Record Performance Leads to Medalist Honors for Wood
August 15, 2017 | PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.
By Pete Kowalski, USGA
Oklahoma State University junior Hayden Wood, of Edmond, Okla., broke the 36-hole stroke-play qualifying record with a total of 131 to earn medalist honors Tuesday in the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship.
Playing in his second U.S. Amateur, Wood posted a 3-under-par 67 that included four birdies and a bogey at Bel-Air Country Club, which followed his 6-under 64 at The Riviera Country Club in the first round on Monday.
The championship’s 36-hole stroke-play record had been 132, shared by Hank Kim in 1994, Gregor Main in 2011 and Bobby Wyatt in 2012.
“It feels good, with 312 guys it is awesome,” Wood said. “To play that way these last two days has been good. I like where my game is. I feel comfortable on this course (Riviera) and it fits my game. I am looking forward to it because the tournament starts tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Wood, 21, is the son of 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and PGA Tour Champions player Willie Wood.
“I've changed my course management,” said Wood, who was runner-up in the 2015 Southwestern Amateur. “It’s a lot more conservative. I felt like I've been playing well all summer, but sometimes I would get in my own way, and so I've changed my course management.
“I just switched to a new putter and my speed has been a lot better. I haven’t three-putted so far, and to do that at these two courses is a testament to some good speed.”
One of the players who shared the first-round lead with Wood, University of Oregon sophomore Norman Xiong, of San Diego, Calif., shot an even-par 70 at Bel-Air for a 36-hole total of 134, good for the No. 2 match-play seed behind Wood.
“It was fun,” said Xiong, 18, who won the Western Amateur two weeks ago. “I played some really solid golf. I did what I needed to do and got through to match play, which is the biggest goal.”
A trio of players finished 36 holes at 4-under 136, five strokes behind Wood: George Washington University junior Logan Lowe of Grass Valley, Calif.; Vanderbilt University senior Theo Humphrey of Greenwich, Conn.; and University of Alabama senior Lee Hodges of Ardmore, Tenn.
The other first-round co-leader, Mark Lawrence Jr., of Richmond Va., shot 73 at Riviera and finished at 137 along with Joaquin Niemann, of Chile, who is No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™.
Both courses played at par 70 for the championship. Riviera, the host site of the 1948 U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan, and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open, won by Hale Irwin, played at 7,272 yards. Bel-Air, which hosted the U.S. Amateur the last time it was played in Southern California in 1976, as well as the 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur, played at 6,757 yards.
Brad Dalke, of Norman, Okla., last year’s finalist to champion Curtis Luck, shot rounds of 75-77 to miss the match-play draw, along with 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, Calif., who missed the playoff by two strokes after rounds of 72-74.
There will be six rounds of match play, beginning on Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. The Round of 32 and the Round of 16 are scheduled on Thursday, while the quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 7:45 a.m. PDT.
A 13-for-8 playoff for the final match-play berths is set for 7:30 a.m. at Riviera. The playoff starts on the drivable par-4 10th hole, followed by holes 14 through 18 with No. 18 repeated as needed until the final spots are filled.