117th U.S. Amateur Championship Recap from the Riviera and Bel-Air

By Sue Pascoe
Editor

On Monday, Aug. 14, one of the most interesting golf tournaments in the country, the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship got underway on two local courses, the Bel-Air and Riviera Country Clubs.

The field started with 312 golfers that had qualified from 39 states in the country, including Nebraska, Hawaii, Maine and Wyoming. There were also 29 international golfers representing countries as diverse as Chile, Spain, Malaysia and Denmark. The youngest golfers were 15 (Alec Nachmann, Canon Claycome and Karl Vilips) and the oldest was George Zahringer, 64.

The first day, the golfers either started on the Riviera or the Bel-Air, the second day, they played the opposite course. The Riveria was set up at 7,272 yards, with 34-36-70 and the Bel-Air was 6,757 yards and a 36-34-70.

Theo Humphrey plays his second shot on the eighth hole during the semifinal round of match play of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane) Courtesy of WWW.USGA.ORG

Theo Humphrey plays his second shot on the eighth hole during the semifinal round of match play of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane) Courtesy of WWW.USGA.ORG

The goal for the golfers was to make the cut to be one of 64 that would enter match play on Wednesday.

Oklahoma State University junior Hayden Wood, 21, was the top qualifier at the end of the day on Wednesday with a total of 131, which broke the championship’s 36-hole stroke-play record of 132, shared by Hank Kim (1994), Gregor Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).

Norman Xiong, 18, was second with 134, and three players were tied with 136: Logan Lowe, Lee Hodges and Vanderbilt University All-American Theo Humphrey.

Thirteen players were tied at 144 and with only eight spots open, playoffs were held to determine the players moving on. Clemson University sophomore Doc Redman was one of the eight to make it to the next day.

Doug Ghim reacts to winning his semifinal match of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane) Courtesy of WWW.USGA.ORG

Doug Ghim reacts to winning his semifinal match of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane) Courtesy of WWW.USGA.ORG

And then there were 64. On Wednesday, players were paired and the person shooting the lowest score on a hole was given a “point” or one up. The person winning the most holes then advanced to Thursday’s round of 32. Xiong, Lowe and Hodges were eliminated on Wednesday, but Humphrey beat his opponent to stay in the tournament as did Pepperdine student Sahith Theegala, who was the sole student qualifier in the Genesis tournament last February.

At the end of Thursday, there were 16. Theegala was knocked out as was Ricky Castillo, 16, a student at Valencia High School in Placentia. Castillo, a high school junior, hopes to play at the University of Florida. When he was 14, he was the youngest player to qualify in the 2015 U.S. Amateur.

Doc Redman is congratulated by Mark Lawrence Jr. at the conclusion of their semifinal match of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Copyright USGA/JD Cuban) Courtesy of WWW.USGA.ORG

Doc Redman is congratulated by Mark Lawrence Jr. at the conclusion of their semifinal match of the 2017 U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Copyright USGA/JD Cuban) Courtesy of WWW.USGA.ORG

By Saturday, all that were left were a quartet of U.S. college players. Humphrey, Redman, Doug Ghim, who was the University of Texas All-American and Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and Mark Lawrence Jr., a Virginia Tech junior

The championship concludes at the Riviera with a 36-hole final on Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 7:45 a.m.

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