5 Things: Raymond, Watt co-medal at U.S. Am

Neil Raymond (left) and Brady Watt finished tied for U.S. Amateur medalist honors at 6 under.

BROOKLINE, Mass. – Englishman Neil Raymond and Australian Brady Watt will share medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur, with both players going 6 under during stroke play.

Raymond fired back-to-back 67s, while Watt shot a 4-under 66 on Tuesday at Charles River Country Club to support his 2-under 68 on Monday at The Country Club.

Raymond and Watt both earned their way into the championship via their World Amateur Golf Ranking. Raymond is No. 27 in WAGR, and Watt is No. 9. The top 50 players in the WAGR are exempt based on their standing as of June 26.

Raymond’s round could have been a lot lower. He lipped out for birdie on four holes and also missed short birdie putts on Nos. 6 and 17.

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Stroke play final results

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He made birdie at the par-4 seventh, which he was delighted about, as he thought that hole played the toughest in the second round.

Though, he admits he made one mistake in his round -- choosing to lay up at the par-5, 562-yard 17th. Thinking it was the smart play, he ended up missing the green on his short approach shot and it landed on a sidehill lie.

“I was frustrated a bit, but it was one mistake so I can’t grumble too much,” Raymond said.

After winning the St. Andrews Links Trophy in June, U.S. Amateur co-medalist is just another honor to add to Raymond’s superb resume.

“It would be a great way to end my amateur career at an individual event,” Raymond said. “Fingers are still crossed about getting selected for the GB&I team (for Walker Cup), … so to end with a couple solid performances, in arguably one of the toughest tests of golf the USGA can offer at another fantastic venue, obviously it means a lot.”

Watt has been in the U.S. since late June with the rest of the Australian National Team.

In the last few weeks, Watt has played in six events. His best finish came at the Porter Cup (third), but he’s looking forward to the start of match play on Wednesday.

"I love match play,” Watt said. “The key will be to strike the ball well. But that's the secret in playing golf. If you don't strike the ball well, you are not going to play well.”

Watt had a very good 2012. He recorded four victories and seven runner-up finishes. He began his 2013 campaign with a runner-up finish at the Australian Master of the Amateurs.

"I think it's cool I am the co-medalist,” Watt added. “It is quite an accolade.”

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2. TEAM USA’S STRUGGLES: Four of the five already-chosen Walker Cuppers -- Justin Thomas, Max Homa, Michael Kim and Cory Whitsett -- missed the cut for match play at the U.S. Amateur. The fifth, Patrick Rodgers, will participate in the playoff on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. to get into match play.

“It’s a lot of pressure, too, being a Walker Cupper and coming to a USGA event, you’re supposed to do well, so once things start going south it’s hard to turn things around,” Homa said.

Whitsett was the closest to making the cut. He sat at a 4 over through his first eight holes at The Country Club on Tuesday until he made three bogeys and a birdie on Nos. 9-18 for a 4-over 74. He missed the cut by two.

Thomas shot 75-72 for a 7-over 147 total, Kim fired rounds of 81-73 and Homa fired rounds of 78-71.They will take the rest of the week off.

“I don’t think it’s a sign that none of us are qualified because I think we still have a pretty strong team,” Homa added. “It’s not the end of the world.

“This may make us a little more hungry for this Walker Cup. I know everyone’s looking forward to it.”

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3. ”I BROKE 80:” Michael Kim finally broke 80 at Charles River Country Club on Tuesday. Kim shot a 3-over 73 during the second round after an opening-round 81 on Monday at The Country Club for a 14-over total.

His troubles started on the back nine of the Western Amateur at The Alotian Club in Roland, Ark. First he lost control of his driver, then it translated over into his iron play and then his putting wasn’t any help either.

“I fixed it (my swing) a little bit today,” said Kim. “I hit my driver fairly OK. So I’ll take a positive from that.”

There was no added pressure for Kim as he is already one of five players already chosen to play for the U.S. team at the Walker Cup in September.

Kim, a junior at California, played all 14 events during his sophomore season, and has not had a break since.

Two days after Cal was eliminated in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship, Kim qualified for the U.S. Open, where he ended up being low amateur. From there he played in the Northeast Amateur.

Since he won the Haskins Award -- the most outstanding collegiate golfer -- Kim was exempt into the Greenbrier Classic. He then played at the U.S. Amateur Public Links where he finished as the runner-up.

“Maybe a little bit of exhaustion,” he said. He went through a little swing issue last summer, too, after his freshman year.

There’s no rest for the wicked. Next Wednesday, Kim will head to New York with his nine Walker Cup teammates for a practice session and some team bonding. In between, he’ll get some much needed practice in and a little R&R.

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4. DEFENDING CHAMP BOWS OUT EARLY: 2012 U.S. Amateur champion Steve Fox was well inside the cut line after his front nine (the back nine) at Charles River Country Club on Tuesday. He was 2 under on the day, and after taming The Country Club yesterday with a 2-over 72, Fox was on his way to defending his championship.

It was on 508-yard, par-5 second that changed Fox's round -- a hole in which he was putting for eagle.

From 5 feet, Fox drilled his putt 12 feet past the hole. He missed his birdie putt coming back – setting for a three-putt – and a five.

Over the next seven holes, Fox went 6 over to go out in 41 to settle for a 4-over 74.

He made two pars, four bogeys and a double. He missed the cut by a single shot.

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5. MID-AMATEURS, ANYONE?: The decision was made back in January by the USGA that Team USA’s Walker Cup Team will include two mid-amateurs.

The four mid-ams that were really being heavily considered were Nathan Smith, Todd White, Mike McCoy and Scott Harvey.

Smith, McCoy and Harvey (White did not qualify for the Am) missed the cut after stroke play.

Smith, a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and two-time Walker Cup player (2009, 2011), shot 75-75. McCoy shot a 7-over 147 total and Harvey was at 11 over.

Randal Lewis, the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, also missed the cut.

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