Wake me up when the action starts
Another week of amateur golf, and another week where my picks didn’t exactly pan out the way I predicted. That’s OK, because it has given me some things to think about as we get closer to the U.S. Amateur.
1. Red, White and Blue. David Chung continued a strong summer with his win at the Porter Cup over two of the best amateurs in the world – Peter Uihlein and Russell Henley. With a three-stroke victory, Chung’s summer is heating up. He was a semifinalist at the North & South Amateur and helped Team USA win the Palmer Cup. But is he a lock for the Walker Cup? The last three winners of the Porter Cup have made the squad – Brian Harman (2007), Adam Mitchell (2008) and Brendan Gielow (2009). Since the Porter Cup seems to mean a lot to the USGA and Walker Cup selection committee, look for Chung in the Red, White and Blue.
2. Lack of dominance. Sure, Uihlein, Henley and Chung have played well this summer, but has anyone really “wowed” us? Each week a top player wins, but no one has been able to run off consecutive titles. Winning is tough, I know. But no one has set themselves up to be the favorite at the U.S. Amateur. Hopefully that changes soon.
3. Youngsters. Gavin Hall may only be 15, but age does not matter in golf. College coaches have told me over the years, ‘You are either good, or you are not.’ Gavin Hall is really good. The teen tied for second with Peter Uihlein at the Porter Cup, three shots back of Chung. What impressed me the most was that each day his score improved (70-69-66-65--270 ). That’s quite a bit of maturity from someone who has never taken a calculus class. To top it off, he received an invitation to play this week in the PGA Tour’s Turning Stone Championship.
4. Family business. Andrew Putnam won the Pacific Coast Amateur. Now he and his brother, Michael, the 2004 champ, will debate who is the tournament’s best champion. With a four-stroke victory over Oregon junior Daniel Miernicki, Andrew denied two local favorites the win (Ducks juinor Eugene Wong finished eighth). I guess those guys couldn’t “duck” Putnam’s game this week.
5. How about that Cowgirl? Caroline Hedwall, the 2010 NCAA Women’s champion as a sophomore at Oklahoma State, was in another major championship this past weekend, the Women’s British Open. Hedwall tied for 27th and earned low amateur honors. We haven’t heard much from Hedwall this summer, but to finish in the top half of the leaderboad at a major is extremely impressive. She plans to turn pro later this year.