Erin, Wis. – Blake Biddle, 19, of St. Charles, Ill., and Gregor Main, 22, of Danville, Calif., both shot 5-under-par rounds Monday and shared the lead at the halfway point of the first round of stroke play at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship.
Biddle, a sophomore at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, fired a bogey-free 67 at the par-72, 7,760-yard Erin Hills course, while Main, a three-time All-American at UCLA, shot a 5-under-par 65 at the par-70, 6,622-yard Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Wauwatosa.
Biddle, who traveled to the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club as an alternate but did not get called to the field, birdied four of his first nine holes.
“I’ll take it,” Biddle said, who is playing in his first U.S. Amateur. “It was a good day. The course was really long, although some guys might not think so. I hit a lot of 6-, 5- or 4-irons and a couple of hybrids into par 4s. If you hit it well, you can score. It was kind of an easy round, believe it or not. Today was one of those days to keep it under my belt and keep myself in it and shoot par or better and obviously I did that.”
Main, the runner-up at the 2010 Western Amateur, was the 2009 Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year.
“It was fun,” Main said. “I hit it really well. It was probably the best round I’ve had all summer. I started out one over through three holes and after that, made a bunch of birdies. I birdied four and then eagled five, so that was good, the eagle. Then I birdied nine, so I just got it going.
“I felt like the course was out there for the taking today, because the conditions were pretty benign. There was not too much wind. The greens were perfect, so you could get it going.”
Defending champion Peter Uihlein, 21, of Orlando, Fla., posted a 4-under-par 68 at Erin Hills to lead a group of five players who trail the leaders by one stroke.
“I felt free on the tee and I was relaxed out there,” said Uihlein, who will represent the USA on his second Walker Cup Team in two weeks in Scotland. “I made a couple of really greasy pars, which I probably never should have but I missed a couple of easy birdie putts too.”
USA Walker Cup teammates Russell Henley, 22, of Macon, Ga., and Patrick Rodgers, 19, of Avon, Ind., were joined by Jonathan Garrick, 17, of Atherton, Calif., in shooting rounds of 66 at Blue Mound and Justin Thomas, 18, of Goshen, Ky., the runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, shot 68 at Erin Hills.