UNIVERSITY PLACE, WASH.--David Chung could get used to this winning thing.
Actually, from the looks of it he already has.
Having claimed the Porter Cup and Western Amateur titles in the last five weeks, the 20-year-old Stanford junior has continued his winning ways at Chambers Bay and the U.S. Amateur Championship. After a 4-and-3 second-round win over Skip Berkmeyer Thursday morning, Chung knocked of 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links champ Brad Benjamin, 2 and 1, in the third round.
While admitting to a certain level of confidence following his two major amateur triumphs, the Fayetteville, N.C., native says he tries to keep his mind focused on the present rather than reliving the past. "The experience is in the back of my mind," Chung said, "but I'm really just thinking about my opponent and the course I'm playing."
So what gives? Why the solid play? Chung points to the week he spent earlier in the summer with instructor Adam Schreiber in Michigan. The ability to work on his technique was something he didn't have the luxury to do while in school this past spring, when he played solidly but failed to win any tournaments, and in part explains the success he subsequently has had.
"I feel like I've been waiting to break through for a while and it's now starting to happen," he said. "I wasn't sure when it might kick in, and it did right away."
Chung will face Scott Langley, the NCAA champion from Illinois and a fellow U.S. Palmer Cup team member in their quarterfinal draw Friday. Langley defeated Australia's Ryan McCarthy, 6 and 4, in the third round.
After needing 19 holes to defeat his first two opponents, Langley was more than happy to make quick work of McCarthy, particularly considering the new challenge that presented itself at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. course Thursday: wind. Twenty mile per hour breezes off the Puget Sound, more than the exception than the rule ordinarily at Chambers Bay, offered even more to think about for the players as they tried to negotiate there way around the sinister course.
"The golf course changes dramatically, especially from yesterday to today," Langley said. "You had to think your way around and play smart and know your distance into the green in order to take advantage of the slopes around the green, to run the ball toward the hole. You had to hit it in a five-yard window. You had to be precise."
Said Chung: "It was probably the windiest golf I've played in all summer. It was a survival test out there."
One that he passed with flying colors.
When Max Homa, a 4-and-3 winner in the third round against__Harris English__, faces defending champion__Byeong-Hun An__ in their quarterfinal match Friday, it will be a clash of Golden Bears. Homa, 19, finished his freshman year at Cal last spring, playing in eight events during the season including the NCAA Championship. An, meanwhile is supposed to be starting classes as an incoming freshman this week.
"It's not good to have Cal against Cal in the quarters," An said after beating Scott Strohmeyer, 3 and 2, in the third round Thursday, running his match-play record at the U.S. Amateur to a impressive 9-0 mark. "I'd rather play with someone I don't know."
That said, the future teammates hadn't met each other until this morning.
The Homa/An match won't be the only quarterfinal tilt that pits golfers from the same school. Oklahoma State's Morgan Hoffmann beat Alex Ching, 4 and 2, in the third round and faces a fellow Cowboy after__Peter Uihlein__ defeated John Hahn in 19 holes Thursday afternoon.
Uihlein struggled with the windy conditions versus Hahn, the 2009 Western Amateur champion, never actually having a lead until Hahn made a double-bogey 6 on the first extra hole while Uihlein, on the green in regulation, was conceded a birdie for the victory.
"It will be fun," said Uihlein regarding facing Hoffmann, also a fellow U.S. Walker Cup teammate. "We never have played head-to-head before [in a tournament]. He's one of my best friends, but it won't be any different [than any other match]."
__8 a.m.--David Chung vs. Scott Langley
8:15 a.m.--Max Homa vs. Byeong-Hun An
8:30 a.m.--Patrick Cantlay vs. Jed Dirksen
8:45 a.m.--Morgan Hoffmann vs. Peter Uihlein