U.S. Open: Breaking down amateurs who made cut
ARDMORE, Pa. -- In a week that saw a golf course eat some of the world's best golfers alive, it might be surprising to see that four amateurs are among those who will play the final 36 holes at Merion Golf Club.
Until you read their impressive amateur resumes.
Here is a closer look at the four amateurs that will tee it up on the weekend at the U.S. Open:
• • •
Michael Kim, rising junior, Cal
• Position at the U.S. Open: T-13; rounds of 73-70
• Third-round tee time, group: 1:34 p.m. (No. 1); playing with Bo Van Pelt and Geoff Ogilvy
• How he made the U.S. Open: Was co-medalist at Hawks Ridge sectional just outside Atlanta
• Final Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: No. 1
• Amateur accolades: Winner of 2013 Haskins Award; winner of 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award; 2013 first-team All-American; top-ranked golfer in Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings at end of 2012-13 season; 2013 Golfstat Cup winner; Pac-12 Player of the Year; 2013 Palmer Cup (U.S. team).
• The skinny: Kim came into the U.S. Open on a roller-coaster ride, having gone winless during match play at the NCAA Championship, but then turning around and winning his sectional at Hawks Ridge. He won four times for Cal this season, so he knows how to close. He also has 15 top-10 finishes in 26 career stroke-play events for Cal. He was also the No. 2-ranked amateur in the state of California at the end of 2012, progressing from No. 41 in 2010 and No. 13 in 2011.
• That's what he said: "Just been really steady. Hitting a decent amount of fairways and greens. I've been putting pretty well. These greens are really tricky. And I think putting is one of my strengths and it's been working so far."
• • •
Cheng-Tsung Pan, rising junior, Washington
• Position at the U.S. Open: T-20; rounds of 72-72
• Third-round tee time, group: 1:01 p.m. (No. 1); playing with John Huh and Charley Hoffman
• How he made the U.S. Open: Qualified at the Tumble Creek GC sectional
• Final Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: No. 14
• Amateur accolades: 2013 First Team & 2012 Second Team PING All-American; 2013 and 2012 Ben Hogan Award semifinalist; 2013 and 2012 All-Pac-12; 2012 NGCA All-Freshman Team; 2013 Honorable Mention Pac-12 All-Academic; first-team All-Pac-12 in 2013.
• The skinny: Pan is a model of consistency, picking up seven top-10 finishes in his sophomore season at Washington, a new school record. He had two victories on the 2012-13 season, cruising to a three-shot win at his NCAA Regional, as well as winning the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational. At 15, was the youngest U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist since Bobby Jones.
• That's what he said: "It was a tough and exciting day too. Yeah, I played well yesterday in the afternoon for sure and didn't quite finish well this morning, but that's the way it is, that golf is. And sometimes you have good rounds and sometimes you have bad rounds, and you just make good shots to do your best. But overall I enjoyed my day. On the 18th, people are going crazy for me, so I definitely feel good about that."
• Read more: Huskies’ Cheng-Tsung Pan plays through the pain
• • •
Michael Weaver, rising senior, Cal
• Position at the U.S. Open: T-56; rounds of 74-74
• Third-round tee time, group: 1:45 p.m. (No. 11); playing with Kevin Chappell and Josh Teater
• How he made the U.S. Open: U.S. Amateur runner-up
• Final Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: No. 11
• Amateur accolades: First-team All-American in 2013; NCAA Regional medalist in 2013; All-West Region in 2013; All-Pac-12 in 2013; played in 2013 Masters; 2013 Palmer Cup (U.S. team).
• The skinny: Weaver overcame a heartbreaking loss to Steven Fox in the 2012 U.S. Amateur finals to enjoy a solid season at Cal, winning the NCAA Pullman Regional and posting six top-5 finishes during the 2012-13 season. The victory at Pullman was especially impressive, overcoming a six-shot deficit on the final day to win his first collegiate title.
• That's what he said: "To have all three of us (Cal teammates Kim and Max Homa), it validates everything we are doing right (at Cal). Hopefully helps the program going forward."
• • •
Kevin Phelan, outgoing senior, North Florida
• Position at the U.S. Open: T-56; rounds of 71-77
• Third-round tee time, group: 2:29 p.m. (No. 11); playing with Nicholas Thompson and Matt Weibring
• How he made the U.S. Open: Was medalist at the Florida sectional, going 9 under for two rounds
• Final Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: No. 41
• Amateur accolades: Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year in 2009-10; first-team All-Atlantic Sun in last three seasons; 2013 Palmer Cup (European team).
• The skinny: This is Phelan's second appearance in the U.S. Open, also qualifying for Pebble Beach in 2010 as a 19-year-old. He missed the cut there. Also in 2010, he made the semifinals of the U.S. Public Links. Phelan will hold off turning pro after his standout UNF career in hopes of making the European Walker Cup squad.
• That's what he said: "Just put my attention on each shot. You have to focus on what you're doing (at Merion). It doesn't surprise me that hopefully (four) amateurs made the cut. It's great competition in Irish golf and college golf. We're all kind of sharp, as well. We've had a lot of competitive play on tough courses, not as tough as this, but still tough courses. I think that certainly helps to keep the eye sharp coming in here."