Early look at Round 1 of U.S. Amateur
SAN FRANCISCO--We have a match-play field here at the 107th U.S. Amateur. Well, sort of. The first round has commenced on the Lake course at Olympic Club although the final six members of the field of 64 are still being determined as a 17-for-6 playoff is also in progress.
For the most complete list of matches, go to the USGA's webpage.
A quick take at some of the more intriguing first-round showdowns:
10:10 a.m. PDT—Joseph Bramlett vs. Chris Kirk
Bramlett, a sophomore-to-be at Stanford, is a junior member here at Olympic, living about an hour away in Saratoga, Calif. He was a second-team All-American on the Cardinal team that won the NCAA title last June and says he played a few times a week here in the last month to prepare for the event. He couldn't have gotten a tougher draw than Kirk, who was picked for the U.S. Walker Cup team earlier this month after posting back-to-back first-team All-American seasons at Georgia. This match is one you'd expect to see in the semifinals, not in Round 1.
10:40 a.m. PDT—Webb Simpson vs. Michael Thompson
A face off between to first-team All-American caliber college players. Simpson enters his senior year at Wake Forest having won the Azalea, Dogwood and Southern Amateurs this summer, securing his spot on Buddy Marucci's Walker Cup roster. Thompson posted top-five finishes at the NCAA Championship and at the Players Amateur. After transferring from Tulane a year ago, the Tucson native is the No. 1 man on the Alabama roster as he begins his senior season.
1:30 p.m. PDT—George Zahringer vs. Gary Wolstenholme
A battle of the ages, so to speak, as Zahringer (age 54) and Wolstenholme (age 47) are oldest and third-oldest players remaining in the championship, respectively. Zahringer was the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open and is a former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, while Wolstenholme, a two-time British Amateur champion, celebrated his 47th birthday yesterday. Interesting site: with players unsure just how the draw would shake out this morning, all were milling around the club. After Wolstenholme learned of his tee time, he proceeded to find a seat near the fireplace in one of the first-floor main rooms, put on a sleeping mask and is currently taking a nap.
Note:__ Of the eight U.S. Walker Cup team members set to play at Royal County Down next month, only two failed to make it to match play: Jonathan Moore and Trip Kuehne.
Of the three perceived front-runners for the final two spots on the team,Rickie Fowler,Kyle Stanley and Brian Harman, Stanley has advanced while Fowler was bounced from the playoff after the first hole and Harman missed the cut entirely. Also on to match play is__Drew Weaver__, the reigning British Amateur champion who plays at Virginia Tech.