Playoff blues see Kulacz out of US Amateur
BY Anthony Powter | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2007 US Amateur Championship | Round Two | 23 Aug 2007
Rick Kulacz has bowed out of the US Amateur Championship after a 17 player playoff for the six final match play positions in the Championship proper.
The cut finished at 7 over par and among those in the playoff were 2004 US Mid-Amateur champion Austin Eaton and Raymond Floyd Jr, the son of PGA and Champions Tour player Ray Floyd.
American Jason Kokrak, 22, earned medalist honours after the conclusion of the stroke play format at the Olympic Club was finally determined after extensive delays due to the weather across the previous two days.
The long-hitting Kokrak, who qualified for the US Open in June, played a bogey-free second round Tuesday on the way to a 2 under-par 68 for a 36 hole total of 3 under 137. He finished a stroke better than Americans Alex Prugh and David Merkow, 22, a quarterfinalist from last year’s Amateur.
Starting early in this morning’s playoff, Kulacz strategy was simple, to be aggressive and try and post a score early knowing it was sudden death.
“I ended up being in a 17 way playoff for six spots this morning,” remarked Kulacz following an evening of not knowing where he stood.
“The opening playoff hole was the 1st on the Ocean layout, a 498 yard Par 4 and I took the aggressive line up the left, but pulled it a bit into the rough and had to hack out.”
It would prove a costly error for Kulacz.
“My wedge shot went long and I then had to chip in to stay in it but unfortunately didn’t.”
“I think 8 out of the 17 were able to par the first hole, so they went onto the next. For me it was over.”
For Kulacz the last few weeks, especially in winning the Scratch Players Championship, have revealed that his game is evolving the way he wants it to, leaving the view that he’s content with what he’s achieved this tour, which included a win as well as a quarter-final finish at the British Amateur.
“I’m not that disappointed with this week, but as I said I really would have liked to have made some putts and I will definitely be working harder on that in the future.”
“I’m going to the Scotty Cameron studio on Monday to get some new putters that will be nice as it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Kulacz is then set to return to Australia to play the Interstate Series commencing 17 September in Tasmania.
“I’m back to Australia on the night of the 27th August and looking forward to getting home, not that I miss playing. The experience has been great and it’s been great to catch up with mates over here and see what life’s like on tour.”
“I now intend to focus on the Interstate Series and the Nomura Cup for the present and take some rest.”
For Kulacz, today’s results brings an end to a three month overseas campaign that commenced with the St Andrews Links Trophy in Scotland in June and which has seen the Western Australian travel extensively throughout America. He’s bagged a major American title, that alone is a fantastic achievement and we are sure to be hearing about more of him, especially when those new “Scotty Cameron” putters get into gear.