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Weaver holds 2-up lead midway through U.S. Amateur final

By Ryan Herrington

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo.—Michael Weaver
didn't get off to the same break-neck start he did during Saturday's semifinal, held a 3-up lead after five holes. But once he got rolling, the 21-year-old redshirt junior at California looked poised as he finished the morning 18 of the 112th U.S. Amateur with a 2-up lead on Steven Fox.

The Fresno, Calif., native bogeyed the first two holes to give Fox, a 21-year-old senior at Chattanooga, a quick 2-up lead. A birdie on the third hole, after hitting his drive over the green on the 328-yard par 4, settled his nerves and gave him the tee. By the fifth hole, he had squared the match.

Weaver then took the lead on the seventh hole with a par, and nearly aced the par-3 eighth, playing at 267 yards. For the morning, he hit nine fairways and 12 greens in regulation, shooting the equivalent of one over par with match play concessions.

Weaver's lead grew to 3 up on the 16th hole, but a bogey on the 17th after hitting his second shot in the water caused him to conceded Fox his birdie on the par-5 hole.

Weaver could have gotten the lead back to 3 up on the 18th, when he stood over a four-foot par putt after Fox had already made bogey on the hole. But he his putt lipped out, the groan from the crowd setting the mood for the break.

After hitting the three of the first four fairways and all four greens in regulation, Fox hit only three more of each the rest of the morning round. He made six bogeys and had just the one conceded birdie on the 17th hole. His ordinarily reliable short game kept him going most of the morning, although he failed to get up and down for par from a greenside bunker on No. 15 and flubbed two chips near the green on the 16th.

Needless to say, both golfers will hope to steady things up when the afternoon round begins at 12:30 p.m. MDT.
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