CHICAGO – Can anyone slow down Geoff Drakeford at the moment? Apparently not.
Drakeford, the winner of Porter Cup on July 26, came out guns a-blazing at the Western Amateur and finished his first round with a 6-under 65 at The Beverly Country Club, one shot ahead of Adam Schenk of Vincennes, Ind., after the morning wave.
“I thought it was going to be a crazy day out there, but I bogeyed 15 with a poor shot over the green,” Drakeford said.
He said he also missed putta from inside 10 feet on Nos. 7 and 8 on the front nine. “It could have been scary low.
“The greens here are ridiculously quick; you can’t be above the hole here. I had an 8-footer downhill and missed, then a 5-footer coming back on 18.”
Drakeford has been in the U.S. for three weeks now and has been building more and more confidence the more he plays here. He isn’t attributing his success to any part of his game in particular but said, “You have your good days and your bad days, and I’ll just take it while I can.”
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SLOW START, FAST FINISH: Beau Hossler doesn’t know the reason why he starts slow, but eventually in the long run, it pays off.
Hossler fired a 4-under 67 in the morning wave of the Western Amateur on Tuesday, good enough for a share of third place before the afternoon groups teed off.
“It was a slow start for me, but glad to get it going the last couple of holes out there,” Hossler said.
He struggled to a 1-over 37 on the front nine, but birdied six of his last eight holes coming in.
The 19-year-old did the same thing last week in the Porter Cup’s second round, where he birdied Nos. 11-16 at Niagara Falls Country Club.
He admitted that at last week’s tournament, he was a little tired – having traveled the last three weeks to different amateur tournaments around the country.
He finished with three birdies in a row on Nos. 16-18 and felt like that was a big momentum swing coming home.
“I felt like I was stealing a shot and a half there especially with that green,” Hossler said. “I suspect there will be some high numbers there (this week).
“It was missing some short putts early. So I changed something in my stroke, and gave myself better opportunities on the back. When you’re underneath the hole, you can be a little more aggressive and put a confident roll on it.”
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WORLD TRAVELER: Josh Munn has been around the world a few times. This week, he ends up in Chicago for the 112th Western Amateur.
Munn, 23, of New Zealand, has been away from home for about two months now playing amateur golf.
One of four members of the New Zealand National Team in the field this week, Munn was first in Europe playing in the British Amateur, the St. Andrews Links Trophy and then the Brabazon Trophy. He then made the seven-hour trip to the U.S., where he has played the Players and Southern amateurs. The Western is his last stop before playing in the Eisenhower Trophy for New Zealand.
In Tuesday’s first round of stroke play, Munn finished with a 4-under 67 at The Bev, a round that included five birdies and one bogey at the difficult par-3 17th.
“I came over here, and see what you guys have got,” Munn said, who has played in the U.S. the last three summers. “My game is in better shape. I have come a long way with my swing. My confidence is high right now and everything has progressed a little bit more than the last few years.”