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47-Year-Old Goes Low in U.S. Amateur
Jeff Wilson carded the second-lowest score in the history of the U.S. Amateur Monday, firing a 10-under 62 on the Home Course to take a remarkable seven-stroke lead after the first round of medal play.
The 47-year-old from Fairfield, Calif., carded two eagles, seven birdies and a bogey on the par-72, 7,420-yard Home Course - one of two courses used the first two days during the stroke-play portion of the championship.
Wilson came within two shots of the all-time record round - a 12-under 60 by Bill Horschel in the 2006 U.S. Amateur at Chaska Town, Minn.
Nine players posted 3-under scores, with only one of those - a 68 by Patrick Reed of Augusta, Ga. - coming on the par-71 Chambers Bay, host site of the championship.
"I'm still trying to figure what the heck happened," said Wilson, who started on the 10th hole. "I made all the putts I should have and the putts I probably shouldn't have," added the three-time medalist in the U.S. Mid-Amateur and medalist in the 2008 U.S. Amateur. He's also a four-time qualifier for the U.S. Open, finishing as the low amateur in 2000.
Wilson went out in 2-under 33 and then fired a 7-under 29 on his back nine. "I had a 33 at the turn then all of a sudden on the back nine I starting hitting right where I was looking," said Wilson, who runs a car dealership. "Then the eagle-eagle doesn't hurt anything."
Among the players at 3-under 69 was Nick Taylor, a University of Washington All-American and this year's Ben Hogan Award winner as the nation's top collegiate golfer. The Abbotsford, B.C., native, who posted his score on the Home Course, knows things will be different when he - and the other half of the field - plays Chambers Bay Tuesday.
"Anything can happen," Taylor said. "(Chambers Bay is) playing so tough. You have to hit a lot of good drives. There are big fairways but you've got to hit the fairways to give yourself a chance."
Tied for second with Reed and Taylor are Richard Werenski of South Hadley, Ma., Max Homa from Valencia, Calif., Daniel Berger Jupiter, Fla., John Duke Hudson of Sonora, Texas, Harris English or Athens, Ga., Michael Morrison of Roswell, N.M., and John Hahn of Las Vegas.
Defending champion Byeong-Hun An is among a foursome at 2-under; the 18-year-old South Korean and freshman-to-be at Cal posted his score on the Home Course where he started on No. 10. The only player to shoot 2-under on Chambers Bay was Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind.
An, who was crowned the youngest champion in the championship's history last year at Southern Hills, competed this year in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open and five PGA Tour events. He had an up-and-down day with six birdies and four bogeys. "On the back (nine) I was just scrambling everywhere," An said. "I made a lot of putts for par. I'm really happy with a 70 and with my putter today."
For complete results of the first round, visit http://www.usga.org/ChampEventScore.aspx?id=17179869326&year=2010&type=stroke.
At the conclusion of 36 holes, the 64 low scores will advance to the match-play portion of the event, which starts Wednesday at Chambers Bay. The two finalists will play in the 36-hole championship match Sunday.