Long sets record, leads Northeast Am

RUMFORD, R.I. – Adam Long would love to be able to package up the back nine at Wannamoisett Country Club and take it back to his Lake St. Louis, Mo., home. Or maybe take it to every tournament he competes in and use it as a substitute.

Sihwan Kim would probably like to take that same back nine and blow it up.

Those were most likely their feelings following Thursday’s second round at the 48th Northeast Amateur on the par-69 Donald Ross-designed course.

Long played the final nine holes in 5-under 31 on his way to a 5-under 64 to take the midway lead. Furthermore, Long placed himself in the event’s record books for the lowest score after the first 36 holes with his 7-under 131 total.

Kim, whose opening 65 left him as co-leader, looked as if he’d overtake Long’s record on the same day it was set. The rising junior at Stanford and former U.S. Junior Amateur champion shot a 4-under 30 on the front nine and then birdied the 10th hole to get to 9 under for the tournament.

Kim’s wheels soon came off, however. He buried his tee shot in a bunker at the par-3 12th hole and made double bogey. He followed with a bogey at 16 and saw the round collapse in front of him when he hit two balls out of bounds on the 17th – the course’s only par 5 – and made quadruple bogey. His 30 on the front was joined by a 40 on the back and his 70 left him at 3-under 135, four shots off the lead and in a tie for 11th.

Bud Cauley, who will be a sophomore at Alabama, shot 65 and stands two shots behind Long. He’s tied with recent Clemson grad David May, who shot 67.

Seven players, including first-round co-leader David Holmes (69), are in at 134, while Kim is among the half-dozen players at 135.

Long, as did most of the field, took advantage of a calm day and soft, slow greens from recent rain.

“In the first two rounds, I’ve played the front even-par and the back nine in 7 under,” said Long, who will be a senior at Duke this season. “The greens are still a little soft so the ball is not hitting them and going crazy off the green like can happen out here. It allows you to be more aggressive and that’s why you’re seeing so many low scores.”

As for putting his name in the record books, Long feels privileged to be a part of Northeast Amateur history in just the third time he’s played the event.

“It’s pretty special,” said Long, whose father, Gordon, is on the bag this week. “I consider this the second best amateur tournament next to the U.S. Amateur. I mean it’s just great to be here and play, let alone have a scoring record.

“Still, my goal still is to be in the mix come Saturday and have a chance to win.”

Kim was on cruise control for his first 11 holes even after a bogey on No. 4. He had birdied the previous two holes and followed with birdies on the next three. Then, beginning at the 12th, he lost it.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Kim, a first-team All-American as a freshman. “I just started feeling weird. I felt I was losing my shots on the tee. I still can’t figure out what happened at 17, but I know it killed me and my round.”

Still, Kim remains in the hunt. In fact, there are 28 players within six shots of Long’s lead.

That’s because scores are low – really low – this year.

At the halfway point, 28 players stand with under-par totals – twice as many as a year ago. A total of 33 under-par scores have been posted over two days.

If this pace continues, look for the 72-hole record of 9-under 267 shot by winner Brendan Gielow last year to be shattered.

“The wind and fast greens give this course its teeth,” said Northeast Amateur tournament chairman Denny Glass. “These last two days we’ve had no wind and with all the rain we’ve had recently, the greens are holding shots even with long irons and are running much slower.”

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