BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI (August 16, 2016) -- Playing on
the more difficult Oakland Hills Country Club South
Course in the second round didn't phase Alex
Smalley as he followed up his first day 5-under 65 with
a 2-under 70 to finish 7-under and earn medalist honors
at the U.S. Amateur. Smalley will be the top-seed when
the Round of 64 begins on Wednesday.
The 7-under 133 posted by Smalley matched the
second lowest qualifying score in tournament history.
Smalley tied Brett Coletta's mark from a year ago and
finished one-stroke behind Hank Kim (1994), Gregor
Main (2011) and Bobby Wyatt (2012).
“I’m kind of shaking a little bit, still. I'm not sure
what to feel,” Smalley told reporters following his round.
“This is my first U.S. Amateur, so it's kind of cool taking
home medalist. Medalist is nice, but we've still got a lot
more golf to go.”
Heavy rains soaked the course during the morning
wave but by the time Smalley took to the course the
rains had gone leaving soft conditions. The Duke
sophomore jumped out to a quick start with birdies on
two of his first three holes and after a third on No. 8 he
had reached 8-under. Following a par on the 9th
Smalley turned in 3-under 32.
Smalley got a little lower, as he reached 9-under
with another birdie on the 10th before giving his first
stroke back on No. 12. Three holes later Smalley carded
his final birdie of the day to return to 9-under. From
there Smalley held on as he carded two bogeys on the
“I just got off to a good start, had three birdies on
the front nine, and then just kind of kept it going,”
Smalley said. “Again, I didn't miss very many greens
today. I think I only missed a couple. I just hit the ball
solid all the way around.”
Finishing in second place, one-stroke behind
Smalley were first round leader Dawson Armstrong and
Gavin Hall. Both players played in the morning rain on
the South Course
Armstrong, a junior at Lipscomb, put together an
even-par 70 during his second round, after posting a
dazzling 6-under 64 on Monday. Beginning on the 10th
hole Armstrong birdied his first hole moving to 7-under
and then parred the next ten. Birdies on Nos. 2 and 4
brought him to 9-under but three bogeys to close
derailed his medalist hopes.
“I'm not a serious historian about courses and players
that won at those courses, but I've seen some of the
players that have won here, some of the tournaments
that have been played. The players that have won here
are very highly renowned players. It's a privilege to get
to keep on going and still have a chance to be in the
likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, just great players.
It's a real honor," said Armstrong.
Texas senior Gavin Hall carded a 1-under 69 in his
second round. Hall, coming off a 5-under 65 at the
North Course, started on the back nine and birdied No.
12 to reach 6-under. Following a run of pars Hall quickly
moved to 8-under thanks to an eagle on the par-5 2nd
hole. However, bogeys on 4 and 6 dropped him one-
stroke behind Smalley.
The round of the qualifying stage was posted on
Tuesday by Davis Riley. Playing on the North
Course, Riley rebounded from a 3-over 73 to shoot a 7-
63 and tie the competitive course record initially set by
Matt Kuchar. Riley put together a bogey-free round that
seven birdies, all coming in a seven hole stretch from
Nos. 2-13. The Alabama sophomore rocketed up the
leaderboard and finished tied fourth at 4-under.
“It’s definitely in the top couple for sure,” said Riley
of his round. “I had a 58 at my home course that has to
be up there, but definitely in the top two or three
rounds I've played in a while.”
The 142-stroke cut matches the lowest of all-time,
done in 2011 at Erin Hills.
NOTABLES TO MISS THE CUT
-The USGA contributed to this story