Amateurs make mark at Bethpage

Amateur Nick Taylor plays his tee shot on the ninth hole during the continuation of the third round of the 109th U.S. Open.

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Sixteen amateurs competed in this year’s U.S. Open, the most since 1981, when 18 teed it up at Merion Golf Club.

While 13 left New York after two wet rounds at Bethpage Black, three others made the most of their trip to Long Island and some noise on the leaderboard, too.

Nick Taylor, the medalist at the sectional qualifier at Roslyn, Wash., perhaps turned the most heads. Behind a 5-under 65 in the second round, Taylor, a rising senior at Washington, finished as the Open’s low amateur, settling into a tie for 36th place. His 65 tied the lowest U.S. Open round shot by an amatuer, equaling the mark set by James McHale (1947) and James Simons (1971).

Taylor, who finished at 10-over par, missed the cut last year at Torrey Pines.

Drew Weaver, a recent Virginia Tech graduate, finished a shot behind Taylor. Weaver was one of the 12 players in red numbers after Round 1, firing an opening 69 to tie Phil Mickelson and eventual champion Lucas Glover. Weaver, who won the 2007 British Amateur, tied for 40th.

The event marked Weaver’s third major (’08 Masters, ’07 British Open, ’09 U.S. Open) and sixth PGA Tour start. It was the first time he has made the cut.

Kyle Stanley, the 2009 Ben Hogan Award winner, finished 53rd. He opened with 70 and finished at 13-over 293. Stanley missed the cut at last year’s U.S. Open by a shot after shooting 8 over in the first two rounds.

Oklahoma State’s Rickie Fowler, No. 3 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Amateur Rankings (No. 1 in the U.S.), played through the thickest part of Thursday’s rain and shot a first-round 78. He came back with a 68 in the second round, but was still two shots off the cutline.

Fowler had better luck at last year’s Open, making the cut and finishing T-60 at Torrey Pines.

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