HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (Aug. 3, 2022) – William Mouw was only one hole into his second round at the 120th Western Amateur Championship on Wednesday when the weather horns sounded.

The 21-year-old from Chino, California, had just started his day with a bogey, but he wasn’t dwelling on that as he watched sheets of rain pummel Exmoor Country Club over a 90-minute delay.

“We don’t get that in California very much,” said Mouw, a rising senior at Pepperdine. “It was actually entertainment for me. I wasn’t really thinking about golf.”

When the storm cleared and the round resumed at 2:45 p.m., he provided the entertainment. Mouw went the rest of the day without a bogey, pouring in eight birdies – including his final four holes – to post a 7-under 64. He pumped his fist as his final putt on 18 caught the lip and fell, moving him to 8-under par and two shots ahead of second place after 36 holes of stroke play.

“Pretty cool to see a couple of putts drop,” Mouw said. “You don’t really think about what you’re doing. You just keep hitting golf shots and add them up at the end, and today was awesome.”

The cut came at 1-over par as the field was trimmed from 156 players to 54 on a wet, windy day in Highland Park. The remaining players will play 36 holes on Thursday to determine the Sweet 16 for match play, which begins Friday.

If Mouw, who won the 2017 Western Junior at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Illinois, makes the Sweet 16, he’ll be the first Western Junior champion to do so since Collin Morikawa in 2018. He’s also trying to become the first Western Junior champion to win the Western Amateur since Jhared Hack in 2007.

“I love the Chicago area,” he said. “I love the Western Golf Association, what they do, the people that support the organization. It’s (always) been the highlight of my year to play at the Western Junior and now at the Western Amateur.”

He’s not the only player enjoying his week outside of Chicago.

Tommy Kuhl, of Morton, Illinois, is one of four players tied for second at 6-under par after shooting round of 69 and 67. He chipped in for birdie on the 444-yard, par-4 16th to briefly reach 8 under before closing with a pair of bogeys.

The late stumble did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the 22-year-old, who recently completed his senior year at Illinois. Kuhl celebrated his first made cut in three appearances at the Western Amateur by signing autographs for an Illini fan.

“I’ve seen some orange and blue out here,” said Kuhl, who finished second at the Illinois State Amateur Championship last month. It’s definitely nice to be here in the home state and get some support.”

Also at 6-under par is Ross Steelman, 21, of Columbia, Missouri, who followed an opening 72 with a 7-under 64 that included an eagle on the 363-yard, par-4 seventh hole; first-round leader Kelly Chinn, 19, of Great Falls, Virginia, who steadied himself after three early bogeys to shoot 73 on Wednesday; and Ian Siebers, 20, of Bellevue, Washington, who has posted rounds of 69 and 67 this week.

Gordon Sargent, of Birmingham, Alabama, is tied for sixth at 5-under par. The 19-year-old rising sophomore at Vanderbilt finished second to Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen at the 2021 Western Amateur at Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, and won the individual NCAA championship earlier this year.

Five players are tied for eighth at 4 under, including Cole Sherwood, of Austin, Texas, who shot a solid 70 during difficult morning conditions when wind gusts neared 30 miles per hour.

“We got out early and it was still blowing 20 miles per hour on the first tee, but a managed it pretty well,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s easy to think playing in the wind makes it more difficult, but when you look at it, some holes play tougher and some play easier. I think on the tougher holes it’s just understanding par is a great score, and on the easier holes, take advantage.”

Thorbjornsen shot an even-par 71 on Wednesday and is tied for 18th. The 20-year-old from Wellesley, Massachusetts, is trying to become the first Western Amateur winner to repeat since Justin Leonard did it at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1992 and 1993.

For the full leaderboard, click here.

First played at Glen View Club in 1899, the Western Amateur is the world’s third-oldest amateur championship, behind only the British Amateur (1855) and the U.S. Amateur (1895). It regularly attracts the top players from across the country and around the world, with past champions like Jack Nicklaus, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods.

A grueling combination of stroke play and match play make the Western Amateur one of the most demanding events in golf. The field of 156 players compete in 72 holes of stroke play over three days to determine the Sweet 16 for match play.

The match play competition will be streamed live on GOLFChannel.com, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, with more than 12 hours of coverage over Friday, Aug. 5, and Saturday, Aug. 6. Powered by WGA proud partners Peter Millar and Titleist, the stream will be available on GOLFChannel.com and thewesternamateur.com, with replays streaming on Peacock and GolfPass.com.

Attendance and parking at the Western Amateur are free. For Thursday tee times, click here.