SUGAR GROVE, Ill. — First-round play began Tuesday at the notoriously difficult Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois for the 113th Western Amateur.
University of Minnesota junior Jose Mendez, a native of Costa Rica, fired a five-under par 67 alongside Lipscomb University sophomore Dawson Armstrong, of Brentwood, Tennessee. Mendez bogeyed his first hole, but caught fire on the back side with four straight birdies from holes 11 to 14. Armstrong's opening round featured no bogeys and closed with three birdies in his final five holes.
Fighting over 72-holes for a chance at match play, which will only feature the top-16 players after stroke play, 35 players broke par on day one. Three players are tied for third place at four-under, including University of South Carolina senior Will Starke, 2015 Southern Amateur winner and University of Texas sophomore Taylor Funk, and Vanderbilt sophomore Theo Humphrey.
Defending champion Beau Hossler shot one-over par 73 on Tuesday and is tied for 52nd place. Hossler was the leading contender entering the event, which is likely the strongest amateur field of the summer as golfers tackle the 7,200-yard course that features a rating of 79.1.
Recent Pacific Coast Amateur winner Aaron Wise is in the field looking to make it two huge wins in a two-week span, but struggled to a 76 in his first round. This year's British Open low-amateur Jordan Niebrugge, attempting to bring back some magic from his 2013 victory, opened with one-under 71 and is one of 18 players tied for 18th.
Other top names at Rich Harvest Farms this week include reigning U.S. Amateur champ Gunn Yang (73), 2015 Porter Cup winner Denny McCarthy (74), and this year's NCAA individual champion Bryson DeChambeau (74).
Live scoring and full results from Tuesday can be found at the link below.