Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge is tied for the lead at 9-under while fellow Cowboys Talor Gooch and Ian Davis as well as Arkansas’ Taylor Moore will all advance to the third and fourth rounds in the Western Amateur at The Alotian near Little Rock, Ark. The event is one of the nation’s premier amateur tournaments and features the top five-ranked amateurs in the world as well as most of the top 40. Live scoring is available here.
ROLAND, Ark. (Wednesday, July 31)– Georgia Tech lefty Seth Reeves continued to share the lead on the second day of the 111th Western Amateur at The Alotian Club, but with a difference: the players with whom he shared it.
After shooting a 2-under 70 on Wednesday afternoon, Reeves found himself at 9-under par and tied atop the leaderboard with No. 5-ranked Patrick Rodgers and recent U.S. Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge, who hasn’t missed a fairway in 36 holes.
The winner of the Southeastern Amateur earlier this summer, Reeves started his day by shooting 4-under par on The Alotian Club’s back nine – his first nine – but his putter went cold, and he shot 2-over on his second nine.
“I could have had a low one, but it’s golf, and golf’s hard sometimes,” Reeves said. “Sometimes it’ll humble you. So, I’ll just be happy and get excited about the good golf I’ve played.”
Niebrugge, a Wisconsin native and sophomore at Oklahoma State, lamented his inability to convert several short putts in spite of his extraordinary ball-striking.
“If I hit the ball like this every day, it’s going to be hard to shoot a bad score,” Niebrugge said. “I couldn’t have hit the ball any better. I’ve hit 36 straight greens.
“It’s just me hitting bad putts, and uncertainty. The greens are tough to read.”
Rodgers cited the strength of his mental game for being able to follow up his first-round 67 with a solid 4-under 68.
“The last two days I’ve done a really good job mentally,” Rodgers said. “I made just two bogeys the first two days, so I think that’s a testament to playing smart and controlling my golf ball well.”
Like his fellow players, Rodgers heaped praise on the course, the tournament and the playing conditions.
“The greens are so good you feel you can make everything,” Rodgers said. “Even yesterday (Tuesday), I was so impressed, with 130 people having walked in front of me during my last nine holes, how great the greens were. It’s just in such impeccable condition. It’s just a blast to play out there.”
A former Western Junior champion, Rodgers said he would love to win this week’s championship, noting “there’s a long way to go.”
“This is one of the majors of amateur golf,” said the native of suburban Indianapolis and junior at Stanford. “To be able to come to this place, such a pristine venue, such an awesome golf course, it would be awesome to win.
“Just gotta play six more good rounds,” he said with a smile.
Michael Weaver recorded his second solid round with a 3-under 69 and is tied at 7-under for the tournament with four other players, including top-30 players Michael Miller (29) and Sean Dale (17).
Two teenagers also are at 7-under – 15-year-old David Snyder and 17-year-old Robby Shelton IV, the nation’s No. 1-ranked junior player, who will join the Alabama juggernaut as a freshman next month.
Snyder, of McAllen, Texas, is qualified for the U.S. Amateur and barely missed qualifying for the U.S. Open in June when he lost in a playoff to a prominent golf professional. Shelton recently finished second at the Alabama State Amateur.
Snyder explained his round of 6-under 66 this way: “Yesterday, I played solid (71) and didn’t make as many birdie putts. Today, they went in, which is really nice.”
Thunderstorms before and during the round delayed the proceedings twice. Morning thunderstorms delayed morning tee times an hour, until 8 a.m. The afternoon rounds went off on time, but saw a one-hour 17-minute rain delay starting at 5:03 after which the clouds baptized The Alotian’s hallowed grounds. Play resumed at 6:20 p.m.
Play was suspended for darkness at 8:03 with 30 players on the course (10 groups of three). They will complete their second rounds starting at 8 a.m. after which the field will be cut to the low 44 and ties.
The third round of stroke play will begin at approximately 10:30 a.m.