Staff picks: U.S. Amateur
110th U.S. Amateur
Site: University Place, Wash.
Courses: Chambers Bay (7,742 yards, par 71), The Home Course (7,309 yards, par 72)
2009 champion: Byeong-Hun An
- Medalist: Peter Uihlein. He played in – and won – the Sahalee Players Championship this summer at The Home Course, and while on the trip got familiar with Chambers Bay.
- Winner: Patrick Reed. You have to like his match-play record. In 2008 he was a U.S. Amateur semifinalist; in ‘09 was a quarterfinalist at the North & South Amateur and semifinalist at the Western Amateur; and in 2010 advanced to the Sweet 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links and won all three of his matches in helping lead Augusta State to the NCAA team title.
- Sleeper: Bavik “Bobby” Patel. A semifinalist in this championship last year, he advanced to the Sweet 16 of this year’s APL after tying for second in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying. He also was a quarterfinalist at the ’08 Southern California GA Match Play Championship.
- Medalist: Hudson Swafford. Only bombers will contend at Chambers Bay, which at 7,742 yards is the longest course in USGA history, and few players in the amateur game can hit it out there like Swafford. He also seems to finally be turning the corner post-shoulder surgery, having finished in the top 10 in his past two events (T-10 at the Porter Cup and T-4 at the Northeast Amateur).
- Winner: David Chung. Inarguably the hottest player in amateur golf, having finished inside the top 7 in his past eight amateur events, including wins at the Porter Cup, Western Amateur and ’09 North & South Amateur.
- Sleeper: Albin Choi. The N.C. State signee shot 17 under par to win the Canadian Amateur over a field that included Oregon standout Eugene Wong (second) and U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Lion Kim (fourth).
- Medalist: Kevin Tway. The Oklahoma State Cowboy is a long hitter, and he’ll need every yard at Chambers Bay. When you are long off the tee and hit long irons well like Tway does, then medalist honors will be within reach.
- Winner: David Chung. He has been on fire as of late, and also played well at the North & South. He has been the best all summer, and will prove it out West.
- Sleeper: Blayne Barber. He has been overlooked all summer, because of his transfer from Central Florida to Auburn. But Barber can refresh peoples’ memories with a run next week.
- Medalist: Andrew Putnam. The University Place, Wash., native will be able to sleep in his own bed, an added advantage for Putnam, who’s having a great summer. He qualified for the U.S. Open, won the Pacific Coast Amateur and finished second in the Sahalee Players Championship.
- Winner: David Chung. Chung is a match-play master, going all the way back to 2004, when he made it to the final of the U.S. Junior. He also has wins at last year’s North & South and this year’s Western Amateur. Why is he so good at match play? He doesn’t make many mistakes.
- Sleeper: Hudson Swafford. Swafford is only a sleeper because he was on the sidelines all of last college season. But his good run at the U.S. Open showed that he’s back in form and should be a threat in Tacoma.