Tough going for Aussies at Western Am

The Australian causalities mounted during the second round of the Western Amateur in Chicago.

Eleven hopefuls teed up for the event, considered the most prestigious in the US and ranked behind that of the US Amateur, at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, north of Chicago.

Nathan Holman Nathan Holman (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Two Aussies, Nathan Holman and Todd Sinnott, have proceeded to the next stage.

Nathan Holman fired rounds of 70-73 for a 1-over-par total to be in a tie for 28th position, well inside the plus-2 cut mark.

Todd Sinnott continues with his fine run of form in the US and is equal with Holman after the former Victorian Junior champion fired rounds of 72-71 to be at 1-over-par for the tournament.

New Zealand’s Ben Campbell also qualified with rounds of 70-73 to finish along with his Aussie mates at 1-over.

American and Walker Cup hopeful, Chris Williams, closed the first 36 holes of the Western Amateur Championship with a three-stroke lead.

Williams is at 10-under-par after rounds of 66-66, with Jordan Spieth the nearest contender with rounds of 66-69. Overall Williams was pleased with his rounds.

“I guess if you’re going to have a lucky number as far as your golf score, 66 isn’t a bad one to have,” said Williams, who also won the Sahalee Players Championship this summer.

“The big thing out here is keeping it in the fairway,” remarked Williams, who missed only three during today’s round.

“I don’t hit it as long as most of the guys out here, but I hit it straight and that’s what you have to do this week, then take advantage of the opportunities and I’ve been able to do that.”

Williams, a junior at Washington, has already had an impressive season and is seeking Walker Cup selection. The 20-year-old knows a solid performance in Chicago will do his chances no harm towards being named in the remaining six slots up for grabs in the US team.

After earning second-team all-American honours, Williams began his season by winning the US Open qualifier with a 6-under 138 at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Washington. He’s supported that with a number of top-10 finishes in main amateur events this season.

The tough and brutal North Shore layout, which doesn’t have an intermediate rough whereby an errant tee or approach shot is severely punished, particularly challenged the Australians and this reflected in the scores.

Ryan McCarthy fired rounds of 73-74 to finish at 5-over-par, Matt Stieger opened with a 71 and was positioned well to progress to the next stage but damaged his chances with a second round 77 to eventually finish at 6-over-par, four from the cut mark. Stieger had been paired with Williams and US Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein.

Kalem Richardson shot rounds of 71-77 to be at 6-over-par in his final amateur tournament and immediately after announced his intentions to turn professional. The dual Tasmanian Amateur champion is set to base himself in the US and play the various feeder tours before turning to Tour school later in the year.

Brett Drewitt finished at 6-over-par with rounds of 77-71 and later remarked that he was feeling the effects of being on the road since June and needed to freshen up.

Drewitt’s focus will turn to Canada where he’s scheduled to play their national amateur championship in a fortnight in the hope of gaining entry to the Canadian Open, which is automatic to the winner of their national amateur title.

Rory Burke finished at 8-over-par with rounds of 75-75, Tim Hart fired rounds of 77-74 to be at 9-over-par, while Daniel Nisbet had rounds of 73-79 to finish in a tie for 116th. Nisbet had earlier in the month gained entry to the US Amateur championship after qualifying at one of the sectionals.

Two of our biggest names in amateur golf, Tarquin MacManus, winner of the Master of the Amateurs and Bryden Macpherson, reining British Amateur champion, exited the tournament with Macpherson firing rounds of 81-71 to finish at 10-over-par and MacManus scoring rounds of 77-76 to be at 11-over-par.

The low 44 scores and ties survived the initial cut and will play 36 holes tomorrow. The top 16 from there will advance to match play on Friday and Saturday.