Brandon Wu, 22, of Scarsdale, N.Y., backed up an opening round of 5-under-par 65 on Monday with a 2-over 72 on Tuesday to virtually assure himself of earning medalist honors in the weather-delayed 119th U.S. 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 U.S. 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 3 shots tougher by stroke average than No. 4, Wumade 16 pars and two bogeys to back up his Monday effort, which wasaccomplished without benefit of the practice rounds most other players had onSaturday and Sunday.
“Towards the back nine today was definitely tough, justbecause No. 2 is such a mental grind, as well,” said Wu, who received hisStanford diploma in June, just after completing the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach,where he tied for 35th place. “You’re trying to hit perfect shots on every holejust to maybe have a look at birdie, so that was kind of wearing down, and itwas getting hot towards the end, too. Luckily I was able to finish it off, butI was definitely pretty tired.”
Wu’s 3-under 137 total was one better than six players,all of whom completed their rounds. The second round of stroke play was delayedby 1 hour, 21 minutes in the late afternoon, which kept 50 players fromfinishing their rounds. The second round will resume on Wednesday morning at7:20 a.m., with players jockeying for position to advance in the championship.A total of 66 players were at 4 over or better as those remaining players seekto lock in spots in the 64-player match play field. The closest player to Wuwho had not completed play was Spencer Ralston, of Gainesville, Ga., at 1 overwith two holes to play.
Among the six players to finish at 2-under 138 is Ricky Castillo, 18, of Yorba Linda, Calif., a stroke-play co-medalist last month in the 2019 U.S. 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 U.S. Junior Amateur champion.
Only 11 players completed 36 holes at even-par 140 or better.
Round 2 will be completed, beginning at 7:20 a.m. on Wednesday, with a possible playoff for the final match-play spots beginning after the completion of the round, from the first hole of Course No. 4. The Round of 64 is scheduled to begin on Course No. 2 at approximately 10 a.m.
Austin Greaser hits a shot on the fifth hole during the second round of stroke play at the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (Copyright USGA/Michael Reaves)
Karl Vilips,17, of Australia, who is competing in his third U.S. Amateur, improved by 12strokes from Monday to Tuesday, shooting a bogey-free, 5-under 65 on Course No.4 after a 7-over 77 on Monday. Vilips completed two rounds at 2-over 142 andeasily qualified for match play.
Pinehurst No. 2 is playing as one of the toughest coursesin recent U.S. Amateurs. The course, which is playing to 7,414 yards and a parof 70, is averaging more than 7 strokes over par at 77.04. That is just behindthree other courses since 2007: Chambers Bay in 2010 was 8.25 over par;Southern Hills in 2009 was 7.62 over par; and The Olympic Club in 2007 was 7.36over par. At 7,246 yards, Pinehurst No. 4 is playing to a 73.32 stroke average,nearly four strokes easier than No. 2.
Players walk to the ninth hole during the second round of stroke play at the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. (Copyright USGA/Michael Reaves)