The Country Club at Brookline has not been hospitable to international players over the years, from Francis Ouimet’s victory in the 1913 U.S. Open to the 1999 Ryder Cup, but the tide seems to be changing at this year’s U.S. Amateur.
As the tournament moves into the Round of 32, 14 international players still remain, including the top six seeds, all of whom won their first round matches. The fifth seed Matt Fitzpatrick continued his strong summer as the British Boys Amateur champion and silver medal winner at the Open Championship (low am) moved into the second round with ease.
Co-medalist Neil Raymond, on the other hand, had a harder time, with the Englishman surviving 1 Up in a mid-amateur battle with American Jason Anthony.
With Anthony’s loss, no American mid-amateur player remains in the tournament as both he and Andrew Price were knocked out in the first round. With two guaranteed mid-am spots on the Walker Cup team this increases the likelihood that Nathan Smith (OK, that’s a lock) and Todd White will be the two selections.
As for other American hopefuls (Read: not Mid-Ams, so under the age of 25) for the Walker Cup team, it was an up-and-down day. On the positive side, Brandon Hagy won on the 19th hole to stay in the Amateur and keep alive at least an outside shot at being a pick. Bobby Wyatt, was also a winner 4 & 3 over Rico Hoey. As he tries to rebound from a slow summer, Wyatt is now in prime position to make a case for the Walker Cup team.
On the other hand, Michael Weaver lost a tough match to Greg Eason 3 & 2, as he was unable to get any part of his game really going. The summer’s hottest player, Jordan Neibrugge, saw his run come to an end with a 1 Up loss to Seth Reeves. And Sean Dale saw his longshot bid to make the Walker Cup team probably come to an end with a 3 & 2 loss to Patrick Rodgers (the lone remaining player already named to the Walker Cup team in the field).
As to Rodgers, the highest-ranked American left in the field (by the Amateur rankings) has so far survived what was an interesting start to the week. During the stroke-play portion of the event, his group received a penalty shot for slow play, he lost a ball in a tree, made a triple bogey and ended up having to make a 30-footer merely to advance to this morning’s 17-for-15 playoff. A bogey on the 14th hole (the first hole of the playoff) saw him safely through and hopeful of making a good run he rest of the week.
Play resumes tomorrow morning as both the Round of 32 and the Round of 16 are scheduled for completion.
One early morning featured pairing will see Patrick Rodgers against Greg Eason; in another Bobby Wyatt will look to continue his run against incoming Texas freshman Gavin Hall.