Kelly Chinn made more history on Tuesday en route to earning medallist honours in the 73rd US Junior Amateur Championship at The Country Club of North Carolina.
Chinn, 18, of Great Falls, Virginia, who opened with a course-record, eight-under-par 64 on the Dogwood Course, shot a three-under 68 on the 7,164-yard, par-71 Cardinal Course, the second stroke-play venue for the championship.
This is the first year the US Junior Amateur has utilised two courses for stroke play to accommodate the expanded field of 264 competitors, up from the traditional 156.
In matching the championship 36-hole scoring record of 132, the incoming Duke University freshman also joined World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Tiger Woods, Willie Wood and Jim Liu as a multiple medallist. The other three own Junior Amateur titles – in Woods’ case three of them – something Chinn is hoping to accomplish by winning six matches over the next four days.
James Vargas (2001) and Austin Eckroat (2017), a member of the victorious 2021 USA Walker Cup Team, shared the stroke-play record of 132 in the Junior Amateur.
Three years ago, as the medallist at Baltusrol Golf Club, Chinn lost in the Round of 32. Two years ago at Inverness Club, he fell in the semifinals. The championship was not conducted in 2020 due to COVID-19.
In May, Chinn and David Ford were the medalists in the US Amateur Four-Ball at Chambers Bay before falling in the quarterfinals to eventual champions Kiko Francisco Coelho and Eduardo Herrera III.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Chinn of matching a feat by Woods. “Just putting your name next to anyone that special is incredible. I was able to do that for the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) Rolex Player of the Year [Award], but to do it in a USGA [championship] is awesome.
“I played some really great golf the past two days. My game feels great and I actually [executed] a lot of shots that I wanted to hit. I didn’t put too much stress on myself.” – Kelly Chinn
“I played some really great golf the past two days. My game feels great and I actually [executed] a lot of shots that I wanted to hit. I didn’t put too much stress on myself.”
Chinn’s lone blemishes on Tuesday were bogeys on the 439-yard, par-4 18th hole, his eighth of the round (he started on No.11), and the 188-yard, par-3 7th. The No.41 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking®/WAGR® more than made up for the hiccups with birdies on Nos. 13, 15, 17, 2 and 3.
For the second consecutive day, a player shot 64 on the 7,140-yard, par-72 Dogwood Course. Andrew Goodman, 18, of Norman, Okla., who has signed to play at the University of Oklahoma where his father is an electrical engineering professor, registered six birdies and an eagle in matching Chinn’s competitive course record from Monday. It also equaled the third-lowest 18-hole round in US Junior Amateur history. Goodman, who opened with an even-par 71 on the Cardinal Course, had a chance to shoot 63 but saw his 18-foot birdie try on the par-5 18th hole just slide past the hole.
Earlier this year, Goodman fired a 58 during a high school event on a 6,700-yard course. His eight-under 135 total earned him the No.2 seed for match play.
“Today is as about as much fun as I can have playing golf,” said Goodman. “This is about as good as I have ever played.”
Ford, 18, of Peachtree Corners, Ga., who is headed to the University of North Carolina this fall, posted a three-under 69 on Dogwood for a 36-hole total of 136 to garner the No.3 seed. The left-hander will be joined in match play by his twin brother, Maxwell. Maxwell, a University of Georgia signee, shot a six-under 66 on Dogwood for a two-day total of 138.
Three players finished at six-under 137: Caleb Surratt, 17, of Indian Trail, N.C., last week’s winner of the PGA Junior Championship; Rylan Shim, 16, of Centreville, Va., and former Punt, Pass & Kick national finalist Nicholas Dunlap, 17, of Huntsville, Ala.
Top image: USGA/Chris Keane.