Blake Windred today – courtesy of USGA Michael Reaves
Three Australians have advanced to the leading 64 players to qualify for the match-play phase of the US Amateur Championship at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst North Carolina, NSW’s Blake Windred the best of them when he finished in a share of 12th place at 1 over par.
Fifty of the 312 players in the field are yet to finish their rounds after darkness forced abandonment of play, an hour-long weather delay earlier forcing the stroke-play into overtime on Wednesday morning US time.
Their performance could potentially add to the Australasian contingent through to next phase of amateur golf’s finest male amateur championship but New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier and Australians Jordan Garner and David Micheluzzi will need a near miracle to advance.
Playing on the more demanding Pinehurst # 2 layout on day two, Windred recorded a round of 74 to go with his opening 67 at Pinehurst # 4 yesterday.
US-based Perth golfer, Karl Vilips, rebounded from his opening 77 at Pinehurst # 2 yesterday with a round of 65 today, the equal best of the week thus far, catapulting the 17-year old up the leaderboard and into a share of 18th place.
Karl Vilips today – courtesy of USGA Chris Keane
Also through is Brisbane golfer, Jack Trent, now studying at the University of Nevada who, despite a second round of 76 today, is currently in 46th place and assured a place in the final field.
“Yeah, it feels good,” said Windred. “It’s a little bit of a relief. It’s just a tough course, isn’t it, so you don’t know — you can never be comfortable out there, I feel.
“I hit a lot of good shots today, so that was a good sign. But yeah, the course really held up pretty tough. But no, I am very happy to go through.”
New Zealander Daniel Hillier is currently in 67th place as is Sydney’s Jordan Garner and their fate will be determined by how the balance of the field finish their rounds on Wednesday.
Even if they were to squeeze into the top 64 their chances of making the field for the match play is likely to be determined by a playoff, that appearing their only hope now.
David Micheluzzi, Australia’s leading ranked player and the third-ranked amateur in the world, is currently in 92nd place with just one hole to play after being stranded by darkness and he will need a birdie at the last and help from others if he is to have any chance.
Josh Armstrong was the other Australian in the field but he finished well back.