David Micheluzzi – the leading ranked Australasian
Six Australians and one New Zealander will tee it up in the 36-hole qualifying phase of the US Amateur Championship beginning at Pinehurst No 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina this evening Australian time.
Following on from the outstanding performance of Gabi Ruffels to win the US Women’s Amateur Championship in Mississippi last week, Australasian hopes have been raised as they search for their 4th win in the event with Nick Flanagan, Danny Lee and Curtis Luck previous winners from this part of the world.
Victoria’s David Micheluzzi leads the Australasians in terms of world standing, currently in 3rd place in the world amateur ranking followed by Blake Windred at # 11 and New Zealander Daniel Hillier at # 26.
That trio will be joined by Karl Vilips, Jordan Garner, Josh Armstrong and Jack Trent.
Micheluzzi was 3rd at the recent Amateur Championship at Portmarnock and is considered a special talent having finished 5th at last year’s Australian Open behind Abraham Ancer.
Windred was recently runner-up at the Pacific Coast Amateur in New Mexico and finished 3rd at the PGA Tour of Australasia’s 2018 NSW Open.
Hillier is a two-time NZ Amateur Champion and in June of this year played his way into the field for the US Open at Pebble Beach where, despite missing the cut, performed with distinction.
Pinehurst # 2 has proven a happy hunting ground for New Zealanders with both Danny Lee and Michael Campbell winning their respective US Amateur and US Open titles.
The stroke-play phase of the contest involves 312 players teeing it up over both the Pinehurst #2 and #4 layouts in the hope of securing a place in the leading 64 who will advance to the match-play.
Sunday’s 36 hole final is to be played over both courses.
Consider this however. Of those 312 who have made it this far they form part of an initial entry list of 7,191 with handicaps of 2.4 or better
Just to have made it into the field therefore is an achievement in itself, never mind making it beyond the stroke-play phase.
Pinehurst # 2 – the 16th hole courtesy of USGA
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