By Alex Miceli - courtesy USGA
Mamaroneck,N.Y. (June 16, 2006)-- Nine amateurs made it into the field of the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, and all nine missed the 36-hole cut.
Alex Coe, a graduating senior from Pepperdine University, survived a seven-man playoff in sectional qualifying at Lake Merced Country Club, in Daly City, Calif., to get here. He had the best chance to make it into the weekend as he looked at a 45-footer for birdie on the 18th green on Friday, but could not negotiate the uphill putt which just fell off to the left at the end.
"Bummed out," Coe, 22, said after shooting 73—150 to miss the cut by one stroke. "I played sloppy golf for two days. This whole course is about momentum."
After an opening 77 on Thursday, Coe labored diligently to correct the problem he had with his swing. It seemed to work as he started the second round even par through seven holes, but three consecutive bogeys from holes eight through 10 would cost him.
"Didn’t make any putts on the back nine, but made some good saves," Coe said. "When you come to a U.S. Open as an amateur, you want show your best, put your best foot forward and I didn’t do that this week."
U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari, 25, of Italy, started the week searching for a swing. He spent hours on Wednesday trying to get his driver going in the same direction. He hit only six fairways in Thursday’s first-round 76 and 10 in Friday’s second-round 77. In the end it would be his bread and butter--his putter, which he wielded so successfully at Merion last summer to win the U.S. Amateur--that would fail him on the difficult greens of Winged Foot’s West course.
"My putting today was really terrible," Molinari said of his 31-putt performance on Friday, which included a four putt on the 12th hole. "It’s a bit disappointing because today I really struck the ball very, very well."
Last year at Pinehurst, Matt Every and Ryan Moore were the lone amateurs playing on the weekend; Every finished T-28 and Moore T-57. Both have since turned professional, but neither player was in the field at Winged Foot.
Coe and Molinari will likely turn professional before this year’s U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine, at the end of August, but both have significant events coming up with Coe playing in the Japan Cup later this summer and Molinari playing in the British Open. before he embarks on a pro career.
Other amateurs who missed the cut were Billy Horschel, 19, medalist at the U.S. Open sectional at Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa; Jonathan Moore, 22, 2006 NCAA individual champion from Oklahoma State University; Patrick Nagle, 21, who also survived the seven-man playoff at Lake Merced; Tadd Fujikawa, 15, youngest U.S. Open participant in history; Dillon Dougherty, 23, 2005 U.S. Amateur finalist; Ryan Baca, 23, senior from Baylor; and Ryan Posey, 22, of Oklahoma State University.
Alex Miceli is a freelancer whose work has appeared previously on www.usopen.com.