Different circumstances, but Putnam again a favorite
ERIN, Wis. – When the U.S. Amateur was held last year at Chambers Bay, Andrew Putnam was considered a favorite. As a resident of University Place, Wash., where Chambers Bay is located, Putnam played the course many times.
However, that local knowledge wasn’t quite the advantage that he might have expected. In fact, Putnam says it might have been a disadvantage after the U.S. Golf Association had set up the Amateur.
“The course went through a 180-degree turn,” said Putnam, a recent Pepperdine graduate. “I expected to play one course, but ended up playing an entirely different one.”
Putnam failed to advance to match play at the 2010 U.S. Amateur, struggling with an opening-round 84 before a 1-under 71 the next day at the nearby Home Course, the other stroke-play site. He tied for 155th.
This week at Erin Hills, Putnam has built upon a summer of solid play. He shot 70-68--138 to tie for 13th and easily advance into match play. Putnam says it has been better to visit Wisconsin with hardly any knowledge of the course.
“I think it’s better to not have expectations for a golf course,” Putnam said. “Everyone’s on a level playing field, and I think it put me at an advantage this time.”
Putnam hopes to play deep into the weekend and boost his prospects to make one of three remaining spots for the U.S. Walker Cup team that will be finalized after the Amateur.
“It’s a hard coversation to avoid,” Putnam said. “No matter what, it’s always in the back of your mind.”
In the Round of 64, Putnam defeated Juan Salcedo of The Woodlands, Texas, 6 and 5. Next up for Putnam: Kelly Kraft in today’s Round of 32. Kraft, a recent SMU graduate, and Putnam are familiar with each other from college and amateur tournaments.