ERIN, Wis. – Max Buckley is entering his senior year at SMU, but he’s already decided he’s not going to play professional golf. He spent his summer interning at Oppenheimer Funds, not traveling the country to play in amateur events.
It’s a schedule that’s in stark contrast to those of Peter Uihlein and Patrick Cantlay, but it seems to have worked for the 21-year-old from Rye, N.Y. He’s advanced to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals, and will face Cantlay on Friday afternoon.
“I know I’m not going to a be golf pro, I know I’m going to be a lifelong amateur,” said Buckley, an economics major. “This has just been awesome. It’s pretty surreal. But I know on any given day I can match up to these guys.”
Buckley left his house at 5:45 each morning to take the 6 a.m. train from his home in Rye, N.Y. to Wall Street. He’d try to squeeze in some practice in the evenings, estimating he’d practice 2-3 hours during the week, then play golf during the weekends. That truncated schedule may have helped Buckley.
“My practice was more productive ...
After great matches in the Sweet 16, there are some interesting match ups to watch in the quarterfinals.
• Jordan Russell will face Peter Uihlein. The two players from the Big 12 conference are quite familiar with one another. In April, Uihlein played in the Aggie Invitational and won the tournament by five shots. Guess who finished runner-up, on his home golf couse? Texas A&M Aggie Jordan Russell.
• After defeating NCAA Champion John Peterson in 19 holes, Max Buckley will now have the tough challenge of facing the NCAA player of the year Patrick Cantlay. Last year, Cantlay was a semifinalst at the U.S. Amateur Championship where he lost to Peter Uihlein. The two could meet again, but Buckley has shown he has the game to compete. Before defeating Peterson, Buckley beat U.S. Walker Cup team member Chris Williams, 1 up.
• In the third quarterfinal match U.S. Walker Cup member Patrick Rodgers will face the winner of the Blake Biddle-Kelly Kraft match. Earlier this summer Rodgers won the Porter Cup and tied for second at the Players Amateur. If Rodgers were to win, he could potentially face another standout junior golfer he has rivaled the last few ...
ERIN, Wis. – Cory Whitsett employed his coach at Alabama, Jay Seawell, this week at the U.S. Amateur, and they attaboy’d and you-da-man’d their way through 19 holes Thursday, through moments both joyous and deflating, until Whitsett’s opponent, the third-ranked amateur in the world, rapped in a 5-footer for par and the win.
“I learned about him,” Seawell said of Whitsett, 19, “and he proved he’s as good as anybody in the country - no, he’s as good as anybody in the world.”
That’s not just coach-speak, either. Through 13 holes Thursday afternoon, Whitsett was 3 up on Tom Lewis - the first-round co-leader at this year’s Open Championship and the best international player in this field - and he let it slip away. A choked-up 3-wood on 15 that was hit thin. A blocked 2-iron on 15 that led to a few hacks out of the fescue. And then the devastating blow - a tee shot into the hazard on the first extra hole, and a lip-out for par.
“But the important thing,” Seawell said, “is that he got his confidence back.”
Indeed, that was in short supply last month at The Players Amateur. After watching ...
ERIN, Wis. – Many of those reaching match play in the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship at Erin Hills Golf Club are familiar names in the amateur golf world. Some, however, are not.
Bobby Leopold certainly would fall into the latter category. More than likely outside of the Rhode Island/Massachusetts area, the 26-year-old whose full-time day job is in the insurance business in Cranston, R.I., would be considered an unknown.
But that may be changing as Leopold now finds himself in Friday morning’s Sweet 16 round at the U.S. Am. More importantly, he sent some heavyweights tumbling on his road to the third round.
Coming back Thursday morning to complete his first-round match, Leopold, who gained the 64th and final spot in the match-play field in a 20-for-4 playoff the day before in stroke play, defeated qualifying medalist and three-time UCLA All-American Gregor Main, 2 and 1.
Coming back in the afternoon’s second round, Leopold scored a most impressive 4-and-3 victory over recent Georgia graduate Harris English, a 2011 U.S. Walker Cup selection and winner this summer of the Southern Amateur and Nationwide Tour’s Children’s Hospital Classic.
It won’t get any easier ...
Tomorrow U.S. Walker Cupper Peter Uihlein will face Walker Cup hopeful Scott Langley. After last year’s U.S. Amateur, it seemed that Langley was a guaranteed lock to make the team. However, since the national championship Langley has struggled.
At the NCAA Championship Langley shot rounds of 73-86-80 (+23) to finish tied for 129th at Karsten Creek. The year before, Langley won the national championship on The Honors Course with scores of 70-68-68 (-10).
This past year Langley did have a strong senior season. He posted six top 10’s on the year, but failed to win a tournament. His best finish during the college season was a T-2 finish at the D.A. Welbring Intercollegiate.
Fast forward to the summer. When it comes to making the Walker Cup team, the selection process is supposed to be based on a two-year window. It is fair to say that Langley’s summer couldn’t have gone worse leading up to the final decision on who makes trip to Scotland.
Since the NCAAs, Langley tied for 72nd at the Porter Cup, and 56th at the Western Amateur. He was not in the field at the Sunnehanna, nor did he play ...
ERIN, Wis. – It’s tough to argue that the Peter Uihlein-Dylan Frittelli match and the Patrick Cantlay-Russell Henley showdown aren’t deserving of most of the attention Thursday at the U.S. Amateur. But while these are waged, there is another match to put on the radar in Round 2.
Lee Bedford will face two-time U.S. Junior Championship winner Jordan Spieth. In the round of 64, Bedofrd easily defeated Will Collins, 6 and 5. Spieth, on the other hand, had a battle with Jade Scott, but was able to advance, 2 and 1.
Spieth, who will be a freshman this fall at Texas, is another candidate for a potential Walker Cup spot. With fellow junior golfer Patrick Rodgers on the team, there is some debate as to whether there is room for another “youngster” on the squad.
Bedford started the summer for runner-up honors at the Sunnehanna Amateur, tied for fourth at the Cardinal Amateur, was a quarterfinalist at the North & South Amateur and finished fourth at the Southeastern Amateur.
If Bedford could score a win over the highly regarded Jordan Spieth, then perhaps he may start to get a little more consideration. The winner of this match seemingly ...
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 ...
ERIN, Wis. – The second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur has a few matches where more is on the line than just advancing to the next round.
NCAA individual champion John Peterson will be facing Chattanooga senior Stephan Jaeger. Jaeger upset Walker Cup hopeful Blayne Barber, 3 and 2, in the first round.
With Barber, U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Corbin Mills and Andrew Yun falling in the first round, an opportunity has emerged for Peterson if he can continue to make a run. Peterson has not received a pick for the Walker Cup.
Chattanooga head coach Mark Guhne is Stephan Jaeger’s caddie this week, and according to Guhne, Jaeger is gaining more and more confidence each day.
“He’s realizing how good a player he really is,” Guhne said. “Playing John will be a great challenge, just like playing Blayne was.”
An interesting note? In April of this year, Jaeger and his fellow Mocs traveled to Baton Rouge for the LSU Invitational. Peterson tied for third on his home course, but Jaeger won the tournament by seven shots over Iowa’s Vince India and was eight shots better than ...
ERIN, Wis. – Coming into this week’s U.S. Amateur Championship at Erin Hills, Harris English already had his ticket stamped for a trip to Scotland next month as a member of the U.S. Walker Cup team. He was one of the first four players named to this year’s squad.
Andrew Yun, on the other hand, came into the event as one of many players hoping for one of the final three selections that would complete America’s 10-man team.
He knew it would take a good showing this week to keep those hopes alive. And when Yun drew English for his first-round match, he knew a victory would probably have made a big impression with USGA selectors.
But those hopes were dashed as English, a recent Georgia graduate, defeated Yun, a junior at Stanford, 3 and 1, to advance to the second round.
“He beat me fair and square,” said Yun, who was 4 under in the match. “That was one of the best matches I’ve ever played.”
Still, he knew his chances for a Walker Cup spot were fading.
“I’m probably on the outside looking in,” Yun said. “There ...
ERIN, Wis. – Most players at the U.S. Amateur dream of becoming PGA Tour players. Andrew Putnam has one on his bag.
Putnam’s older brother Michael is caddying this week. He’s sidelined from the Tour with a fractured wrist, so he’s helping Andrew with the largest week of his amateur career. Andrew, who completed his collegiate career at Pepperdine in June, has two goals this week: win and earn a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team.
The latter can be accomplished without the former, though a win would guarantee his inclusion on the U.S. squad that will play Great Britain & Ireland on Sept. 10-11 at Royal Aberdeen (Scotland) Golf Club. Putnam, who easily advanced to match play this week, is a leading candidate to earn one of the final three spots on the Walker Cup team, which will be named at week’s end. Michael Putnam played in the 2005 Walker Cup.
“It can only help in keeping me comfortable and confident on the course,” Andrew said of having his brother on the bag. There’s another benefit to having the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound Michael on the bag.
“His size ...
ERIN, Wis. – When the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship commenced Monday at Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf Club, the starting field of 312 players contained 41 mid-amateurs - those 25 years and older.
By Wednesday afternoon, after 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, only two of the 64 players on the match-play bracket were mid-amateurs.
The oldest was Patrick Christovich of New Orleans. The other mid-am was Bobby Leopold, 26, of Cranston, R.I.
Beau Hossler, 16, of Mission Viejo, Calif., was the youngest player advancing into match play.
The average age of the 64 was 20.7.
• • •
In spite of strong, windy conditions, a weather delay of nearly four hours Tuesday and a fog delay Wednesday, there was some impressive scoring in stroke-play qualifying.
Led by medalist Gregor Main, the field made a major assault on par over the 2 1/2 days it took to complete 36 holes.
Main shot rounds of 65-67 for a 10-under 132 total, and 58 other players broke par for the two rounds. Main tied the previous low 36-hole score of 132 (which was 12 under) shot by Hank Kim in 1994 at TPC Sawgrass (Stadium and Valley courses ...
The two semifinalists who advance out of the upper half of the U.S. Amateur bracket definitely can say they earned their spots in the Final Four. Consider the names that reside on this half of the 64-player bracket: medalist Gregor Main, Harris English, Andrew Yun, Peter Uihlein, Eugene Wong, Scott Langley, Blayne Barber, John Peterson, Chris Williams, Russell Henley, Patrick Cantlay, Cory Whitsett and Tom Lewis.
Consider these potential second-round matches:
• Gregor Main vs. Harris English/Andrew Yun
• Blayne Barber vs. John Peterson
• Russell Henley vs. Patrick Cantlay
• Cory Whitsett vs. Tom Lewis
Here’s a breakdown of this bracket by the numbers:
6: Competitors in the upcoming Walker Cup. English, Uihlein, Williams, Henley and Cantlay will represent the U.S., while Lewis will play for Great Britain & Ireland. Main, Yun, Barber and Peterson are among the leading competitors for the final three spots on the U.S. team.
5: Players who’ve made the cut in majors. Cantlay and Henley made the cut at this year’s U.S. Open. Uihlein and Lewis played the weekend at this year’s Open Championship. Henley and Langley tied for 16th at the 2010 U.S. Open.
4: First-team All-Americans - Cantlay ...
ERIN, Wis. – A popular item this week at the U.S. Amateur is the Erin Hills bucket hat. In fact, it was so popular, it sold out by Wednesday.
It’s been a while since a hat was this popular at a U.S. Amateur – you might have to go all the way back to Pumpkin Ridge in 1996, when Tiger Woods was shown on a local TV live shot wearing a black U.S. Amateur hat that he continued to wear every day as he mowed through the field and won his third U.S. Am title.
Woods turned pro the following week, but even today you can buy that hat at the Pumpkin Ridge pro shop.
ERIN, Wis. – Scott Langley needed to make a statement at the U.S. Amateur if he wanted to earn the Walker Cup spot that once seemed a certainty. He accomplished that by completing a 63 Wednesday at Blue Mound Country Club.
His 7-under round guarantees the recent Illinois grad will make match play. Langley finished the U.S. Amateur's stroke-play portion at 5-under 137 (74-63) and will finish in the top 10 when it concludes. He'll likely need to win a couple matches to make the Walker Cup team, but it's better than the alternative: missing the cut here would've likely marked the end of his amateur career.
After shooting 74 Monday at Erin Hills, Langley had eight birdies and a single bogey at the 6,667-yard, Seth Raynor-designed Blue Mound Country Club, which hosted the 1933 PGA Championship won by Gene Sarazen.
“This is a course kind of like the ones I grew up on in St. Louis,” Langley said. “It feels very much like home, and it’s in great shape.”
Langley played just 10 holes Tuesday because of a lengthy rain delay. He played those holes in 5 under. He completed his second ...
ERIN, Wis. – When the morning wave of players finally completed the weather-delayed second round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur at almost 5:30 p.m., three players topped the leaderboard at 7-under 135.
Two of those leaders are not unknowns in the world of amateur and junior golf.
Beau Hossler, with a 4-under 66 at Blue Mound Golf Club, and Blayne Barber, with a 3-under 69 at Erin Hills Golf Club, were not big surprises.
Hossler, just 16 years old and a junior in high school, competed in the 2009 U.S. Am, qualified this summer for the U.S. Open, was qualifying medalist at this year’s U.S. Junior and was a 2010 AJGA first-team All-American.
Barber was a second-team All-American last season as a junior at Auburn and has been mentioned throughout the year as a possible candidate for this year’s U.S. Walker Cup team.
Then there was Ben Geyer, a junior at St. Mary’s in California, whose resume hardly matched those of the other leaders. But after a most impressive 6-under 66, Geyer had guaranteed himself a spot in the 64-player match-play portion of the championship.
“I came in here ...
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