PEBBLE BEACH, CA – Juniors Sam Goldenring and Will Kannegieser opened play today at the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship in a field of 312 vying to be the top 64 golfers after 36 holes of stroke play.
Sam Goldenring playing Spyglass Hill shot a two over par 74, while Will Kannegieser had an up and down round at Pebble Beach and carded a seven over par 78.
Forty-four of the 312 golfers played par or better golf on the day. Daniel Hillier from New Zealand who played with Will Kannegieser is tied for the lead having shot a four under 67 at Pebble Beach. Hillier is tied with American Trevor Phillips at four under par. Phillips' four under 68 came at Spyglass Hill.
The famed Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course are serving as co-hosts for the 36 holes of stroke-play that will narrow the field down to – 64 competitors who will then compete in match play on the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The 64 best players after stroke play will advance to match play rounds over the next four days. All matches before the championship match will be 18 holes, while the championship match will be contested over 36 holes.
Sixty-one players in this year's field qualified for the championship through exemption and 43 of those players are ranked among the top 50 players in the world. The international players in the field represent 24 countries. Qualifying exemptions are given to players who performed well at last year's championship or have won the championship in the last 10 years. This is a big time event with a world-class field.
All matches except the championship final will be 18-hole competitions. The championship match is contested over 36 holes and will be played at Pebble Beach.
The Pebble Beach Golf Links is 7,070 yards with a par of 71, while the yardage at Spyglass Hill measures 6,993 yards and has a par of 72.
The Brothers Goldenring: Jake '15 (left)
Sam Goldenring was the first Eph to tee off when he began his round at 9:25 a.m. PST on the 10th tee at the Spyglass Hill course. Playing with Goldenring was Americans Brandon Dalinka and Ryan Burnett.
Will Kannegieser began his U.S. Amateur experience on the first tee on the Pebble Beach course. Kannegieser played with American Sam O'Dell and New Zealander Daniel Hillier (ranked 27th in the world
Goldenring started off his round with 10 straight pars at Spyglass Hill, before recording a double bogey six on the par four 11th hole. He came right back to notch his 11th par of the day on the par three 12th hole. Goldenring moved to three over par after he recorded pars on his 13th and 14th holes, but bogeyed his 15th hole.
Goldenring closed out his round with three more pars and his birdie on his 16th hole, a par five, left him at two over par (74) on the day. "Today was a very solid day," noted Goldenring. 'I didn't have my best stuff ball striking-wise but was able to grind out a good score. I relied on my long putting and bunker game a lot."
Goldenring was one of 29 players to shoot two over on the day and he is tied for 74th place.
Sam Goldenring post-round was putting on the practice green and drained a 20-footer and noticed that golf legend Jack Nicklaus who was walking, by gave him a smile, a wink, and pointed at him.
Nicklaus' son Gary is playing in the championship and he finished at six over par on the day. The 14th hole at the Ephs' home course The Taconic Golf Club is the site of Jack Nicklaus' first hole-in-one.
Will Kannegieser started his round at Pebble Beach from the first tee and with a bogey five. On the next six holes Kannegieser notched pars, but he bogeyed eight and nine to finish the front nine with a three over par 38.
On the back nine Kannegieser opened with a birdie on the par four 492-yard 10th hole. After notching a par on 11, Kannegieser bogeyed the par three 12th hole to move back to three over par.
After a par on the 13th hole, Kannegieser struggled on the par 5, 581-yard 14th hole carding a double bogey seven, which moved him to five over par. Kannegieser bogeyed both the 17th and 18th holes to finish at seven over on the day with a 78.
Kannegieser is tied for 236th place. Despite an uneven round Kannegieser is excited to comepte again tomorrow. "I wasn't really that upset with today," he said. "I had a lot of fun with my playing partners. They were both great guys and we enjoyed pretty nice weather for Pebble Beach in August. I fought hard all day and was glad I could share the moment with friends and family. And lucky for me, I get to do it again tomorrow!"
Eph head caoch Josh Hillman was on hand for today's play. "Both Sam and Will fought hard today," stated Hillman. "They both had some great shots and managed the course the best they could. These courses are set up for a major championship and I am proud of how they handled themselves. Williams College should be very proud of these two gentlemen."
"Sam had a very Sam round - lots of greens and fairways but the putts just didn't drop... trust me they will," Hillman added. "He works really hard at the game and always finds a way to get the ball in the hole. Plus, he has his brother Jake on the bag, that saves two shots a round right there. Jake had one of the best short games I have ever seen."
"Will had a up and down day," said Hillman. "It really came down to just one or two bad swings. He putted and chipped the ball so well. I expect he will bounce right back. Will is a fighter."
Tomorrow the Ephs will switch courses with Goldenring playing at Pebble Beach and Kannegieser moving over to play Spyglass Hill. Goldenring will tee off from the 10th tee at Pebble Beach
at 9:30 a.m. PST. Kannegieser will tee off from the first tee at 2:30 p.m. PST.