U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR
Round of 32: Five to Watch
July 21, 2016 | Ooltewah, Tenn.
By David Shefter, USGA
Thirty-two golfers remain in the 69th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at The Honors Course. And for those who can advance from Thursday morning’s Round of 32, it will be a grueling marathon day of golf under stifling weather conditions, with the mercury once again expected to reach the mid- to upper-90s. Of the 16 Thursday morning matches, here are five to keep an eye on:
Noah Goodwin vs. Norman Xiong (8 a.m. EDT)
Goodwin, 16, of Corinth, Texas, is No. 35 in the WAGR, which makes him the second-highest-ranked golfer remaining. A year ago, he lost in the Round of 16 in the U.S. Junior and Round of 64 in the U.S. Amateur. Goodwin, who plans to attend Southern Methodist University in 2018, registered eight birdies and didn’t lose a hole in his 6-and-5 victory in the Round of 64. He faces Xiong, 17, of Canyon Lake, Calif., who is planning to graduate in December from Temescal Canyon High and enroll at the University of Oregon for the spring semester. Xiong, No. 116 in the WAGR, defeated James Song, of Canada, 5 and 4, in the Round of 64. Xiong also has made 25 career holes-in-one, including an ace in last year’s Polo Junior Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Cole Hammer vs. Joey Moore (8:20 a.m.)
Hammer, 16, of Houston, Texas, began the championship by tying the course record – it was broken 20 minutes later by fellow Houston native Travis Vick – with a 65 and then earning a Round-of-64 victory over Fisher Vollendorf, 2 and 1. Last year, Hammer, a month after qualifying for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, lost in this round. Moore, 16, of Billings, Mont., is competing in his first USGA championship and is not among the 6,598 golfers in the WAGR. Hammer is No. 210 in the WAGR. Moore advanced on Wednesday with a 2-up win over Jonathan Cachon.
Eugene Hong vs. Davis Shore (8:50 a.m.)
This is a matchup of golfers both inside the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR). Shore, 17, of Knoxville, Tenn., is the third-highest-rated golfer in the field at No. 42, while Hong, 16, of Sanford, Fla., a semifinalist in 2015, is No. 81. Hong cruised into the Round of 32 with a 5-and-4 victory over his future University of Florida teammate, Manuel Girona, of Spain. Shore, the last of the three Tennessee players remaining, had to fight off Wells Padgett, of Wichita, Kan., in the Round of 64, earning a 1-up victory when he made a winning par on the 18th hole. Shore has announced his plans to play at the University of Alabama in 2017.
Paul Chaplet vs. Frankie Capan (9:40 a.m.)
Chaplet, 17, of Costa Rica, has enjoyed quite a 2016, winning the Latin America Amateur Championship in January, which earned him an invitation to the Masters in April. Chaplet also competed in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open and final qualifying for The Open Championship, as well as earning starts in the U.S. Junior and next month’s U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club. He opened match play on Wednesday with a 4-and-3 win over Sampson-Yunhe Zheng. Capan, 16, of North Oaks, Minn., posted a 3-and-2 win over fellow Midwesterner Hunter Eichhorn, of Carney, Mich. In May, Capan and partner Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong advanced to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club, losing in 19 holes. Wong also has advanced to the Round of 32 in this year’s U.S. Junior.
Kyle Robinson vs. Brandon Gillis (9:50 a.m.)
Robinson, 16, of Fayetteville, Ark., is one of two golfers (Brent Ito) from the 13-for-7 playoff on Wednesday to advance to the Round of 32. Both of Robinson’s parents were Division I tennis players. His father, Simon, competed for the University of Arkansas, the same school his sisters Reagan (volleyball) and Rylee (pole vaulter) both attend, and where Kyle has announced his intentions to play golf starting in 2017. Robinson took out sixth-seeded Noah Norton, 1 up, in the Round of 64. Gillis, 17, of Nashua, N.H., has announced his plans to play at Wake Forest in 2017. He defeated Brendan Gonzalez, 6 and 5, in the Round of 64. The last New Hampshire resident to win a USGA championship was Austin Eaton III in the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur, the year before that championship was contested at The Honors Course.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.