ERIN, Wis. – When the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship commenced Monday at Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf Club, the starting field of 312 players contained 41 mid-amateurs – those 25 years and older.
By Wednesday afternoon, after 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, only two of the 64 players on the match-play bracket were mid-amateurs.
The oldest was Patrick Christovich of New Orleans. The other mid-am was Bobby Leopold, 26, of Cranston, R.I.
Beau Hossler, 16, of Mission Viejo, Calif., was the youngest player advancing into match play.
The average age of the 64 was 20.7.
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In spite of strong, windy conditions, a weather delay of nearly four hours Tuesday and a fog delay Wednesday, there was some impressive scoring in stroke-play qualifying.
Led by medalist Gregor Main, the field made a major assault on par over the 2 1/2 days it took to complete 36 holes.
Main shot rounds of 65-67 for a 10-under 132 total, and 58 other players broke par for the two rounds. Main tied the previous low 36-hole score of 132 (which was 12 under) shot by Hank Kim in 1994 at TPC Sawgrass (Stadium and Valley courses) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
It took a score of even-par 132 to qualify for a playoff to determine the final four spots in the match-play field. There were 20 players at this number, meaning 16 players who shot even par were headed home.
Now consider that anyone shooting even par or better at a USGA event never had missed the match-play cut.
Blue Mound played to an average score of 71.647 in stroke play, while the longer and tougher Erin Hills, which will host the 2017 U.S. Open, played to 75.106.
For the two rounds, Erin Hills yielded eight eagles, 727 birdies, 1,267 bogeys, 164 double bogeys and 38 of the dreaded “others.”