Northfield, Ill. (Aug. 2, 2018) … Medalist honors weren’t on the mind of Cole Hammer, of Houston, when he woke up for the final 36 holes of stroke play at the Western Amateur on Thursday.
But after a course-record, 10-under 61 in the third round at Sunset Ridge Country Club, he started giving it serious thought.
Hammer, a freshman at Texas, followed the bogey-free round with a 67 in the afternoon and ended up tying for first place with recently graduated Oklahoma State golfer Sam Stevens, of Wichita, Kansas, with a tournament-record total of 261 (23 under).
Both players advanced to the Sweet 16 – the match-play portion of the Western Amateur – for the first time.
The former stroke-play record was set by Aron Price in 2004 at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, when he posted 265.
After starting with a par on No. 1, Hammer birdied five of his next six holes and added five more birdies on the second nine to finish with a personal-best round. He closed out the day by carding four birdies on his final six holes.
“Leading into the 36-hole day, I just wanted to make the Sweet 16,” Hammer said. “To be 10 under took a little pressure off and gave me a little bit of an ability to be aggressive.”
Stevens, who will turn professional this fall, was steady all day. He earned a share of medalist honors by rolling in a 50-foot putt on his 36th hole.
“I was just trying to two-putt it,” said Stevens, a veteran of three Western Amateurs. “I hit it a little too hard, and it broke right in there. Definitely not expecting to make that one.”
In making the Sweet 16 for the first time, Hammer and Stevens join golf luminaries such as Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
Players with Oklahoma ties who made the first cut but did not advance to match play include Austin Eckroat of Edmond and University of Oklahoma teammates Blaine Hale and Quade Cummins.
Follow live scoring of the match play here.
View complete results from the stroke play portion here.