Chung stays hot, advances at U.S. Amateur
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – David Chung’s strong summer continued Thursday morning in the second round of the U.S. Amateur. Chung beat Skip Berkmeyer, 4 and 3, in the second round.
His victory set up an intriguing matchup with Brad Benjamin, the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links, in Thursday afternoon’s Round of 16. Both players have strong match-play resumes.
Benjamin is seeking his second USGA championship. Chung was runner-up at the ’04 U.S. Junior Amaeur, and two of his biggest victories – at the ’09 North & South Amateur and this year’s Western Amateur – came in match-play events. Chung also won the Porter Cup this year.
U.S. Amateur (Rds. of 32, 16)
As temperatures dropped and the wind picked up, the Rounds of 32 and 16 created a lot of excitement at Chambers Bay.
“I played really well at Royal Portrush in the Palmer Cup,” said Chung, who went 4-0 in the Ryder Cup-style competition between collegians from the U.S. and Europe. “(Chambers Bay) is a fairly links-style course. It plays firm and fast, and you’re not always shooting at the pins. In that sense, I’m pretty comfortable with it.”
Chung is a contender for a spot on Team USA for the World Amateur Team Championship, which will be held in October in Argentina. A strong performance at Chambers Bay will go a long way towards helping Chung’s chances. Only three players will be named to the team. This week’s winner, if a U.S. player, is virtually guaranteed a spot on the team. Scott Langley, Russell Henley, Peter Uihlein, Morgan Hoffmann and Chung are also strong candidates to be named to the team. Of that group, only Henley did not make match play.
Benjamin beat Amory Davis, 3 and 2, on Thursday morning. Benjamin was considered a surprise victor when he defeated Nick Taylor in the final of last year’s Publinks at the University of Oklahoma Golf Course, but has had a good year on the course.
Benjamin completed his career at Memphis, and his degree in finance, in 2009. He’s spent the past year working on his game. The Illinois native spent the winter in South Carolina, preparing for his Masters appearance, before returning home.
The hard work paid off. He played admirably at Augusta, shooting 73-77 to miss the cut by three shots. He also played the John Deere Classic, missing the cut by two shots with rounds of 71-69. Benjamin finished third in this year’s Sunnehanna Amateur and second at the Northeast Amateur.
“I’ve always been a good player. It’s just a matter of getting in the spotlight. It’s not easy to get into these big amateur events, and when you do, you need to take advantage,” Benjamin said. “It’s a matter of confidence. Everybody out here is talented. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself and believing you can do it.”
Benjamin plans to go to PGA Tour Q-School as an amateur. If he doesn’t make the Q-School finals, which guarantees status on either the PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour, he’ll remain amateur and try to make the 2011 Walker Cup team.
USGA’s Davis talks Chambers Bay setup
• • •
Max Homa, a sophomore at the University of California, beat Augusta State’s Carter Newman, 7 and 6, in the second round. It was the biggest margin thus far in the tournament. Homa’s round included a 3-wood to 4 inches on the par-5 fourth hole. Homa beat local favorite T.J. Bordeaux in the first round Wednesday.
Homa, of Valencia, Calif., is on a good recent run. He finished fifth at last week’s Scratch Players Championship, and third in the Trans-Miss Championship earlier this summer.
“I had a little confidence coming in. Playing smart and staying patient is the biggest thing, and just a little bit of luck,” Homa said. “I’m just trying not to think too much about the swing and just play the game.”