The 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links field has now been whittled down from 156 players to 64 for the match-play portion of the championship that begins today. But before we delve into the remaining players, let's review what happened the last two days at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Weather certainly made a difference in the scoring. On Monday, when gusty winds and rain greeted the players at Bandon Trails, the scoring average was 78.5 and just one player broke par (Devon Purser). With the winds virtually non-existent on Tuesday at Old Macdonald, the players pounced on the benign conditions and lowered the scoring average by 2.5 strokes. Fifteen players broke par, led by Corbin Mills' 4-under-par 67, which earned the Clemson junior and Easley, S.C., native medalist honors at 3-under 138.
So it is clearly safe to say that wind is the biggest defense for the courses at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. It also helped that overnight rains softened the greens just enough to help scoring.
Now we are on to the match-play portion of the competition and we have some excellent storylines.
The oldest player remaining is 38-year-old Scott Kammann of Baneberry, Tenn., who was a semifinalist in the APL 17 years ago.
Peter Kyo Won Koo of Korea, at 15, is the youngest competitor by 12 over reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y. Liu was born Aug. 9, 1995 and Koo Aug. 21 of the same year.
The average age of the match-play field is 21.25 or a little less than two years younger than the average age of the entire 156-player field.
Besides Kammann, four other mid-amateurs (25 and older) qualified for the final 64. They are Herbie Aikens, 29, of Pembroke, Mass., T.J. Shuart, 28, of Coral Springs, Fla., Daniel Falcucci, 28, of Worcester, Mass., and Brodie Hullinger, 26, of Vivian, S.D.
John Peterson of Fort Worth, Texas, who won this year's NCAA Division I individual title, also advanced. He is hoping to play on the USA Walker Cup Team in September.
Harold Varner III, 20, of Gastonia, N.C., would like to join William Wright as the second African-American to win the APL. In 1959, Wright, a Seattle native, became the first African-American USGA champion.
For the local angle, you have all three players from the University of Oregon in the match-play field: Andrew Vijarro of Bend, Ore., Daniel Miernicki of Santee, Calif., and Sean Maekawa of Paauilo, Hawaii. The University of Washington advanced two of its three players: Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho, and Canadian Charlie Hughes. Incidentally, Hughes won the Bandon Dunes Championship, a college event hosted by Gonzaga University, in March on Bandon Dunes and Williams, a 2010 APL quarterfinalist and 2011 U.S. Open qualifier, finished second.
Two Penn State golfers have also advanced in Anthony Degol of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and T.J. Howe of Osceola, Fla.
We also have two players named J.J. in the field: J.J. Holen of Castaic, Calif., and J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles.
And if you are looking for the Cinderella story, how about Kevin Rei of Chico, Calif., who is spending his second summer on the Oregon coast working as a Bandon Dunes caddie. You don't think he has a little local knowledge of the courses here.
Let the fun begin. -- David Shefter