Brandon Wu, 22, of Scarsdale, N.Y., backed up an opening round of five-under-par 65 on Monday with a two-over 72 on Tuesday to virtually assure himself of earning medallist honours in the weather-delayed 119th US Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.
Wu, who helped Stanford University to the 2019 NCAA team championship in May, had flown overnight from Lima, Peru, to Pinehurst after helping the USA capture the mixed-team title in the Pan American Games on Sunday, along with fellow US Amateur competitor Stewart Hagestad. His Monday round of 65 broke the competitive course record on Course No.4 at Pinehurst, which reopened in 2018 after a renovation by course architect Gil Hanse.
On Tuesday morning on Pinehurst’s renowned Course No.2, which is playing more than three shots tougher by stroke average than No.4, Wu made 16 pars and two bogies to back up his Monday effort, which was accomplished without benefit of the practice rounds most other players had on Saturday and Sunday.
“Towards the back nine today was definitely tough, just because No.2 is such a mental grind, as well,” said Wu, who received his Stanford diploma in June, just after completing the US Open at Pebble Beach, where he tied for 35th place.
“Towards the back nine today was definitely tough, just because No.2 is such a mental grind, as well.” – Brandon Wu
“You’re trying to hit perfect shots on every hole just to maybe have a look at birdie, so that was kind of wearing down, and it was getting hot towards the end, too. Luckily I was able to finish it off, but I was definitely pretty tired.”
Wu’s three-under 137 total was one better than six players, all of whom completed their rounds. The second round of stroke play was delayed by 1 hour, 21 minutes in the late afternoon, which kept 50 players from finishing their rounds. The second round will resume on Wednesday morning at 7:20 a.m., with players jockeying for position to advance in the championship. A total of 66 players were at four over or better as those remaining players seek to lock in spots in the 64-player match play field. The closest player to Wu who had not completed play was Spencer Ralston, of Gainesville, Ga., at one over with two holes to play.
Among the six players to finish at two-under 138 is Ricky Castillo, 18, of Yorba Linda, Calif., a stroke-play co-medallist last month in the 2019 US Junior Amateur at Inverness, and Cooper Dossey, 21, of Austin, Texas, who won the North & South Amateur on Pinehurst No.2 in late June. The group also includes Jacob Solomon, 22, of Auburn, Ala.; Shiryu (Leo) Oyo, 20, of Japan; Tom Sloman, 23, of England; and Philip Barbaree, 22, of Shreveport, La., the 2015 US Junior Amateur champion.
Only 11 players completed 36 holes at even-par 140 or better.