Windred, Trent lead Aussie field at US Amateur

Blake Windred’s hopes in the US Amateur being contested at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club has gotten off to a flying start after opening with a 3-under-par 67 to be in a share of 4th position, two behind first round leader American Brandon Wu.

Windred, playing on Pinehurst’s No.4 course, sizzled home over the back nine with four birdies after completing the opening holes at 1-over.

Balke Windred Blake Windred (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Wu entered the US Amateur as the number 8 ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and has shown his dominance early. He qualified to play in the US Open at Pebble Beach in June going on to making the cut, being paired with Dustin Johnson in the final round and finishing tied for 35th.

He also owns the distinction of being the first amateur since 1967 to play both the US Open and The Open in the same year having qualified as medallist.

Of the top 50 players in the WAGA, 49 are competing. Yet an essential part of the US Amateur is not just the top-ranked players but those who survived 36 holes of sectional qualifying to earn their place in the field.

With 312 players, including six Australians, aiming for the desired top-64 spots that advance to the match play stage following the second round, Windred is well placed to challenge.

Jack Trent is another Aussie off to a flying start with a 2-under-par opening round to be in a share of 8th position and the best of the Aussies likely to advance to the championship proper.

Jordan Garner will need a solid second round to advance having opened with a 3-over-par 73 to be currently in a share of 103rd position. David Micheluzzi opened with a 5-over 75 to sit in a share of 152nd position, with Josh Armstrong a shot behind in a share of 179th.

Karl Vilips opened with a 7-over 77 and languishes in 204th place to round out the Australians.

For the first time in US Amateur history, the 36-hole final match will take place over two courses, Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4. Both courses will host one round of stroke play. The first five rounds of match play, through the semifinals will be held on No. 2.

The 2018 champion, Viktor Hovland, turned professional after this year’s US Open at Pebble Beach and is working his way toward the PGA Tour. Recent champions Bryson DeChambeau (2015) and Matt Fitzpatrick (2013) are now PGA Tour mainstays.

The US Amateur champion and runner-up earn exemptions into the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot, and for the first time, the champion won’t have to remain an amateur to take advantage of that opportunity.

Curtis Luck, Nick Flanagan and Walter Travis are the only Australians to win the US Amateur.