Top Aussies tee it up at gruelling US Amateur
The 116th US Amateur championship is currently underway at Oakland Hills Country Club with five Australians teeing up in arguably the toughest and most sort after trophy in amateur golf.
A field of 312 players will play 18 holes of stroke play from 15-16 August on each of the two qualifying courses, after which the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers. Six rounds of match play begin on 17th August and the championship concludes with a 36-hole championship match on 21 August.
Curtis Luck (Credit: Anthony Powter)
Curtis Luck, Cameron Davis, Min Woo Lee, Harrison Endycott and Karl Vilips will fly the Aussie flag against a truly international lineup of the world’s best with 29 countries being represented.
Luck, Davis and Endycott were recently named in the Australian team to attend the World Amateur championships later in the year and head into these championships with plenty of form.
Earlier this year Luck won the Western Australian Open and has the experience after playing a number of US Amateur championships, narrowly missing the matchplay section in 2015 at Atlanta in a playoff.
Endycott is fresh off a win at the Porter Cup and has won five times this season. Davis, the 2015 Australian Amateur champion, is a seasoned international player having competed in the world’s top amateur tournaments and will be looking to make his mark.
Lee recently accounted for the US Junior Amateur title in style becoming the first Australian to do so and with sister Minjee Lee, who won the 2012 US Girls’ Junior, they became the first brother-sister tandem to win USGA Junior championships.
Vilips at 14 years is the youngest competitor in the field, having qualified at Oakbourne Country Club in July.
The Aussies will face stiff opposition from the Americans, particularly with four of the five players who helped the University of Texas reach the championship match of the NCAA Division I Championship in June in the field. The Longhorn’s line up includes Doug Ghim, a semi-finalist in the 2013 US Junior Amateur, Gavin Hall the runner-up in the recent Porter Cup, Scottie Scheffler the 2013 US Junior Amateur champion and a 2016 US Open qualifier and Taylor Funk.
England’s Sam Horsfield, currently at the University of Florida, is another to follow and was the recipient of the 2016 Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman. Ranked No. 2 in the WAGR, Horsfield qualified for his second consecutive US Open in June and he recently was the Western Amateur stroke-play medallist by nine strokes. He reached the final during the match-play portion, only to go down to Dylan Meyer, 3&1.
Another player to watch is Will Zalatoris, who toured Australia last year playing in our highest ranked amateur tournament, the Australian Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne.
Zalatoris was the 2014 US Junior Amateur champion and last month won the Pacific Coast Amateur at Seattle Golf Club to add to the Trans-Mississippi Amateur at The Olympic Club. Zalatoris also advanced to the Round of 32 (2015) and the Round of 16 (2014) in the last two US Amateurs.