Near-Record Performance Nets Furr Medalist Honors at Bandon
August 11, 2020 | Bandon, Ore.
By David Shefter, USGA
Wilson Furr was so focused on hitting quality golf shots that he didn’t realize just how well he was playing Tuesday in the 120th U.S. Amateur Championship. By the time he signed his scorecard at stroke-play co-host Bandon Trails, the 22-year-old from Jackson, Miss., had produced a round for the ages.
Furr, a rising senior at the University of Alabama, carded a 9-under-par 62 in breezy conditions to earn medalist honors by two strokes over James Piot.
The 62 matched the second-lowest 18-hole score in U.S. Amateur history – Jeff Wilson also shot 62 in 2011 at The Home Course in Dupont, Wash. It also eclipsed by two shots the Bandon Trails competitive course mark that had been set 24 hours earlier by Aman Gupta, and matched earlier on Tuesday by Charles “Ollie” Osborne.
Billy Horschel owns the U.S. Amateur and USGA 18-hole scoring record of 60, which he produced in Round 1 of the 2006 championship at the Chaska (Minn.) Town Course.
Furr registered 11 birdies against a pair of bogeys to give him a 36-hole total of 11-under 132. That was one stroke off the 36-hole championship record established by Hayden Wood in 2017 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., tying Furr with three others, including fellow University of Alabama golfer Bobby Wyatt (2012).
“I mean, until you told me all that, it didn’t really hit me, to be honest with you,” said Furr, who is competing in his eighth USGA championship and fourth U.S. Amateur. “We were just trying to run our game plan all day, and I just started hitting it close and a couple putts went in, and then kind of looked up and we were 7 under through 12. Like I said, it happened real fast, so I don’t know what to say really.”
For the second consecutive day, competitors were greeted with bright sunshine and mild winds (7-14 miles an hour) that gradually increased into the low- to mid-20s.
Furr and Piot didn’t seem fazed.
Furr, who qualified for match play for the first time in his four attempts in the U.S. Amateur, registered four consecutive birdies from No. 7. All of the putts were inside 10 feet, and on the par-4 10th, he knocked his wedge approach from 148 yards to a foot. After a par on 11, Furr collected three more birdies in a row. After a disappointing bogey on the par-3 17th when his ball plugged in a bunker, Furr rebounded with a 14-foot birdie on the closing hole.
At that point, it appeared Furr might run away from the field. But Piot, 21, of Canton, Mich., a rising senior at Michigan State, closed the gap with a 7-under 65 at Bandon Dunes that included a pair of eagles on Nos. 9 and 13, and consecutive birdies on 17 and 18. It was the best round of the day on the layout that will host all of the matches beginning on Wednesday.
“At the beginning of the week I was sending off texts to all my buddies at home, saying, ‘You know what, [the] cut is going to be 6, 7 over,’” said Piot, who is playing in his first U.S. Amateur. “With this wind and how it was looking [during] practice rounds, [I told myself] I’m going to try to score the best I can this week, and I got a fortunate draw with the weather situation. Today was kind of dead out there on the Dunes course, which I was really surprised about, because like I said, the practice round was nasty. I just took full advantage of it.”
Ben Shipp, of North Carolina State, finished birdie-eagle at Bandon Dunes for a 5-under 67 and earned the No. 3 seed at 8-under 135. Baylor University redshirt junior Travis McInroe, of Plano, Texas, followed a first-round 65 at Bandon Dunes with an even-par 71 at Bandon Trails to finish at 136, four strokes behind Furr.
First-round co-leaders McClure Meissner, 21, of San Antonio, Texas, and Aman Gupta, 21, of Concord, N.C., were unable to match their Monday brilliance, when they posted 64s. However, both had little difficulty qualifying for match play. Meissner, who won last month’s Southern Amateur in a playoff, shot a 3-over 75 at Bandon Trails for a total of 5-under 138. Gupta, a last-minute addition when world No. 2 Ricky Castillo withdrew on Friday, posted a 1-over 73 at Bandon Dunes to finish at 137, along with 17-year-old David Ford, of Peachtree Corners, Ga.
Match play begins with the Round of 64 on Wednesday. The first match will start at 9:15 a.m. PDT. NBC’s new free streaming service, Peacock, will carry the first hour of the live broadcast from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT, with Golf Channel picking up the final two hours. Match play continues the rest of the week through Sunday’s 36-hole championship match.
- The cut for match play came at 2-over-par 145, with an 18-for-3 playoff for the final spots in the draw scheduled for 7:15 a.m. PDT Wednesday at Bandon Dunes. The playoff is scheduled to start on the par-4 10th hole and continue, if necessary, to the par-4 11th and then to the par-3 12th.
- The average qualifying score to get into the 64-player match-play bracket in the U.S. Amateur over the last 15 years is 145.2.
- Notables to qualify for match play include 2019 U.S. Amateur runner-up John Augenstein, 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Stewart Hagestad, 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Scott Harvey, 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Michael Thorbjornsen and 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin O’Connell. Hagestad’s 6-under 66 at Bandon Dunes matched the second-lowest score of the day on the course.
- Andy Ogletree became the first defending champion to miss the cut since Stephen Fox in 2013 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. The 2020 Georgia Tech graduate shot 3-over 146.
- Three other reigning USGA champions also failed to qualify. U.S. Junior Amateur champion Preston Summerhays had a disastrous triple-bogey 8 on the 18th at Bandon Dunes to miss by two. U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Lukas Michel came up three strokes short, and U.S. Senior Amateur champion Bob Royak posted 157.
- It also was a disappointing week for several top players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® and notable champions. Cole Hammer, the 2019 McCormack Medal winner who was on the victorious 2019 USA Walker Cup Team, failed to advance along with fellow 2019 Walker Cup Team member John Pak, 2020 Western Amateur champion Pierceson Coody, two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion Yuxin Lin, and 2019 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team member Alex Fitzpatrick, the younger brother of 2013 U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick.
- Scott Harvey, of Kernersville, N.C., certainly has an affinity for Bandon Dunes. The 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion won last year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title at the resort with partner Todd Mitchell (albeit on different courses) and then shot a 5-under 67 on Tuesday at Bandon Dunes to qualify for match play. This is Harvey’s first competitive event since last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur at Colorado Golf Club in September.
- Harvey was one of five mid-amateurs (25 and older) to qualify for match play. He was joined by Hagestad, O’Connell, 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur quarterfinalist Andres Schonbaum and Derek Busby.
- Charles “Ollie” Osborne, of Reno, Nev., had quite the turnaround, carding a 7-under 64 at Bandon Trails after an opening-round 77 at Bandon Dunes. The 64 included six consecutive birdies from No. 5 and 10 birdies in all. The Southern Methodist University rising junior advanced to match play at 2-under 141.
- Osborne was one of 14 players to improve his second-round score by 10 or more strokes. Cameron Sisk (79-66) got into the playoff, but the other 12 failed to advance. Thomas Hutchison, of San Jose, Calif., had the day’s biggest improvement at 14 shots (82-68).
- Four players who got into the field as alternates advanced: Gupta, Hugo Townsend, Carson Lundell and Jonathan Yaun.
- Mason Anderson, of Mesa, Ariz., withdrew before Tuesday’s second round at Bandon Dunes with an undisclosed injury. The Arizona State standout had opened with an 80.
“That’s super cool. I’ve never been to match play before in the U.S. Am, so super excited about that. That was my big goal coming into the day.” – Wilson Furr on being medalist
“We've played in borderline snow where it's starting to come down just for fun or qualifying like that. We've gotten rain where it's puddling on the green, had it called because of that. But low 30s. I've played in freezing weather where the ball is bouncing like concrete off of it. I've played in it all, to be honest with you. Whatever tomorrow brings, I'm fully prepared for it, no excuses, so I'm looking forward to it.” – James Piot, a Michigander, on playing in adverse conditions
“Honestly, I didn't play that bad yesterday, and I kind of turned on the back nine, and on 11 I think the wind was blowing easily 35 into [my face], and that's how it stayed on the back nine. I actually played good golf and liked how I was swinging, so I came out here and did the same thing. [Bandon Trails] is in the trees and then the wind was down this morning, so happy to take advantage of it, and the putter was rolling, too.” – Charles “Ollie” Osborne on his turnaround from 77 at Bandon Dunes to course-record-tying 64 at Bandon Trails
“I hit pretty much every shot to like 10, 15 feet and the putts started dropping, and then I hit a couple close ones. I actually just burned the edge for eagle on 9 (par 5), and then those 10-footers just kept dropping.” – Osborne on registering six consecutive birdies from No. 5
“I mean, obviously it would have been nice to medal. The goal at the end of the day was to try to win the overall [portion of stroke play]. I mean, I still needed to get to match play; the real tournament starts now.” – Aman Gupta after he followed a first-round 64 at Bandon Trails with a 1-over 73 at Bandon Dunes for a 36-hole total of 137
“I came out here and had no expectations, and honestly just had no idea how I was going to react to just being [in competitive mode], but I guess golf is golf, right? And I've got some good vibes around this place. Just kind of kept feeding off those memories... Honestly, I would have been … thrilled with even par because this course is hard.” – Scott Harvey after his 5-under 67 at Bandon Dunes qualified him for match play in his first competitive event in 11 months
“I think these first two days, you're just trying to take care of business. You're not trying to do anything special. You're trying to eliminate high numbers. You just want to hit it in the fairway, hit it on the greens and keep having looks, and if you do that, you're going to be fine. I felt like my game was in a good spot coming into this week. I love this golf course. That helps.” – 2019 runner-up John Augenstein on clearing the first hurdle and qualifying for match play
“I'm playing great. These two courses are very demanding on flighting your shots and knowing your numbers. I felt great out there the first two days. When I got my tee time before the championship, I was a little hesitant with the wind, but played the practice rounds, got a good familiarity with the course and the wind, and I just played really good.” – Clay Feagler after posting 4-under 139 in stroke play
“Yeah, a long time coming. I feel like I'm a good enough player to play in the events, [I] just couldn't get through qualifying. With everything that happened [with the pandemic], I had the resume and the ranking to be here, so I just took all the appropriate steps, regulations, to make sure that I was in the field this year because I’m definitely excited. I was very anxious to kind of get going.” – Hunter Wolcott on making match play in his first U.S. Amateur, following in the footsteps of his father (Bob) and older brother (Ben) who previously competed in this championship
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Social Scene
Attleboro's Davis Chatfield with a -2 69 at Bandon Trails to finish #USAmateur qualifying at +1 144. Currently T53 and in great position to at least get into a playoff for a spot in the 64-player match play bracket. @FeehanAthletics @NDMensGolf— Keith Pearson (@keith_pearson) August 11, 2020
.@LSUMensGolf’s Trey Winstead shot 89 and finished dead last at the Cabo Collegiate in March as he battled an elbow injury.— Brentley Romine (@BrentleyGC) August 11, 2020
This summer he’s made match play at the North and South, Western Amateur and now the #USAmateur.