BROOKLINE, Mass. – Stroke-play co-medalists Neil Raymond, of England, and Brady Watt, of Australia, along with two-time USA Walker Cup Team selection Patrick Rodgers, of Avon, Ind., were among the 32 winners in the first round of match play at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at The Country Club (7,310 yards, par 70).
Raymond, 27, playing in his first USGA championship, took his first lead on the 10th hole and edged Jason Anthony, 31, of Fairfield, Calif., 1 up.
“I had a pretty poor start today, actually,” said Raymond, who won the 2013 St. Andrews Links Trophy at the Old Course. “I bogeyed the first two holes and after that I knew it was going to be a pretty long day.
“I think it being windy actually played to my benefit a little bit. Obviously, playing in GB&I the majority of the year it's windy every day. I felt comfortable out there. Getting through those first couple of holes was tough but after that, I felt pretty good, and I played a really nice back nine.”
Watt, 22, of Australia, took a 3-up lead through seven holes en route to a 5-and-3 victory over Sean Walsh, 19, of Keller, Texas.
He lists his occupation as a professional cleaner and has been in the U.S. since June 28. The U.S. Amateur is his sixth competition since then.
“I hit it quite good off the tee,” said Watt, who is No. 9 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. “I was in the fairway much of the day and if I was in the rough, I had a pretty good lie. I hit a ton of greens.”
The 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday at 9 a.m. The second and third rounds of match play are scheduled for Thursday.
The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Rodgers, 21, a senior at Stanford University, beat 2013 Western Amateur finalist Sean Dale, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., 3 and 2. Rodgers is No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and was one of 15 players who survived a morning playoff involving 17 competitors to advance to match play. Six of those 15 won their first-round matches.
Rodgers, who is one of five players already named to the 2013 USA Walker Cup squad, took a 3-up lead after five holes and never trailed in his match. He and Dale had met earlier this month in the first round of match play at the Western Amateur. Dale defeated Rodgers, who was the medalist.
“It's been a crazy week for sure,” Rodgers said. “Even though I was in a 17-for-15 spot, I was really motivated to get through that playoff and do the best I can to make par on 14, and bogey ended up being good enough. So, it refocused me a little bit and got me into the match-play mindset where you've got to play well or you're going home.”
In other highlighted matches:
Brandon Hagy, 22, of Westlake Village, Calif., who advanced to the semifinals in 2012, defeated 2012 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist Ricardo Gouveia, 22, of Portugal, in 19 holes.
The only remaining player of the five who qualified from the University of California-Berkeley, Hagy was 1 down with three holes to play but relied on some competitive resolve he learned at the 2012 U.S. Amateur to get up and down from the greenside rough on the par-3 16th hole to win the hole and square the match.
Texas Christian University freshman Chelso Barrett, 18, of Surry, N.H., defeated 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jim Liu, 18, of Smithtown, N.Y., 4 and 3.
Barrett, who was the runner-up to Jordan Spieth at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur and whose family operates a public golf facility, called this early-round match “brutal” because of Liu’s competitive record.
“He’s unreal,” said Barrett of Liu, who will attend Stanford in the fall, was a semifinalist at the 2013 British Amateur and is the youngest winner in the history of the Junior Amateur.
Michael Weaver, 22, of Fresno, Calif., the 2012 Amateur runner-up, was eliminated by Greg Eason, 21, of England, 3 and 2.
Eason, who was an All-American at Central Florida University, won two of the first four holes and never trailed.
“It was just so hard to hit the fairway with the big crosswinds,” Eason said. “The rough around here is just so penal. It's difficult to manage. Luckily, I was able to hack it out a few times.”
Among those eliminated were: 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge, 20, of Mequon, Wis., and 2011 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team member Rhys Pugh, 19, of Wales.