Lone Aussie starts well at US Amateur
BY Anthony Powter | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2009 US Amateur Championship | Round Two | 26 Aug 2009
The lone Australian to qualify for this year’s US Amateur, Matt Smith, looks set to make the top-64 and progress to the match-play format following the second round of the US Amateur Championship being played at Southern Hills Country Club and Cedar Ridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Despite opening with a first round 78 at Southern Hills, Smith rebounded with a second round 1-under-par 69 this afternoon at Cedar Ridge to be at 7-over-par for the tournament.
Smith was a former member of the 2006 New South Wales State team, the Australia National and the Australian Institute of Sport squad before attending college at Texas Tech. He was awarded the 2006 Vardon Trophy for the top amateur golfer in New South Wales and secured three amateur tournaments in Australia, winning the Yowani Open Amateur, Australian Capital Territory Open and the Cromer Bowl before coming to the US.
Tim Jackson, a two-time USGA Mid-Amateur champion, shot a 2-under 68 on Monday to take the first round lead at the US Amateur and was holding onto a one stroke lead over Mark Anderson late into this afternoon’s second round.
Jackson, 50, made three birdies against one bogey at Southern Hills Country Club yesterday to take the overnight lead. He was the lone golfer in the field of 156 at Southern Hills to beat par, while four golfers managed to shoot 1-under-par at Cedar Ridge Country Club.
Jackson won the USGA Mid-Amateur in 1994 and 2001 and finished tied for 11th in his first US Senior Open earlier this year after leading at the halfway point.
Some of the pre-tournament favourites struggled during yesterday’s opening round with Canadian Matt Hill, who won the 2009 NCAA championship at North Carolina State, as well as seven other college tournaments and the Ontario Open, firing a 75 at Cedar Ridge.
The world’s top ranked amateur, Rickie Fowler remains in a strong position, firing a 71 at Cedar Ridge to be well inside the top-64. The field of 312 will be cut this evening to 64 for match play which runs Wednesday through Sunday at Southern Hills.
To win the US Amateur, firstly you must finish ahead of 311 other players after two rounds of stroke play and six matches, including a 36-hole final, on a long course with tight fairways, deep rough and quick greens. Southern Hills is playing brutal and the scores reflect this.
It’s a daunting task, in fact just qualifying for this championship is an achievement in itself.
Of the seven Australians who attempted, Smith was the only to survive, although Jason Scrivener went ever so close a week ago in Connecticut finishing the first alternative in his qualification round at Wampanoag Country Club. Tarquin MacManus was another who was unlucky narrowly missing in Tucson, Arizona, with only two qualification spots made available by the USGA at that sectional qualification.
The cut of the top-64 is projected to come in at 8-over-par which should see Smith safety through to the match-play stage.