U.S. AMATEUR
University of Washington sophomore cards 65 at CommonGround for 7-under 134 total August 13, 2012 By Pete Kowalski, USGA

Cheng Tsung Pan, of Chinese Taipei, a sophomore at the University of Washington, carded a 5-under 65 at CommonGround G.C. on Tuesday to take the clubhouse lead for medalist honors at the 2012 U.S. Amateur. (Chris Keane/USGA)

Cherry Hills Village, Colo. –Cheng Tsung Pan, 20, of Sammamish, Wash.,  posted a 5-under-par 65 at the par-70, 7,378-yard CommonGround Golf Course Tuesday to hold the clubhouse lead for medalist honors midway through the second day of stroke-play qualifying at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship.

Pan, a sophomore at the University of Washington who is originally from Chinese Taipei, made eight birdies against three bogeys at CommonGround in Aurora, the companion course for stroke play, for a 36-hole total of 7-under-par 134, which would tie for the second-lowest medalist score in U.S. Amateur history. Gregor Main (2011) and Hank Kim (1994) both share the 36-hole qualifying record at 132.

The 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship, with a field of 312 players, consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, which begins Wednesday at the par-71, 7,409-yard Cherry Hills Country Club. The championship is scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday, starting at 8:30 a.m. MDT.

The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

I'm hitting the ball great, driving well, said Pan, who earned first-team All-Pac 12 Conference as well as All-America honors in his freshman year at Washington in 2011-12. I am hitting my irons well and my long game is always good. I executed every shot well. I had a lot of birdie chances that I could really feel the speed right. I made many putts. I was trying to focus on every shot, trying to make birdies as many as I can.

Pan, currently No. 20 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was tied with first-round leader Bobby Wyatt of Mobile, Ala., who shot 7-under-par 64 at Cherry Hills Monday and was one of 156 players with an afternoon starting time.

I feel good about these two rounds, said Pan, a quarterfinalist at the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur at age 15. It gives me confidence going into match play. My goal is to win the tournament. Higher seeds always have an advantage.

Zac Blair, 21, of Ogden, Utah, followed a 65 at CommonGround with an even-par 71 at Cherry Hills to trail Pan by two strokes at 5-under 136.

Jordan Spieth, 19, of Dallas, the low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open and a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, shot 2-under 69 at Cherry Hills for a total of 3-under 138. He was joined at that 138 total by Oliver Goss, 18, of Australia, who shot 4-under-par 66 at CommonGround Tuesday.

Pete Kowalski is the director of championship communications for the USGA. Email him at pkowalski@usga.org.