Horsfield maintains lead at 2016 Western Amateur

By MATT HARNESS/WGA

LAKE FOREST, Illinois (Aug. 3, 2016) —  It was a much different day for Sam Horsfield on Wednesday at Knollwood Club, but the native of Manchester, England, remains the leader at the Western Amateur.

After shooting a bogey-free, course-record 63 in the first round Tuesday, Horsfield slipped to a 4-over 75 on the tournament’s second day. Nevertheless, he’s one stroke clear of five players.

“I didn’t hit it as good,” said Horsfield, a sophomore at Florida. “The greens got a little firm. … Some of the greens you could barely hold them. ... It’s the same for everybody.”

Horsfield is on target for his goal of qualifying for match play. The field will be cut to the low 16 players after Thursday’s 36 holes of stroke play. Horsfield made the Sweet 16 a year ago at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

“I just want to get as far away from 16th place as possible,” he said. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter if I’m first, as long as I make it to match play. Anything can happen in match play.”

A total of 53 players survived the first 36-hole cut of 3-over par, including Harrison Endycott, of Sydney, Australia, and Doug Ghim, of Arlington Heights. Both players are in the top 10 of the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking. Ghim is tied for second at 3 under after shooting an even-par 71 in the second round.

Also in the group at 3 under is Todd Mitchell, of Bloomington, Illinois. The 38-year-old is trying to become the first mid-amateur to make the Sweet 16 since Nathan Smith did it in 2009 at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest.

Mitchell rebounded from a rough start that included three bogeys on his first four holes to post a 1-under 70 during the afternoon, which once again yielded few low scores. Mitchell closed out his round by making a 15-footer for par on No. 18.

“It’s an absolute grind out there,” he said. “The greens are exceptionally fast, the pins are difficult, and it’s difficult to stop the ball around the hole.”

Only 11 players in the 156-player field broke par over the first two days. Players inside the top 10 of the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking who missed the cut included Will Zalatoris, of Plano, Texas; Collin Morikawa, of La Canada Flintridge, California; Sean Crocker, of Westlake Village, California; and KK Limbhasut, of Loma Linda, California.

Two players shot 11 strokes better than their opening rounds to advance to Thursday. Max McGreevy, of Edmond, Oklahoma, shot a second-round-best 66, and Cameron Champ, of Sacramento, California, bounced back to post a 67 on Wednesday.

Patrick Martin, of Birmingham, Alabama, was another player who needed a low score to survive the first cut. He got just that with his 4-under 67.

“[Tuesday, it was about] getting acclimated to being in competition again,” said Martin, a sophomore at Vanderbilt who last played July 11 at the Players Amateur. “[I made] a couple of mistakes, and if you do that out here, you’re going to make scores you don’t want to make. You are going to make bogey pretty quick. I was a little off [Tuesday], and I made bogeys I shouldn’t have.”