the place for someone who had never played in the Ryder Cup.”

He paused after sharing the story, and then added, “I don’t think I’m going to do that, though.”

The U.S. captain made it sound like he was considering a Ryder Cup rookie as one of his picks until he finished his thought.

“I’m not going to make someone play Medinah and get their hopes us,” he added.

HITTING HOME: Keegan Bradley is going back to his New England roots to play host to a fund-raiser for flood victims from last year’s hurricane.

The event will be Aug. 27 – the Monday of the Deutsche Bank Championship – at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont, where Bradley grew up. The day includes Bradley holding a golf clinic in the morning and a reception following the round of golf. The tournament benefits the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.

“Our event comes 364 days after the floods,” Bradley said. “It’s a good time to celebrate the progress made in the area and help to finally overcome the setbacks so many of our friends and businesses have suffered.”


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